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SoundTRAX: The Beatles cry for "Help!"

The Beatles' "Help!" soundtrack cover with a vinyl record.
United Artists

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10.

This weekend marked the 58th anniversary of the Beatles' second film, Help!

Just as in their film debut in "A Hard Day's Night," The Fab Four were once again directed by Richard Lester, with an equally madcap plot.

Originally called Eight Arms To Hold You, this time the band has to save Ringo from an evil cult and a couple of mad scientists and, yes, it feels ridiculous to even write that description.

But the goofiness is part of the charm, of course.

The band, however, wasn't as charmed this time around.

The pandemonium that was "Beatlemania" was wearing the boys out, as was the constant recording and touring. The band also had a new-found affinity for weed, as John Lennon later recalled:

I realize, looking back, how advanced it was. It was a precursor to the Batman "Pow! Wow!" on TV – that kind of stuff. But [Lester] never explained it to us. Partly, maybe, because we hadn't spent a lot of time together between A Hard Day's Night and Help!, and partly because we were smoking marijuana for breakfast during that period. Nobody could communicate with us, it was all glazed eyes and giggling all the time. In our own world. It's like doing nothing most of the time, but still having to rise at 7 am, so we became bored.

The critics mostly agreed, but there's no doubt the movie's influence on pop culture, from The Monkees TV show to music videos. In fact, Richard Lester actually received an MTV award in 1984 for being "Father of the Music Video."

But we're talking Beatles here, so it's all about the music.

The UK version of the soundtrack has 14 tracks, while the U.S. edition has 11, including the songs in the film plus selections from the film's orchestral score composed and conducted by Ken Thorne.

For today's SoundTRAX selection, well, it's a tough choice. But I've always had a soft spot for George Harrison, so I'm going with one he wrote about eventual wife, Pattie Boyd. (Because damn near every song was written about Pattie Boyd.)

For the 58th anniversary of their film Help!, it's The Beatles with "I Need You."

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.