Song of the Day #528: ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ – The Beatles

Usually, as with yesterday’s featured song, The Beatles gave Ringo a song to sing just to throw him a bone. You keep the beat for the rest of us, bloke, so here’s a few minutes in the spotlight.

But a couple of Beatles songs just wouldn’t be the same without Ringo on lead vocals. One is ‘Yellow Submarine,’ a corny trifle that’s perfect for Ringo because he sounds like he really means it… that’s a song aimed at 8-year-olds and it needed to be sung at their level. And I don’t mean that as an insult to Ringo. On the contrary, it’s kind of a gift.

The other is ‘With a Little Help From My Friends,’ the one Beatles song sung by Ringo that belongs in the upper tier with their very best work. Blending into the opening title song, this is the perfect introduction to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It’s also one of the simplest and sweetest messages in any Beatles song.

This song has been covered by a bunch of people, including Bon Jovi and Barbra Streisand (not sure I want to hear that one). The most memorable cover was by Joe Cocker, whose soulful rendition played over the opening credits of The Wonder Years.

What would you think if I sang out of tune?
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song,
And I’ll try not to sing out of key.

Oh I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm, I get high with a little help from my friends,
Mmm, I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends.

Do you need anybody?
I need somebody to love.
Could it be anybody?
I want somebody to love.

What do I do when my love is away?
(Does it worry you to be alone?)
How do I feel by the end of the day?
(Are you sad because you’re on your own?)

No, I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm, get high with a little help from my friends,
Mmm, gonna to try with a little help from my friends

Do you need anybody?
I need somebody to love.
Could it be anybody?
I want somebody to love.

Would you believe in a love at first sight?
Yes I’m certain that it happens all the time.
What do you see when you turn out the light?
I can’t tell you, but I know it’s mine.

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm, I get high with a little help from my friends,
Oh, I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends

Do you need anybody?
I just need someone to love.
Could it be anybody?
I want somebody to love

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm, gonna try with a little help from my friends
Ooh, I get high with a little help from my friends
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends,
With a little help from my friends

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #528: ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ – The Beatles

  1. dana says:

    Okay, this can be the exception to no more Ringo songs. But that’s it!

  2. Amy says:

    I don’t know if it’s the “sweetest” message to repeat the joys of getting high with a little help from your friends. I adore this song – don’t get me wrong. Still, I cringe to think of how many of my students have defended (to themselves, at least) their copious drug use by pointing at lyrics such as these and groups such as the Beatles. The fact that the lyric is sung in such a sweet and simple fashion is a big part of the problem.

    Of course, I’m all for interpreting that line metaphorically and assuming that the high of which Ringo sings is a natural one. But that’s not the way my students will interpret it, as they raise their knowing eyebrows and shoot sly smiles at each other, when I play anything like this in the classroom.

    Still, it is perhaps the best theme song (not intented to be a theme song) ever chosen for a television show. And I don’t remember Kevin and Paul getting high behind Winnie’s house. Maybe I just missed that episode šŸ™‚

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