With a Little Help from My Friends (originally titled A Little Help from My Friends) is a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, released on The Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967. The song was written for and sung by Ringo Starr.
Lennon and McCartney finished writing this song in mid-March 1967, written specifically as Starr's track for the album. It was briefly called Bad Finger Boogie (after Lennon had composed the melody on a piano using his middle finger after having hurt his forefinger), later the inspiration for the band Badfinger. However, the notion that Lennon is responsible for the song's melody, as opposed to McCartney alone, or Lennon in collaboration with McCartney, is highly questionable in light of Lennon's remarks, in his 1980 Playboy interview, where he refers to 'With a Little Help from My Friends'" by stating: "This is Paul, with a little help from me. 'What do you see when you turn out the light/ I can't tell you, but I know it's mine...' is mine."
Lennon and McCartney deliberately wrote a tune with a limited range - except for the last note, which McCartney worked closely with Starr to achieve.
Speaking in the Anthology, Starr insisted on changing the first line which originally was "What would you think if I sang out of tune? Would you throw ripe tomatoes at me?" He changed the lyric so that fans would not throw tomatoes at him should he perform it live. (In the early days, after George Harrison made a passing comment that he liked jelly babies, the group was pelted with them at all of their live performances. (They were also pelted with jelly beans in the United States where jelly babies were not available.))
The song's composition is unusually well documented as Hunter Davies was present and described the writing process in the Beatles' official biography.
The song reads like a conversation between the singer and a group of people. For example, "Would you believe in a love at first sight/Yes I'm certain that it happens all the time". In the preceding quotation from the lyrics, the other three Beatles sing the first line, with Starr answering in the following one.
The band started recording the song the same day that they posed for the Sgt. Pepper album cover (30 March 1967). The session finished at 7:30 the following morning.