The Story of ‘Helter Skelter’

The Beatles were notorious for their charm, charisma, as well as their catchy and even lovey-dovey songs, amongst many other things. Despite that in retrospective the Beatles were counter-culture, whether you like it or not, at the time they were pop. That’s why they had ladies fainting at their feet and screaming their lungs out, because of their looks versatility of music, and agility to get their songs up to the top charts! These fab-four were probably getting sick and tired of this type of image, and that is when ‘Helter Skelter’ was born.

The song was released on their legendary ‘White’ album along with many other hits. The thing about ‘Helter Skelter’ is that it was very innovative and revolutionary for its time, almost too innovative. It was mainly written by Paul McCartney, despite it being credited to John Lennon as well. One of McCartney’s main motivations towards writing this song was proving the masses and critics wrong, as he was viewed more like a ballad songwriter than anything else. Therefore, McCartney was looking to make something more edgy to accompany the rest of the songs on the album. He might’ve gotten some type of inspiration from reading a review of The Who’s ‘I Can See For Miles’, since it was described as raw and loud, but when he actually heard the song he thought otherwise, but he was still strong about composing a song with these elements in it.

There’s no lie that McCartney succeeded in creating a song that had a rough and chaotic texture to it. To this day this song is still high accredited and admired by many music critics around the globe due to its gorgeous texture, which stays true to its native rock’n’roll roots in a unique and effective manner. The song itself appeared to sweep the crowd off their feet, even Charles Manson who was a Beatles fanatic used it as one of his many outlets to manipulate his followers. He told ‘the family’ (his followers) that the Beatles even whispered to him in ‘Helter Skelter’ to call them in London, the worse part is that his followers probably believed him. He used the ‘White’ album as way of building more legitimacy for himself around his followers, claiming that the Beatles were singing to him and his followers. Another one Charles Manson’s crazy claims was that the Beatles were the four angels mentioned in the New Testament book of revelation, thus he believed that in this case the Beatles were warning them of a race war. Eventually this lead to Manson justifying the murderers of people such as Sharon Tate. This probably somehow made the song ‘Helter Skelter’ somewhat infamous at some point.

Putting that aside, the song has genuinely got a lot of elements to it that for its time would be very innovative in music. This is what people mean when they say that the Beatles were pioneers of music. The song even gave more momentum for genres such as heavy metal to emerge further onto the main music scene. Therefore ‘Helter Skelter’ despite it being a great experimentation and also a fun track for the Beatles to do, managed to shock the world and interest newer musicians into further creativity, resulting in the making of many more legendary hits over the decades.




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