Era Inducted To: Modern Era
Joni Mitchell’s best selling single to date, Help Me succeeded in reaching number seven on the Billboard charts in 1973 and stayed there for 19 weeks. From her album Court and Spark, the beautiful love ballad reflects Mitchell’s love of jazz, blended with her unique folk touch.
Under pressure from her record company to produce a hit, Joni attempted to play her music with existing session players. Unfortunately, it was in vogue at the time for rhythm sections to have the bass played with dead strings and the drummer would play with a pillow in his kit drum to keep the bottom end in the background. When Joni insisted that she wanted a more full bodied and resonant bottom end, she ran up against nothing but resistance from the musicians, who were insistent on conforming to the current trend. At the same time Stevie Wonder was also craving and achieving a more prominent bottom sound so Joni took her engineer, Henry Louie, over to one of his sessions to show him that it was technically possible.
In Help Me, Mitchell sings about one’s loss of strength when faced with feelings of love for another. How one feels threatened by love and the weaknesses and insecurities it brings us, rather than surrendering ourselves to feelings of joy and happiness.
Cover artists include: k.d. lang, Wynonna Judd, Divine Brown, Michelle Williams, Guv’ner, Nicole Kramer, John Hart, Mandy Moore and Ginger Mackenzie