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Helter Skelter

(John Lennon/Paul McCartney)

Paul McCartney wrote this song after he had read an article on The Who’s “I Can See For Miles” which said it was “the loudest, wildest song ever” and he took it up as challenge.  Pop historians have said that this song was a key influence on heavy metal development and Q Magazine placed it at No. 5 in its list of 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.  A version of the song lasting 27 minutes was recorded in 1968.  There were 18 takes of the album version and it is said that after they finished that Ringo Starr threw down his drumsticks and shouted “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!”

Charles Manson claimed that the song Helter Skelter was a secret coded message from The Beatles to start a war that would end the world and the Los Angeles DA who led the prosecution of him named his book about the murders Helter Skelter.  This formed the basis of two movies of the same name.

It has been covered by Siouxsie and the Banshees, Pat Benatar, Motley Crue, Aerosmith and U2 among others, as well as The Bobs who were nominated for a Grammy Award for their a capella arrangement.  It appears on the album The Beatles aka “The White Album”.

The Beatles recordings
Capitol, 4274, S45-X46494 (US 45)