Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The "Help!" store

Illustration photo: The main HMV store in Oxford Street, London, December 1965.
Twenty years or so ago, a Norwegian gentleman who was partly involved in selecting Beatles songs to release as singles in Norway told me this story.

He happened to be in London, England on the day The Beatles' album "Help!" was released. As he was walking along Qxford Street, London's main shopping street, he noticed that one of the stores there was just selling "Help!" albums. The Norwegian went inside the shop, and the only question he was met with was "mono or stereo?"

Mono or stereo?

I haven't come across any other references to this shop other than the story he told me, and I have no clue as to for how long the store was in operation. It may have been that this was the regular HMV store, fitted out for the occasion, or that HMV, which was EMI's own record store chain, had rented a vacant shop and stocked it up with "Help!" albums only.

Jenny Boyd outside the Help! store?
I had found no photos of their window display either, but after I had initially posted this blog post, Sara S. directed us to one of her stories which had the above photo.

If anyone else was there and can verify the story about this "Help!" store, please comment.


Sara S. said...

Do you think this has anything to do with it???


Unknown said...

Interesting...why wouldn't they be selling "Rubber Soul" though, in December of '65?

Unknown said...

They were selling Rubber Soul... in that photo. The only mention of December 1965 is because that was when the posted photo of the actual HMV store was taken, but the story is not necessarily about the month of December. If you look really closely at the HMV photo that was posted with the article that apparently is confirmed as being taken in December, in the background you do see (near the top, just to the right of center) very tiny Rubber Soul AND Help album covers. It's easy to imagine that a "Help!" Store would have been in place earlier in the year around the time of its release, and would have lasted for only a short time while satisfying the strong immediate demand.

Unknown said...

Ha! If you zoom in on the list that is on the blackboard in that HMV photo (top center of photo), you can just make out the top 4 albums:
1 - Rubber Soul - Beatles
2 - Sound Of Music - Soundtrack
3 - Help! - Beatles
4 - Mary Poppins - Soundtrack
And those are the first 4 album covers that appear just to the right. Can anyone else identify any of the other album covers that appear there? (It may be easier to simply research the British December album charts. That would uncover which week that particular photo was taken? Maybe Christmas week?)

Unknown said...

The right-side blackboard is the singles chart. Looks like "Day Tripper / We Can Work It Out" was the #1 single that week as well. That's the only one from the singles board that I can make out clearly enough in the photo.

Roger Stormo said...

Yes, the HMV photo is there for illustrational purposes only and does not relate directly to the story. I do believe that the photos Sara S. directed us to may actually be from the very "Help!" store in question. I have therefore lifted one of them from Sara's site and used them to update the blog post.

Витий Мк said...

'Jenny Boyd outside the Help! store' is a screen capture from "Reflections on Love" (1966) film.
Watch from 6.30.

Unknown said...

The #6 album according to that photo is "My Generation," the 1965 album from The Who. (Can't make out what #5 is.)

Витий Мк said...

#5 - "A World Of Our Own" - The Seekers

Unknown said...

Ah yeah, good call.
#7 - My Fair Lady - Soundtrack (really big month for soundtracks)
#8 - Farewell Angelina - Joan Baez
That's where the case goes cold again.

Витий Мк said...

# 14 - Dusty Springfield – Ev'rything's Coming Up Dusty (Phillips RBL 1002)

LP covers on the right stand are arranged in the same order. Maybe somebody could identify nos 9, 10, 12, 15.

George Armstrong said...

#9 - 'Almost There' by Andy Williams

Tony said...

#12 Joan Baez
#15 Joan Baez no.5
#19 Joan Baez in Concert Part 2

Unzlbunzl said...

#10 - Robert and Elizabeth - Musical Cast
#11 - Out of Our Heads - The Rolling Stones

#13 - Minstrel Magic Of The Minstrel - Black and White Minstrels
#14 - Everythings Coming Up Dusty... - Springfield

#16 - West Side Story - Soundtrack
#17 - Shirley Bassey At The Pigalle

#18 - Take It Easy With... - The Walker Brothers
#20 - Hits Of Yesterday - Matt Monro