"Help!" was written by John Lennon, but credited (as were all Beatles songs written by either person) to Lennon/McCartney. The title was "out of desperation". In 2004, "Help!" was ranked number 29 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
The documentary series The Beatles Anthology revealed that Lennon wrote the lyrics of the song to express his stress after the Beatles' quick rise to success. "I was fat and depressed and I was crying out for 'Help'," Lennon told Playboy. Writer Ian MacDonald describes the song as the "first crack in the protective shell" Lennon had built around his emotions during the Beatles' rise to fame, and an important milestone in his songwriting style.
In the 1970 Rolling Stone "Lennon Remembers" interviews, Lennon said it was one of his favourites among the Beatles songs he wrote, but he wished they had recorded it at a slower tempo. In these interviews, Lennon said he felt that "Help!" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" were his most honest, genuine Beatles songs and not just songs "written to order". According to Lennon's cousin and boyhood friend Stanley Parkes, however, "Help!" was written after Lennon "came in from the studio one night. 'God,' he said, 'they've changed the title of the film: it's going to be called 'Help!' now. So I've had to write a new song with the title called 'Help!'.
According to Paul McCartney, he was called in "to complete it" in a two-hour joint writing session on 4 April 1965 at Lennon's house in Weybridge