Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Beatles: Help! piano going up for auction

A piano used by John Lennon and Paul McCartney during the filming of The Beatles’ 1965 film, “Help!”, is going up for auction this month in Liverpool.

The 1907 Bechstein Concert Grand piano, which is expected to sell for over £50,000, is part of an auction of over 200 lots of rare Beatles memorabilia and vinyl records to be hosted by Omega Auctions on March 20 at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool; the event coincides with the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles number one hit, “Can’t Buy Me Love”.

Currently owned by the film’s director, Richard Lester, the piano was used by the songwriting legends to write the movie’s title song.

"When the film was being written under the imaginative working title 'Beatles Two', the writers and I wanted to call it 'Help',” explained Lester. “Unfortunately, we were informed by copyright lawyers that someone else had registered that title, so Ringo helpfully offered 'Eight Arms to Hold You' (relating to the multi-armed statue in the script). Needless to say there wasn't a huge amount of enthusiasm to write that title song, but we carried on until it came close to shooting the title sequence for the film.”

“Another desperate phone call to the lawyers resulted but fortunately we were informed that if we added an exclamation mark (!) we could use this as a title so the film arrived at its new title ‘HELP!’,” he continued. “Once we received this news we immediately arranged a meeting with The Beatles and the crew to inform them and set them to the task of writing a song to go with the title. They started on this immediately at the studio using the Bechstein piano and continued working on it on their car journey home and throughout that evening. The next morning they arrived at the studio with the track ready to show us and promptly played it on the piano a number of times. When we heard the song, we knew it was right and I think it was shortly after that they went into Abbey Road and recorded the song and the rest is history."

"Later on, when coming to the end of the shooting of the film, Paul was spending a lot of time at the piano composing and fine tuning “Yesterday”, or the “Scrambled Eggs” song as it was originally entitled by Paul,” Lester added. “He was playing it that much that I actually threatened to remove the piano off the set if he didn’t finish the song soon and give it a rest. When it was released in August 1965 Paul actually sent me a copy with a note attached saying ‘I’m glad you didn’t take the piano away – hope you like the ‘Scrambled Eggs’ song now!’”.

See also:

VIRAL VIDEO: The Beatles time warp on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon
Signed Meet The Beatles album going up for auction
Beatles Help! jackets going up for auction
VIDEO: The Beatles debut on Ed Sullivan 50 years ago today
Search The Beatles at hennemusic