“Helter Skelter” – The Beatles
Honestly, the viewer choice this year came as a total surprise to me. I was never a huge fan of “Helter Skelter,” but after listening to the song a few times I grew to like it. Then I read the story behind the production of the song, and am now a full convert.
“Helter Skelter,” is very, very different from almost every other Beatles song ever made, and that’s because Paul McCartney was trying to write it to have the “most raucous vocals, the loudest drums, et cetera.” At the time he may have achieved this, and the realization of this goal generated some very interesting stories.
July 18th, 1968: A version of the song lasting 27 minutes and 11 seconds was recorded, although this version is rather slow and hypnotic differing greatly from the volume and rawness of the album version.
September 9, 1968: 18 takes of approximately five minutes each were recorded, and the last one is featured on the original LP. After the 18th take, Ringo Starr flung his drum sticks across the studio and screamed “I got blisters on my fingers!”
According to Chris Thomas, who was present, the 18 July session was especially spirited. “While Paul was doing his vocal, George Harrison had set fire to an ashtray and was running around the studio with it above his head, doing an Arthur Brown.”
The song has undoubtedly been a part spawning the genre we now know as Metal-Rock. Many hate it and many love it, but the importance of the song cannot be denied.