John Lennon's Song "Help!" - The Real First LSD-Oriented Beatles Song
"Revealed: Dentist who introduced Beatles to LSD"
Ian Herbert's Sep. 2006 review of Steve Turner's book The Fab Four: The Gospel According to the Beatles
Published in The Independent, 09 September 2006
The Gospel According to the Beatles
by Steve Turner
August 1, 2006
Steve Turner's book reveals the dentist John Riley, rather than the Playboy executive Victor Lownes, as the person who gave LSD coffee to the Beatles. Reviewer Ian Herbert writes:
The experience spawned the surreal lyrics of Help!, which went to number one in September 1965 with declarations such as "Now I find I've changed my mind, opened up the doors" (after Aldous Huxley's LSD-inspired Doors of Perception) and "My independence seems to vanish in the haze."
I'll read Turner's book to see if he discusses the song Help! as being about LSD phenomenology and whether his discussion is informed by the present webpage, which has been online since at least October 2000.
biography - "Spring 1965 - John Lennon, Cynthia, George Harrison, and
Patti Boyd inadvertently take their first LSD trip when a dentist-friend of
The above biography confirms that Rubber Soul was released late enough after Lennon's first LSD experience to have been LSD-influenced. However, I insist that the line "my independence seems to vanish in the haze" and other lyrics in the song "Help" are almost certainly an LSD allusion to LSD panic and prayer. I have heard both "Jan 65" and "Aug 65" cited as dates for the release of the album "Help".
One place, I read that the album "Help" was released in January 1965. Elsewhere, I read that the album was released August 1965. My hypothesis is that the song "Help" was written *after* Lennon had taken LSD several times, and is full of double-entendres that allude to standard LSD experiences.
Rubber Soul, in late 1965, is packed full of quite adept LSD encoding, so it is very reasonable to propose that the song "Help" contains LSD allusions, if it was recorded just a few months earlier than Rubber Soul and at least several weeks after Lennon's first LSD session, most likely after at least 4 or 5 LSD sessions. The lyrics of "Help" certainly look like masterful work of someone who is adept at alluding to LSD experiences.
If someone claims that Help was written before Lennon had first-hand experience with LSD, I would be highly skeptical and would look for a secret history of his having taken LSD *before* the date of writing the song "Help". It is unbelievable that Help was written without first-hand experience with LSD; it matches the standard LSD lyrical encoding techniques too perfectly to be a coincidence.
When I was younger, so much younger than today
I never needed anybody's help in any way
But now these days are gone and I'm not so self assured [self-confidence falls apart during altered state]
Now I find I've changed my mind, opened up the doors [LSD changes the mind, opens up the doors of perception]
Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round [consider: strange loop of self-control; common "whirling" theme]
Help me get my feet back on the ground [this is the opposite of the desirability of floating while in love; a different sort of floating]
Won't you please, please help me [prayer to be rescued from helplessness, loss of ego/ loss of controllership]
And now my life has changed in oh so many ways [radically changed perception of one's life and being during LSD session]
My independence seems to vanish in the haze [allusion to loss of egoic control & loss of sense of metaphysical free will, allusion to perceptual blurring]
But every now and then I feel so insecure [instability of mental model of personal control in dissociative state. "every now & then" -- altered view of time, time fragmentation]
Now I know I need you like I've never done before [need who? girl, or compassionate higher creator/controller entity?]
Help if you can I'm feeling down [fall of Icarus when transgressed into god-realm]
And I do appreciate you being round [in this state, learn appreciation of divine-agency realm]
Help me get my feet back on the ground [flying too high from LSD]
Won't you please, please help me
I need somebody
Not just anybody [needs a special, higher-level rescuer/savior]
You know I need someone
American Heritage dictionary:
independent: Not governed by a foreign power; self-governing. Free from the influence, guidance, or control of another or others; self-reliant: an independent mind. Not determined or influenced by someone or something else; not contingent. Not dependent on or affiliated with a larger or controlling group or system. Not relying on others for support, care, or funds; self-supporing.
During ego loss, ego death, loss of control -- one becomes aware of one's *dependence* on the Ground of Being which originates one's thoughts and acts of will at every point in time.
Find 'help' or 'lennon' in these postings:
Thread: LSD allusion in Beatles lyrics
including the posts:
Bob P. wrote:
>>I have an ancient interview with John Lennon on a reel to reel tape. In the long ago radio interview, John Lennon said that the the song "Help" was written after a recording session while on LSD. He said that he was terrifed in front of the microphone. Presumably, he was having a very intense psychedelic experience. Maybe, even a *bad* trip.
>>He also said in the interview that he must have taken a thousand "trips". A friend told me of someone who had taken a similar amount of acid. He said that the fellow was barely able to function much of the time. He would repeatedly go in and out of an intense altered state. It is dubious to think that Lennon had taken a thousand trips.
>>The interviewer mentioned that the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was obviously about LSD. Then he pointed out the words Lucy, Sky, Diamonds. Lennon remarked coyly that he had never thought of that connection. In his later years Lennon wrote a song called "Mind Games". It is apparent that anything that Lennon said should be taken with a grain of salt.
>>Also, "Acid Dreams," then quotes Lennon on "ego death." He later was repudiating how he went to he extreme in this regard. Very important to note.
Michael Hoffman wrote:
There are two competing historical accounts of when Lennon first used LSD, which was from Michael Hollingshead in the form of sugar frosting in coffee at Hollingshead's house. If I recall, the accounts say late 1964 or early 1965.
>>I looked in "Acid Dreams" to see what they had to say about Lennon's acid usage in tems of dating, his first use. It says he and George were "slipped" acid in a beverage, at a dinner at a friends house, in "early 1965" and tells of his initial freak out.
Michael Hoffman wrote:
I estimate that to write the LSD-oriented song "Help!", Lennon must have had around 3-7 LSD sessions prior to writing the song. Not just 1 session, nor 1000 sessions. This sort of exclamation and discovery of the need for rescue generally doesn't happen at the very beginning of a series of loose-cognition sessions, nor does it wait very long.
A single LSD session has a quick ramp up to the peak, followed by a long decline -- so does the mind discover the wonders of the altered state over the course of many sessions. The most amazing discovery is not in the first or second session, nor the 1000th, but more like the number of planets. For the most interesting acid-inspired album by a Classic/Heavy Rock group, look for their second album in which they evidence some knowledge of LSD -- not their first LSD album, nor their 7th LSD album.
Bob P wrote:
>>I have an ancient interview with John Lennon on a reel to reel tape. In the long ago radio interview, John Lennon said that the song "Help" was written after a recording session while on LSD.
Michael Hoffman wrote:
That confirmation is highly valuable, and enables me to move from theoretically 99% certain that Help! is an LSD song and Beatles' first LSD song, to 100% certain.
Bob P wrote:
>>He said that he was terrifed in front of the microphone. Presumably, he was having a very intense psychedelic experience. Maybe, even a *bad* trip.
>>He also said in the interview that he must have taken a thousand "trips".
By what time?
>>It is dubious to think that Lennon had taken a thousand trips.
>>The interviewer mentioned that the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was obviously about LSD. Then he pointed out the words Lucy, Sky, Diamonds. Lennon remarked coyly that he had never thought of that connection.
Michael Hoffman wrote:
And if you believe that pretense of innocence, you'll believe the most fantastic things imaginable, anything at all.
>>In his later years Lennon wrote a song called "Mind Games". It is apparent that anything that Lennon said should be taken with a grain of salt.
>>[The book] Acid Dreams quotes Lennon as saying he had taken LSD more then a thousand times, and "I got a message on acid that you should destroy your ego," he later explained, "and I did, you know. I was reading that stupid book of Leary's (Psychedelic Book of the Dead) and all that shit. We were going through a whole game that everyone went through and I destroyed myself... I destroyed my ego and I didn't believe I could do anything."
>>The book then goes on to say:
>>"Lennon's obsession with losing his ego typified a certain segment of the acid subculture in the mid- and late 1960's. Those who got heavily into tripping often subscribed to a mythology of ego death that Leary was fond of preaching. The LSD doctor spoke of a chemical doorway through which one could leave the "fake prop- television-set America" and enter the equivalent of the Garden of Eden, a realm of unprogrammed beginnings where there was no distinction between matter and spirt." etc, "Acid Dreams" Page 183
Thread: Lyrics: focus on the theory of interpretation
Michael Hoffman wrote:
…One must dig in and seriously investigate: this need was proven by my research into the Beatles' song "Help!": a careless assessment says it was written too early to have mystic altered state allusions, but a serious investigation reveals that it has perfect timing assuming heavy use of the mystic state after the initiation of John Lennon at Michael Hollingshead's place some months before writing the song -- assuming that Lennon immediately took to heavy use of the mystic altered state.
Thread: Interesting song lyrics...
>All these songs are all saying the same thing, aren't they?
Michael Hoffman wrote:
I agree that those songs have a high density of strong candidates for allusions to entheogenic mystic-state cognition. A year ago, people's suggestions were almost always off the mark -- lacking a high occurrence of the standard key metaphors. Once you know the code, it's an easy breakthrough.
Follow the command in the song The Body Electric: "change the mode -- crack the code". It really didn't take me any time at all. When was the very first time I discovered the deliberate encoding of loosecog allusions? Probably around 1994 with the Rush album Caress of Steel. Everyone knows that 60s Rock was "about psychedelics".
But to find just how extensive was the use of systematic code of double-entendres and allusions, I had to actually survey many lyrics looking not for direct words about psychedelics, but rather, *indirect*, *coded* words. The Byrds' Eight Miles High -- they were forced to claim it was about flying and not psychoactives. And Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was explained as an arbitrary whimsical picture by a child.
How much were the alchemists *forced* to innovate and create a coding scheme? How much were Catholic mystics *forced* to use obscure and emotional sounding language? How much are Christ-myth scholars forced to write obvious nonsense like "people must have had different constitutions in late antiquity such that mere wine produced intense psychoactive effects"?
The Beatles' 1965 album _Rubber Soul_ was a nice transitional point where the songs were supposedly pop relationship songs, but used phrasings that were chosen to allude to the altered state, as first done in the song Help! written in early 1965, shortly after John Lennon's first visit with Michael Hollingshead.
Lennon's his first experiences almost immediately resulted in a song with full, complete, and strong use of the altered-state lyric encoding technique -- because nothing could be more natural than to, as Spacemen 3 put it, "take drugs to make music to take drugs to". It's a no-brainer of an idea to write lyrics that reflect the overloaded meaning dynamics that occur, and expect these lyrics to sound innocent or arbitrary to the listener in the default state of cognition, but to be recognized when that same listener is in the matching loosecog state.
Thread: Vindication of my framework
>>You mention that Allegro will be vindicated. Rest assured that you too will be.
Michael Hoffman wrote:
I should be vindicated for providing and defining the right kind of combination of entheogen experience, ego death explanation, view of determinism, and an effective approach to decoding the allegory of the Cross and Judeo-hellenistic mystery-religion allegory in general. The approach I've defined enables rationally and efficiently solving all puzzles of this allegorical type, including acid-rock lyrical allusions to the mystic altered state.
My mystery-encoding theory of High Classic Rock lyrics enables recognizing and identifying all allusions to the LSD altered state, regardless of the exact musical style, era, or artist: for example, I'm the only one who identifies the Beatles song Help! as being essentially an acid-rock song.
Everything that has been written about this song claims it is about mundane drug problems. But the lyric clusters themselves betray that reading and clearly indicate instead that, in all likelihood, this looks to be a song that is mainly about the *high* drug problem, The Problem at the end of time, the timeless problem of self-control and entheogenic, religious ego-death.
Everyone in the world says differently, but the reading itself is compelling, and indeed, when you investigate the history of John Lennon's drug discoveries, it indeed appears that he wrote Help! very soon after his first experiences of LSD and cannabis. When you reexamine the history and the political context of the time, it unlikely, perhaps even impossible that Help! is merely a mundane call for people to help John Lennon break away from addiction to drugs, drugs of the non-entheogenic type.
Similarly, when you take politics of consciousness into consideration, it is impossible that Rush is not heavily alluding to the phenomena of the entheogen mystic state in their late 1970s albums.
No one who has used LSD and cannabis would vouch for the scenario we are expected to believe. Conventional writers about the Beatles would have us believe that John Lennon discovered LSD and cannabis and then proceeded to write a song about desperately needing help to get his feet back on the ground after opening up the doors, but the song doesn't refer mainly to the standard LSD phenomena of loss of control and ego death -- no, the cry for help is what the published interviews say, "I was too into drugs, of the regular sort, and pleaded for help from people."
That is mystery-religion secrecy, which is needed throughout the Western history of domination hierarchies. Political oppression has caused mystics to resort to veiled language and false stories ever since domination hierarchies began.
Given the oppression of cannabis and LSD in the mid to
late 1960s, how could the top Rock band broa
Politics interpenetrates with religious experiencing and lyrics. The epic first side of the High Classic Rock album 2112 is about the politics of consciousness -- it criticizes the elders, the priests, the average, and expresses manic depression, and discovering something life-changing while looking through a waterfall -- an "electric guitar", but what is the electric guitar about? Ask Jimi Hendrix, the acid-disintegrated god of electric guitar. He "performed" -- that is, he sarcastically demolished as hypocrisy - - the song Star Spangled Banner.
Hits at this site:
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