|Single by My Chemical Romance|
|from the album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge|
|Released||May 23, 2005
(see release history)
|Format||7" vinyl, CD, Digital download, DVD|
|Writer(s)||My Chemical Romance|
|Producer(s)||My Chemical Romance, Howard Benson|
|My Chemical Romance singles chronology|
"Helena" (sometimes titled "Helena (So Long & Goodnight)" on digital retailers such as iTunes) is a song by the American rock band My Chemical Romance, and is the third single from their second studio album, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. The lyrics describe lead singer Gerard Way and bassist Mikey Way's feelings for their late grandmother, Elena Lee Rush (whom her friends referred to as "Helen", and because of this, Gerard always thought to combine her first name with this alias, forming the name, "Helena").
The single has become a moderately-selling hit, both in the US and internationally. Way stated in an interview with Channel V that the main influence behind "Helena" was from the song "Aces High" by Iron Maiden and tracks by The Ventures. This song is also My Chemical Romance's sixth overall single. Way described it as representing the band's image and sound, and as such it was often used to end the band's shows. The single was certified as a Gold Record in United States. Despite charting lower than their prior hit, "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" on the "Billboard" Modern Rock Tracks chart peaking at number 4 where "Helena" peaked at number 11, "Helena" was the band's first crossover hit crossing over to Top 40 radio at number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and it also still had more airplay on alternative rock stations.
NME declared that the song was one of the "20 Greatest Goth Tracks" and that it was "a pivotal moment in cross-fertilising goth with emo" and that "MCR spawned a hybrid that ensured black clothes and eyeliner became, once again, teenage rebellion's default setting".
In the media
The song was also used in the closing credits of the 2005 remake of horror film House of Wax. "Helena" is also available as downloadable content for the video games Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, Rock Band 3, Rock Band Blitz and Tap Tap Revenge.
The music video was shot on-location in the Immanuel Presbyterian church on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, directed by Marc Webb, and choreographed by Michael Rooney. The video has a simple plot, with Gerard Way as a very emotional mourner at a funeral where the band is performing. There are also mourners who dance and mourn the death of Helena. Near the end, the dead body of Helena (played by actress and dancer Tracy Phillips) rises and dances down the nave representing crossing over into the afterlife. After she falls back into the casket, the pallbearers (also played by My Chemical Romance and a fan named Cameron) carry the casket to the hearse (in the pouring rain), surrounded by a phalanx of dancing men and women with umbrellas.
Though the song in general is about the band members Gerard Way and Mikey Way's late grandmother, it was stated in an interview[which?] that the video told a different story. The music video shows the funeral of a girl, who, according to Gerard Way, died tragically. The sixth pallbearer and the majority of the mourners are fans who'd received emails from the band asking if they'd like to be in the video.
During the "Making Of..." video, found as a bonus on the Life on the Murder Scene CD/DVD, it was noted that Frank Iero, while joking about being "4'9"", didn't actually carry any weight of the casket, and that it rested on the other band members and their 6th pallbearer to carry the weight. Also noted was that the rain used in the sequence between the church and the hearse wasn't planned for, but the director used it to his advantage, as it set the mood of a funeral.
The video was nominated for five Moonmen at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards: Best Rock Video, Best Choreography, Best New Artist, and the MTV2 and Viewer's Choice Awards (both of which are chosen by viewers). They lost to bands such as Green Day, Fall Out Boy, and The Killers. Though the band did not win any awards, they did do a surprise performance of the song towards the end of the show. They also won an MTV Video Music Awards Latin America "tongue" for the Best New Artist - International. They also won a Best Video award in the 2005 Kerrang! Awards. In November 2005, the video was nominated for two MTVU Woodie Awards (voted on by college students) and won the Woodie of the Year. In the Philippines, Helena has reached a cult-like status because of the popularity of Alternative music.
The video was also voted #1 by viewers of MTV Latinamerica in the 2005 "100 Most Wanted Videos".
The video was uploaded to YouTube on October 26, 2006 and currently has 31,451,672 views as of July 19, 2015.
|UK promotional CD|
|UK CD and 7" vinyl|
|2.||"I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" (live)||3:37|
|1.||"Helena" (Live Video)|
|2.||"I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" (Video)|
|2.||"I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" (live)||3:37|
|3.||"You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us In Prison" (live)||3:40|
|1.||"Helena" (live from the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey)||4:14|
|Europe (European Hot 100 Singles)||61|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||67|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||27|
|UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)||20|
|UK Rock (The Official Charts Company)||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||33|
|U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks||11|
|U.S. Billboard Mainstream Top 40||32|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Digital Songs||13|
|U.S. Billboard Pop 100||32|
"Somewhere Else" by Razorlight
|UK Rock Chart number-one single
May 29, 2005 - June 19, 2005
"Wake Me Up When September Ends" by Green Day
|United Kingdom||2005||Reprise, Eyeball||CD||PRO15371|
|May 23, 2005||7" vinyl||W671, 5439160437|
|Australia||August 22, 2005||CD||9362428022|
- "Top 100 Emo Songs of All Time". The Boston Phoenix. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
- "Australian-charts.com – My Chemical Romance – Helena". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
- "Top 100 Music Hits, Top 100 Music Charts, Top 100 Songs & The Hot 100". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- "Musicline.de – My Chemical Romance Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
- "Charts.org.nz – My Chemical Romance – Helena". Top 40 Singles.