from the album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge
|Released:||March, 14, 2005|
My Chemical Romance
The lyrics describe Gerard Way's feelings for his late grandmother, Elena Lee Rush (friends called her 'Helen', and because of this, Gerard always thought of her as "Helena"). The single has become a moderately-selling hit, both in the U.S. and internationally. Gerard said in an interview with Channel [V] the band got influences for Helena from the song "Aces High" by Iron Maiden and tracks by The Ventures. He described it as representing the band's image and sound, and as such it is oftentimes used to end the band's shows. The single was certified as a gold record in the United States. The song was also used in the closing credits of the 2005 horror film House of Wax.
The music video was shot on-location in the Immanuel Presbyterian church in Los Angeles, California; it was directed by Marc Webb and choreographed by Michael Rooney. The video features the band performing at a young woman's funeral, with Gerard acting as a priest. There are also mourners who dance around her casket and later on the church steps
. During the bridge, Helena (Tracy Phillips) rises from her casket and dances down the nave, representing her crossing over into the afterlife. After she falls back into the casket, six pallbearers (My Chem along with a fan named Cameron) carry the casket to the hearse in the pouring rain, surrounded by men and women dancing with umbrellas.
Though the song in general is about Gerard and Mikey's late grandmother, it was stated in an interview that the video told a different story. The video shows the funeral of a girl, who, according to Gerard, died tragically. The sixth pallbearer and the majority of the mourners/extras are fans who had received emails from the band asking if they'd like to be in the video.
During the "Making Of..." video, a bonus on the Life on the Murder Scene CD/DVD, it was noted that Frank, joking about being 4'9", was not tall enough to actually carry any weight of the casket, and it rested on the other band members and their sixth pallbearer. 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.
On the short European tour after Taste of Chaos 2005, My Chemical Romance experimented with bringing dancers onstage to reenact the Helena music video live. Footage of this from at least one show can be seen in Life on the Murder Scene, but it seems the idea never gained much steam due to the logistics involved.
The video was nominated for five Moonmen at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards: Best Rock Video, Best Choreography, Best New Artist, the MTV2 and Viewer's Choice Awards (both of which are chosen by viewers). They lost to bands 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 aternative music.
The video was also voted #1 by viewers of MTV Latinamerica of the 2005 "100 Most Wanted Videos".
|Chart (2005)||Peak Position|
|Australia ARIA Singles Chart||78|
|German Singles Chart||67|
|Irish Singles Chart||46|
|New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart||27|
|UK Singles Chart||20|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||33|
|U.S. Billboard Pop 100||32|