"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 over 150 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.


 [hide*1 Composition


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]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 fromWayne 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]

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]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 prerecorded 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.[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 rerecorded 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, forThe Beatles Anthology documentary.[16]

U.S. chart run[edit]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


Chart performance[edit]Edit

Chart (1967) Peak


Australia (Kent Music Report)[21] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[22] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[23] 4
Canadian RPM Top Singles[24] 1
Germany (Media Control AG)[25] 1
Irish Singles Chart[26] 1
Italy (FIMI)[27] 10
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[28] 1
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[29] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[30] 1
UK (Official Charts Company)[31] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[32] 1
U.S. Cashbox[18] 1
Chart (1987) (Reissue) Peak


Irish Singles Chart[26] 19
UK (Official Charts Company)[31] 47

Cover versions[edit]Edit

Group or artist's name Release date Album title Additional information
The 5th Dimension 1971–10 The 5th Dimension/Live![33]
New Musik 1982 Warp
Bajaga i Instruktori 1986 7" single[34]
Eddie Chacon 1987 12" single[35] Columbia 4406930
Echo & the Bunnymen 1988 New Live and Rare[36] 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.
Anything Box 1991–05 Worth[37]
Tom Jones 1993–01 single[38]
Ferrante & Teicher 1993-01-29 The Greatest Love Songs of All[39]
The Undead 1998–07 Till Death[40]
Lynden David Hall 2003-11-11 Love Actually[41]
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[42]
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 OrchestraCrystal KayTomoyasu HoteiKazutoshi SakuraiSugizoand Bonnie Pink.[43]
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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