CBS Photography 1964This past week saw the release of expanded, multimedia versions of The Beatles‘ 2000 hits compilation, 1, which features 27 Fab Four songs that topped the charts either in the U.S. or the U.K., or both. Coinciding with the reissues, Paul McCartney has shared some interesting anecdotes about eight of The Beatles’ #1 singles in a new interview with Billboard.

McCartney had some particularly revealing comments about “Help!,” the title track to the band’s 1965 movie and album that mainly was written by John Lennon. According to Billboard, at that time, Lennon was unhappy in his marriage to his first wife, Cynthia, and doing a lot of drugs, inspiring him to pen a tune calling out for someone to lend him a hand. Paul tells the magazine, “Looking back on it, John was always looking for help. He had [a paranoia] that people died when he was around: His father left home when John was three, the uncle he lived with died later, then his mother died. I think John’s whole life was a cry for help.”

With regard to “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” which on February 1, 1964, became The Beatles’ first single to top the Billboard Hot 100, McCartney explains he’d told the group’s manager, Brian Epstein, that he didn’t want to go to America until the band had a #1 hit. The song reached the top of the U.K. charts in December of 1963, and Paul remembers how he and his Beatles reacted to hearing the news.

“We were playing in Paris…and we got a telegram — as you did in those days — saying, ‘Congratulations, No. 1 in U.S. charts,'” says McCartney. “We jumped on each other’s backs. It was late at night after a show, and we just partied. That was the record that allowed us to come to America.”

McCartney also discusses an incident that occurred following the release of “Hey Jude,” the epic hit Beatles ballad he wrote partly as a comforting plea to Lennon’s then-young son, Julian, after John had split from Cynthia. Paul reveals he and some friends had painted song’s title on a window at the band’s Apple Boutique in London, and a passerby apparently wound up mistaking “Hey Jude” for anti-Semitic graffiti and smashed the window.

“I hadn’t realized ‘Jude’ means ‘Jew’ [in German],” McCartney notes. “That caused some confusion, and a man got quite angry with me over that.”

Other songs McCartney talks about in the article include “Love Me Do,” “Paperback Writer,” “Eight Days a Week,” “We Can Work It Out,” and “Penny Lane.” Check out the full interview at Billboard.com.

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