Help cover artwork

HELP

HELP is the probably the most legendary charity album of all time, and the one that all others have been compared to since. Recorded in just 24 hours, the album captured the Britpop zeitgeist perfectly - with contributions from Oasis, Blur, Radiohead, The Stone Roses, Portishead, The Manics and Massive Attack. Plus contributions from Paul McCartney and Paul Weller (not to mention Johnny Depp and Kate Moss). It was a response to the plight of the thousands of families caught up in the bloody Balkans war that was tearing Bosnia apart. The need for humanitarian aid was urgent so the Help project's response needed to be too. It drew its inspiration from John Lennon - when he released his 'Instant Karma' single in February 1970, he said records should be like newspapers, reflecting events as they are happening: "The best record you can make, is recorded on Monday, cut on Tuesday, pressed up on Wednesday, packaged on Thursday, distributed on Friday, in the shops on Saturday." As ideas go it fitted the brief rather nicely.

HELP: The Timeline

Mon Sept 4th - The cream of British Pop recording exclusive tracks against the clock in recording studios around the UK.

Tues Sept 5th - Masters cut and flown to Blackburn for cut of CD and Holland for cassette.

Wed Sept 6th - The first run of three hundred thousand copies of the album manufactured.

Thur Sept 7th - Albums delivered to PolyGram's North London distribution centre.

Fri Sept 8th - 'HELP' distributed to record stores throughout Britain.

Sat Sept 9th - 'HELP' on sale from 9.00am.

When you see innocent children getting bombed, it switches on something in your mind and made me want to do it. I think that it is a war nobody is ever going to win.

Noel Gallagher

We get asked to donate a lot of tracks to charity records, but in this case the music is actually going to be heard by people over there. It's very easy to be cynical about music, but I think it is one of those things that actually unites people.

Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien

The videos

The Impact

From midnight on Monday Sept 4th 1995, 20 artists and bands entered studios from Wales to Malaga to record their tracks. Brian Eno started mastering the tracks on Tuesday and by Wednesday finished copies of the album (with artwork by John Squire) were ready for distribution.

By Friday over 300,000 copies had been delivered to record shops throughout the country. On the Saturday alone the album sold enough copies to reach number one.

The record went on to raise a staggering £1.25m that was put to work in Bosnia almost immediately.