All You Need Is Love
|"All You Need Is Love"|
US single picture sleeve
|Single by The Beatles|
|B-side||"Baby, You're a Rich Man"|
|Released||7 July 1967|
|Recorded||14 and 19–26 June 1967,
Olympic and EMI studios, London, respectively
|Genre||Rock, baroque pop, pop|
|The Beatles singles chronology|
"All You Need Is Love" is a song written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. It was first performed by the Beatles on Our World, the first live global television link. Watched by 400 million in 26 countries, the programme was broadcast via satellite on 25 June 1967. The BBC had commissioned the Beatles to write a song for the United Kingdom's contribution.
The Beatles were asked to come up with a song with a message understood by everyone. "It was an inspired song and they really wanted to give the world a message," said Brian Epstein. "The nice thing about it is that it cannot be misinterpreted. It is a clear message saying that love is everything." According to journalist Jade Wright, "Lennon was fascinated by the power of slogans to unite people and never afraid to create art out of propaganda. When asked in 1971 whether songs like "Give Peace a Chance" and "Power to the People" were propaganda songs, he answered: 'Sure. So was All You Need Is Love. I'm a revolutionary artist. My art is dedicated to change.'"
The day before the Our World broadcast, the Beatles decided that the song should be their next single. Released in the UK on 7 July 1967, it went straight to number one and remained there for three weeks. It was similarly successful in the United States after its release on 17 July, reaching number one for a week. It was also included on the American LP version of Magical Mystery Tour in November  as well as in the film, and on the LP Yellow Submarine, released in 1969. This song is also featured in the Cirque du Soleil's show "Love", based on the songs of The Beatles, which has been performing in Las Vegas since 2006.
The interviews on The Beatles Anthology documentary series reveal that Paul McCartney and George Harrison were unsure whether the song was written for Our World. However, George Martin and Ringo Starr assert it was. When asked, McCartney replied:
"I don't think it was written specially for it. But it was one of the songs we had. ... It was certainly tailored to it once we had it. But I've got a feeling it was just one of John's songs that was coming there. We went down to Olympic Studios in Barnes and recorded it and then it became the song they said, 'Ah. This is the one we should use.' I don't actually think it was written for it."
The song starts with the intro to the French national anthem, "La Marseillaise", and contains elements from Glenn Miller's 1939 hit "In The Mood", as well as elements from Wayne Shanklin's 1958 hit "Chanson D'Amour". The song is notable for its asymmetric time signature and complex changes. The main verse pattern contains a total of 29 beats, split into two 7/4 measures, a single bar of 8/4, followed by a one bar return of 7/4 before repeating the pattern. The chorus, however, maintains a steady 4/4 beat with the exception of the last bar of 6/4 (on the lyric 'love is all you need'). The prominent cello line draws attention to this departure from pop-single normality, although it was not the first time that the Beatles had experimented with varied meter within a single song: "We Can Work It Out" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" are other examples. The song is in the key of G and the verse opens (on "There's nothing you can do") with a G chord and D melody note, the chords shifting in a I-V/7-vi progression while the bass simultaneously follows the tonic (G) to the relative minor (Em), but via an F#. Indeed, throughout this song McCartney's bass implies many additional chords over those played by the other instruments. For example, after the verse "learn how to play the game, it's easy", the bass alters the prolonged V (D) chord with F#, E,C and B note modulations. The song is notable for a dramatic use of a dominant or V chord (here D) on "It's easy." The "Love, love, love" chant involves chords in a I-V7-vi shift (G-D-Em) and simultaneous descending B, A, G notes with the concluding G note corresponding not to the tonic G chord, but acting as a ♭ 3rd of the Em chord; this also introducing the E note of the Em chord as a 6th of the tonic G scale. Supporting the same melody note with different and unexpected chords has been termed a characteristic Beatles technique.
During the long fade-out, elements of various other songs can be heard, including "Greensleeves", Invention No. 8 in F major (BWV 779) by J.S. Bach, "In the Mood", and the Beatles' own 1963 hit, "She Loves You".
For the broadcast, the Beatles were (except for Starr) seated on stools, accompanied by a small studio orchestra. They were surrounded by friends and acquaintances seated on the floor, many of whom were among the leading stars of the British pop scene, who sang with the refrain during the fade-out.
The performance was not completely live: the Beatles, the orchestra, and guests were overdubbing onto a pre-recorded rhythm track mainly consisting of piano, harpsichord, drums, and backing vocals. The full Our World segment opens with the band and company listening to the raw backing track, as commentator Steve Race explained the process in voiceover. The live overdubs seem to include not only lead vocals, orchestra, and the improvised call-and-response, but also bass guitar, Harrison's guitar solo, and a second drum track — which seems to go out of time with the original track during the first few bars. At the beginning of the song, under "La Marseillaise," a tambourine is shaken, but this was mixed out and replaced with a drum roll before the single was released.
Lennon, affecting indifference, was said to be nervous about the broadcast, given the potential size of the international TV audience. Dissatisfied with his singing, he re-recorded the solo verses for use on the single. Starr also overdubbed drums before the single was released, fixing the aforementioned timing problems and adding the drum roll.
The programme was broadcast in 'black-and-white' (colour television had yet to commence broadcasting in Britain and most of the world). The Beatles' footage was colourised, based on photographs of the event, for The Beatles Anthology documentary.
U.S. chart run
- John Lennon – lead and backing vocals, harpsichord, banjo
- Paul McCartney – bass, double bass, backing vocal
- George Harrison – lead guitar, violin, backing vocal
- Ringo Starr – drums, percussion
- Keith Moon – brush drums
- George Martin – piano, orchestration and production.
- David Mason – piccolo trumpet
- Session musicians played strings, brass, woodwind and accordion as conducted by Mike Vickers
- Friends and studio people made hand claps and sang background vocals (including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Keith Moon, Graham Nash and many others).
In popular culture
The song was famously featured in the final episode of the 1967 series The Prisoner contemporary with the song's release. It was used as ironic counterpoint during a scene in which the main characters finally escape and machinegun their captors.
|Group or artist's name||Release date||Album title||Additional information|
|The 5th Dimension||1971–10||The 5th Dimension/Live!|
|Bajaga i Instruktori||1986||7" single|
|Eddie Chacon||1987||12" single||Columbia 4406930|
|Echo & the Bunnymen||1988||New Live and Rare||This version is also included on Crystal Days: 1979-1999; they also released a live cover as a bonus track on the 2003 re-release of their 1984 album Ocean Rain.|
|Tears for Fears||1990||Going to California (Live DVD)||Orzabal changed some of the lyrics and incorporated the phrase "Raoul and the Kings of Spain" which would go on to be the title of a future album.|
|Ferrante & Teicher||1993-01-29||The Greatest Love Songs of All|
|The Undead||1998–07||Till Death|
|Lynden David Hall||2003-11-11||Love Actually|
|Nada Surf||2006||Featured in a Chase Credit Card commercial|
|Dana Fuchs & Jim Sturgess||2007||Across the Universe|
|Beatallica||2008||single||Parodied as "All You Need is Blood"|
|Noel Gallagher||2009||The Dreams We Have as Children (Live for Teenage Cancer Trust)|
|Bandaged||2009||single (BBC Children in Need)||Taken from the Bandaged Together album and featuring rock, pop and classical artists|
|One Direction||2010||Performed live on The X Factor during the show's elimination rounds.|
|Japan United with Music||2012-03-07||single||Charity single for recovery from the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Produced by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Takeshi Kobayashi, and featuring many artists such as Yellow Magic Orchestra, Crystal Kay, Tomoyasu Hotei, Kazutoshi Sakurai, Sugizo and Bonnie Pink.|
|The Flaming Lips (feat. Alex and Jade of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros)||2013-04-01||The Terror||Taken from the UK Bella Union exclusive 3" mini CD|
|Glee cast||2013||Glee Sings the Beatles||Also performed on Season Five Premiere, "Love Love Love"|
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56. All you need is love - The Beatles [#10]
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"A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum
|UK Singles Chart number one single
19 July 1967 (three weeks)
"San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" by Scott McKenzie
"Light My Fire" by the Doors
|Billboard Hot 100 number one single
19 August 1967 (one week)
"Ode to Billie Joe" by Bobbie Gentry
"A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procul Harum
|French number one single
22 July 1967 (one week)
"Adios Amor" by Sheila