The 1907 Bechstein Concert Grand piano on which The Beatles wrote both the songs Help! and Yesterday is to be put on auction. Intially, the piano was used at Twickenham studios from around the 1930’s till the point when it was being bought over by film director, Richard Lester somewhere in the 1960’s.
This piano has no doubt been used by some of the most important celebrities of stage and film, but most notably by John Lennon as well as Sir Paul McCartney during the filming of Help! The 82-year-old Richard Lester was one of the most influential directors of the 1960s period. He was involved in directing The Beatles’ first film, A Hard Days Night and Help!, as well as Superman during the 1980s.
“When the film was being written under the imaginative working title ‘Beatles Two’, the writers and I wanted to call it ‘Help’. 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!’,” explained Richard.
“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,” he added.
The piano will be expected to be auctioned off for more than £50,000. It will form a part of an auction of 200 lots of rare Beatles memorabilia and vinyl records to be hosted by Omega Auctions on 20th March at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool. The auction also coincides with the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles number one hit, “Can’t Buy Me Love”. For the full story, do read it here.