A heapin’ helpin’ of ‘Help’ songs

Everywhere you look these days in entertainment circles, you see the word “help.”

The movie “The Help” sits at No. 1 at the box office, topping $125 million in receipts in the four weeks since its release. (However, it looks like it may be dethroned this weekend by, of all things, “Contagion,” a film with Twin Cities connections.)

“The Help” score is doing well, too, at No. 175 on the Billboard 200 list of top-selling albums and at No. 10 on its soundtrack list.

Meanwhile, after 28 weeks, Kathryn Stockett’s book still resides at No. 1 on The New York Times Best Sellers list for Combined Print & E-book Fiction.

So much for “The Help” juggernaut.

Anyway, I’m focusing on something else — songs with the word “help” in the title — and I started on my musical list long before the movie ever surfaced. So, bear with me while I share a heapin’ helpin’ of “Help” songs.

And we’ll start with the song that was No. 1 on this date in 1965 — “Help!” — the title song from the Beatles’ second movie.

The Beatles did another “Help” song, too — “With A Little Help From My Friends” — covered in fabulous fashion by rock wildman Joe Cocker.

Three other “Help” songs also hit No. 1 on Billboard, including two others from 1965:

• The Beach Boys’ “Help Me, Rhonda.”

• The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch).”

• Then, nine years later, Billy Swan hit No. 1 with “I Can Help.”

And Elvis came close, stopping at No. 2 in 1962 with his romantic classic “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

Country music contributions
Country songs also lent a helping hand:

• Sammi Smith’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night.”

• Johnny Tillotson’s version of the oft-recorded “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love with You).”

• And a two-fer: Hank Locklin’s “Please Help Me, I’m Falling” and …

… an “answer record” by Skeeter Davis: “(I Can’t Help You) I’m Falling Too.”

One more big musical helping
To wrap up, here’s a wide range of other “Help” songs:

• Two with the same name: “I Can’t Help It”here by Michael Jackson and here by Andy Gibb and Olivia Newton John.

• And two more with the same title: “Girl Can’t Help It”here by Journey and here the legendary Little Richard with the title track from the 1956 rock ‘n’ roll film.

• Stevie Wonder’s “Heaven Help Us All.”

• Joni Mitchell’s “Help Me.”

• The Little River Band’s “Help Is On Its Way.”

• The Outsiders’ “Help Me Girl.”

• B.J. Thomas’ “Help Me Make It (To My Rocking Chair).”

And we’ll end with some self-help advice from an upbeat Tom Jones, “Help Yourself.”

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Pat McGee on 09/09/2011 - 09:45 am.

    Sammi Smith’s “Help me make it through the night” is a classic.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFomOCT71L4

  2. Submitted by Mike Cohen on 09/09/2011 - 10:23 am.

    The Grateful Dead had a song called Help on the Way from their post 1975 hiatus Blues for Allah album that became a beloved live staple- in concert always followed by the same two songs (Slipknot and Franklin’s Tower) as medley of sorts. This medley, known as Help/Slip/Frank was a treasured set opener for fans.

    On a lesser note, GD rhythm guitarist Bob Weir made a solo record in 1978 titled Heaven Help the Fool.

  3. Submitted by Mike Cohen on 09/09/2011 - 10:30 am.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqW_e7zqwHQ

    Joe Walsh and a couple of other guys named Don…The Eagles!

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