All You Need Is Love

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"All You Need Is Love"

US single picture sleeve
Single by The Beatles
B-side"Baby, You're a Rich Man"
Released7 July 1967
Format7"
Recorded14 and 19–26 June 1967,
Olympic and EMI studios, London, respectively
GenreRock, baroque pop, pop[1]
Length3:57
LabelParlophone
Writer(s)Lennon–McCartney
ProducerGeorge Martin
CertificationGold (RIAA)[2]
The Beatles singles chronology
"Strawberry Fields Forever" / "Penny Lane"
(1967)
"All You Need Is Love"
(1967)
"Hello, Goodbye"
(1967)
Alternative cover
1987 20th anniversary re-release
 
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"All You Need Is Love"

US single picture sleeve
Single by The Beatles
B-side"Baby, You're a Rich Man"
Released7 July 1967
Format7"
Recorded14 and 19–26 June 1967,
Olympic and EMI studios, London, respectively
GenreRock, baroque pop, pop[1]
Length3:57
LabelParlophone
Writer(s)Lennon–McCartney
ProducerGeorge Martin
CertificationGold (RIAA)[2]
The Beatles singles chronology
"Strawberry Fields Forever" / "Penny Lane"
(1967)
"All You Need Is Love"
(1967)
"Hello, Goodbye"
(1967)
Alternative cover
1987 20th anniversary re-release

"All You Need Is Love" is a song written by John Lennon[3] 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.[4] The BBC had commissioned the Beatles to write a song for the United Kingdom's contribution.

Composition[edit]

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."[5] 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.'"[5]

The day before the Our World broadcast, the Beatles decided that the song should be their next single.[citation needed] Released in the UK on 7 July 1967, it went straight to number one and remained there for three weeks.[citation needed] It was similarly successful in the United States after its release on 17 July, reaching number one for a week.[6] It was also included on the American LP version of Magical Mystery Tour in November [7] 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."[8]

Musical structure[edit]

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.[9] 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.[10] The song is notable for a dramatic use of a dominant or V chord (here D) on "It's easy."[11] 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.[12]

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".[13]

Live broadcast[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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.[14][15] Starr also overdubbed drums before the single was released,[15] 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.[16]

U.S. chart run[edit]

Billboard Hot 100[17] (11 weeks): Reached #1 (1 week), becoming the band's 14th #1 there.

Cashbox[18] (9 weeks): 27, 3, 1, 1, 2, 2, 5, 9, 24

Personnel[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

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.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1967)Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[20]1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[21]1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[22]4
Canadian RPM Top Singles[23]1
Germany (Media Control AG)[24]1
Irish Singles Chart[25]1
Italy (FIMI)[26]10
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[27]1
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[28]1
Norway (VG-lista)[29]1
UK (Official Charts Company)[30]1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[31]1
U.S. Cashbox[18]1
Chart (1987) (Reissue)Peak
position
Irish Singles Chart[25]19
UK (Official Charts Company)[30]47

Cover versions[edit]

Group or artist's nameRelease dateAlbum titleAdditional information
The 5th Dimension1971–10The 5th Dimension/Live![32]
New Musik1982Warp
Bajaga i Instruktori19867" single[33]
Eddie Chacon198712" single[34]Columbia 4406930
Echo & the Bunnymen1988New Live and Rare[35]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 Fears1990Going 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.
Anything Box1991–05Worth[36]
Tom Jones1993–01single[37]
Ferrante & Teicher1993-01-29The Greatest Love Songs of All[38]
The Undead1998–07Till Death[39]
Lynden David Hall2003-11-11Love Actually[40]
Nada Surf2006Featured in a Chase Credit Card commercial
Dana Fuchs & Jim Sturgess2007Across the Universe
Beatallica2008singleParodied as "All You Need is Blood"
Noel Gallagher2009The Dreams We Have as Children (Live for Teenage Cancer Trust)
Bandaged2009single (BBC Children in Need)Taken from the Bandaged Together album and featuring rock, pop and classical artists[41]
One Direction2010Performed live on The X Factor during the show's elimination rounds.
Japan United with Music2012-03-07singleCharity 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.[42]
LemON2012LemON[43]
The Flaming Lips (feat. Alex and Jade of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros)2013-04-01The TerrorTaken from the UK Bella Union exclusive 3" mini CD
Glee cast2013Glee Sings the BeatlesAlso performed on Season Five Premiere, "Love Love Love"

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "All You Need Is Love". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  2. ^ RIAA 2009.
  3. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 116.
  4. ^ The Beatles Official Website 2009.
  5. ^ a b Wright 2009.
  6. ^ "Music Albums, Top 200 Albums & Music Album Charts". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  7. ^ The Beatles Bible 2008.
  8. ^ The Beatles Anthology 1995.
  9. ^ Dominic Pedler. The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Music Sales Limited. Omnibus Press. NY. 2003. p298 and 458
  10. ^ Dominic Pedler. The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Music Sales Limited. Omnibus Press. NY. 2003. p459
  11. ^ Dominic Pedler. The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Music Sales Limited. Omnibus Press. NY. 2003. p9
  12. ^ Dominic Pedler. The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Music Sales Limited. Omnibus Press. NY. 2003. p720
  13. ^ Alan W. Pollack's Notes on "All You Need Is Love"
  14. ^ a b Lewisohn 1988, p. 120.
  15. ^ a b Unterberger 2006, p. 178.
  16. ^ Sella, Tom (1996). "Anthology Home Video". Beatles Reference Library. Retrieved 27 June 2010. "Laserdisc 7, Side 1, Chapter 1" 
  17. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1997). Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles. Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research Inc. p. 39. ISBN 0-89820-122-5. 
  18. ^ a b Hoffmann, Frank (1983). The Cash Box Singles Charts, 1950-1981. Metuchen, NJ & London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 32. 
  19. ^ "Keith Moon Records With The Beatles". Keith Moon Movie. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  20. ^ Worldcharts.co.uk. "Australia n°1 Hits - 60's". Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  21. ^ "The Beatles – All You Need Is Love – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  22. ^ "Ultratop.be – The Beatles – All You Need Is Love" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  23. ^ "All you need is love in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  24. ^ "The Beatles - All You Need Is Love". Charts.de. Media Control.
  25. ^ a b "All you need is love in Irish Chart". IRMA. Retrieved 5 July 2013.  Only results when searching "All you need is love"
  26. ^ "The best-selling singles of 1967 in Italy". HitParadeItalia (it). Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
    56. All you need is love - The Beatles [#10]
  27. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – The Beatles search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  28. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Beatles – All You Need Is Love" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100.
  29. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – The Beatles – All You Need Is Love". VG-lista.
  30. ^ a b "Beatles". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  31. ^ "The Beatles awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  32. ^ Torreano.
  33. ^ "All You Need Is Love (Verzija 1986)" / "Jahači magle (Ukratko)" at Discogs
  34. ^ vinylrecords.co.uk.
  35. ^ Ankeny 2009.
  36. ^ Cooper 2009.
  37. ^ BBC Wales 2009.
  38. ^ AOL Music 2009a.
  39. ^ Allmusic 2009.
  40. ^ Phares 2009.
  41. ^ "All You Need is Love" charity single 2009
  42. ^ (Japanese) YMO、小林武史、桜井和寿ら30人がBEATLES名曲カバー.
  43. ^ Debiutancka płyta zespołu LemON trafiła do sklepów

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum
UK Singles Chart number one single
19 July 1967 (three weeks)
Succeeded by
"San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" by Scott McKenzie
Preceded by
"Light My Fire" by the Doors
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
19 August 1967 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Ode to Billie Joe" by Bobbie Gentry
Preceded by
"A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procul Harum
French number one single
22 July 1967 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Adios Amor" by Sheila