The Beatles released the single “All You Need Is Love” in 1967 and it became an instant hit around the world of course. It is still a love anthem to this day and represents the Fab Four at their finest. The song was also the UK’s contribution to the first international live television show via satellite on 25 June 1967.
Format: 7-inch record (B-side “Baby You’re a Rich Man“) and album track (Magical Mystery Tour)
Recorded: 14, 19, 23-26 June, 1967
Studio: Olympic Sound Studios, London; EMI Studios, London
Genre: Pop, psychedelia
Track Duration: 3:57
Record Label: Parlophone, Capitol
Producer: George Martin
John Lennon: lead and backing vocals, harpsichord, banjo
Paul McCartney: bass, double bass, backing vocals
George Harrison: lead guitar, violin, backing vocals
Ringo Starr: drums
George Martin: piano, orchestral arrangement, production
Mike Vickers: conductor
Sidney Sax, Patrick Halling, Eric Bowie, Jack Holmes: violins
Rex Morris, Don Honeywill: tenor saxophones
David Mason: trumpet
Stanley Woods: trumpet, also the flugelhorn
Evan Watkins, Harry Spain: trombones
Jack Emblow: accordion
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Marianne Faithfull, Jane Asher, Pattie Boyd, Mike McGear, Keith Moon, Graham Nash, Hunter Davies, Gary Leeds (also others): background vocals
To begin with, “All You Need Is Love” became part of the world’s first live international TV Show “Our World“. This “satellite broadcast” show linked up 24 countries around the world. Each country had a small slot in the show for their own purposes, of course.
In brief, the UK’s representatives were The Beatles. When it was time for the British contribution, the band then played “All You Need Is Love” to a worldwide audience of potentially 700 million people.
Not only was the song relevant to the show but it became a massive number on hit for them around the world. The single hit the top of the charts in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, USA as well as many other countries.
The Beatles were masters at using video to promote their music, of course. For example, they already had promotional films for “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever“, etc. So televising to hundreds of millions was a good prospect.
Obviously, the message they sent around the world in music form was apt – peace and love.
Although largely forgotten now, the “Our World” broadcast was a historic moment in history. Be that as it may, The Beatles performing a song live on it was the cherry on top!
All You Need Is Love
In the 1960’s they considered it bad practice to release a single from an album in the UK. Since, the song is on the “Magical Mystery Tour” album it would appear that this went against the trend. However, the “Magical Mystery Tour” release in the UK was a double EP and the song wasn’t part of those.
In short, the American album became the standard release in 1987 when the back catalogue came out on CDs. This is because the British 6 song EPs became impractical for that purpose. So the 11 track US album became standard from then on.
The song also complimented the “Yellow Submarine” album perfectly. Therefore, they added “All You Need Is Love” to that album too. This means that the track is on two Beatles’ albums, of course.
“All You Need Is Love was John’s song. I threw in a few ideas, as did the other members of the group, but it was largely ad libs like singing She Loves You or Greensleeves or silly things at the end and we made those up on the spot.
The chorus, ‘All you need is love’, is simple, but the verse is quite complex; in fact I never really understood it, the message is rather complex. It was a good song that we had handy that had an anthemic chorus.”
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
The orchestral arrangement comes from George Martin as ever and the opening of the song starts with part of the French national anthem. Then, at the end of the song, you can hear musical quotations from Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood”, “Greensleeves”, and Bach’s Invention No. 8 in F major. There is also the “She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” chorus from the Fab Four’s 1963 hit.
The backing track for “All You Need Is Love” had to be special before going live in front of the “Our World” cameras. Therefore, the band recorded 33 takes of the backing track before deciding that the tenth take was ideal. Recording began at the Olympic Sound Studios in south-west London on the 14th June, 1967.
Ringo Starr played the drums, of course. But unusually, the others played instruments they were unfamiliar with. For example John Lennon played harpsichord, Paul McCartney was on double bass while George Harrison was on violin.
From the 19th June, at the EMI Studios, the band together with George Martin, recorded the overdubs including the vocals. Then, on the 23rd June, they rehearsed with an orchestra while recording at the same time. On the 24th June, The Beatles thought that this song should be their next single. The next day of course, we see The Beatles perform the song for “Our World”.
“The time got nearer and nearer and they still hadn’t written anything. Then, about three weeks before the programme, they sat down to write. The record was completed in 10 days.
This is an inspired song, because they wrote it for a worldwide programme and they really wanted to give the world a message. It could hardly have been a better message. It is a wonderful, beautiful, spine-chilling record.”
Apart from the single release, the song also appears on many albums. For instance, we see it on the 1967 album, “Magical Mystery Tour” where it is the last track. However, it is not on the British double EP of the same name.
Then we see it on both the “Yellow Submarine” “Soundtrack” and “Songtrack” albums from 1969 and 1999 respectfully. On the “Soundtrack” LP it is the last track on side 1 while on the “Songtrack” album it is track 12, after “Only A Northern Song” and before “When I’m Sixty-Four“.
Because it was a number one record, it qualifies to be a part of the 2000 album, “1” (One). It is also the last track on the mashup mix album from 2006, “Love”.
Although the mashup “Love” album has many different song mixes, here, “All You Need Is Love” remains largely untouched until the end. Then, we hear all sorts going on. Indeed, it contains some vocals from “Baby You’re a Rich Man”, “Rain” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” as well as the guitar riff from “Ticket to Ride” and some elements of “Let It Be“. The track then ends with orchestration from “Good Night” and the sign off from The Beatles Third Christmas Record.
All You Need Is Love – Yellow Submarine Film
The song also appears in the 1968 animated film, “Yellow Submarine“. It plays in the scene where Lennon’s character comes under attack from the Blue Meanies’ evil Flying Glove. As Lennon sings the song, the words literally come right out of his mouth and the word “Love” defeats the Flying Glove together with the music hating Blue Meanies.