- Timeline More from year 1967
More from year 1967
"Our World" satellite broadcast
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On this day, Brian Epstein signed a contract for The Beatles to appear as Britain’s representatives on “Our World”, a live television production to be broadcast internationally via satellite on June 25.
According to engineer Geoff Emerick, The Beatles were not excited by the prospect, but John Lennon agreed to write a new song for the occasion, which turned out to be “All You Need Is Love” and would become the next Beatles single.
The announcement to the press was made on May 22, four days after the contract was signed.
According to an article by Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans in The Beatles Monthly Book, December 1967, the participation of The Beatles in “Our World” led to the delay in the “Magical Mystery Tour” TV special. The title track was recorded in late April / early May. The rest of the soundtrack was recorded from August 22 onwards.
A couple of months previously, while we were still wrapped up with the job of completing Pepper, Brian Epstein had made one of his infrequent visits to the studio. With a grandiloquent sweep of his hands, he called for silence.
“Boys,” he announced, “I have the most fantastic news to report.”
Everyone’s ears perked up.
Brian paused for dramatic emphasis. “You have been selected to represent England in a television programme which, for the first time ever, will be transmitted live around the world via satellite. The BBC shall actually be filming you making your next record.”
The show, he went on to explain, was to be called Our World, and it was a celebration of cultures around the globe. He looked around the room expectantly. I almost thought he was getting ready to take a bow. To his utter dismay, the group’s response was… to yawn. Ringo fidgeted at the back of the room, anxious to return to the game of chess he was playing with Neil, and George resumed tuning his guitar. John and Paul exchanged blank looks for a moment. Paul didn’t seem all that interested; I guess he was probably just too focused on finishing up Pepper.
With a distinct lack of enthusiasm, John finally said, “Oh, okay. I’ll do something for that.”
Brian was incensed at their casual reaction. “Aren’t you excited? Don’t you realize what this means to us? Don’t you have any idea how much hard work and effort I put into making this deal?”
Lennon cut him off with an acidic comment: “Well, Brian, that’s what you get for committing us to doing something without asking us first.”
Epstein looked close to tears. At a loss for words, he stomped out of the studio in a snit. From the studio chatter that followed after he had gone, I gathered that, rather than viewing this as a coup, the four Beatles saw it as a violation of their self-declared intent to never perform live again. What’s more, they resented the fact that their manager had presented it to them as a fait accompli. They were at a point where they wanted to take control of their own career.Geoff Emerick – From “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles“, 2006
Some time after banning the “A Day in the Life” video, the BBC telephoned me and said that they were planning an extravaganza of their own. It was to be the first worldwide satellite transmission linkup, and they were pompously calling it Our World. The 125-minute program would link live continents, bringing “man face-to-face with mankind.” Would the Fabs consider writing and performing a new song to mark the event?
Still smarting from having their/our druggie video rejected, the lads said no initially, then reconsidered. They said that they would do it if they could do it like a party. Instantly suspicious, the BBC set up “a meet,” and I was sent over to explain. I took with me the video for “A Day in the Life,” which of course, as I suspected, they hadn’t seen. And, as I knew they would, they loved it. We had a few drinks and played it continuously while we sang along. When we finally got down to business I produced a tape with two new songs on it and told them to choose which one they wanted for the forthcoming satellite transmission. The two songs were “Your Mother Should Know,” and “All You Need Is Love.”
In the fullness of time an official letter arrived from Broadcasting House. It informed us that they had chosen “All You Need Is Love,” and furthermore, would agree to “a party atmosphere.”Tony Bramwell – From “Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles“, 2005
What happened was, a fellow from the BBC, an organization which I’m sure you have heard of, asked us to get together a song for this. So we said, ‘We’d get one together, with nice easy words, so that everyone can understand it.’ So he said, ‘Oh, all right then. We’ll see you in a couple of weeks.’ So we went away, and we just played Monopoly for a bit, and then the fellow said, ‘Now, where’s the song?’ So we said, ‘Ah! Don’t worry Derek.’ His name was Derek Burrell-Davis. ‘We’ll soon have a song for you.’”Paul McCartney – Interview with DJ Kenny Everett, mid 1967 – From beatlesebooks.com
BEATLES-WORLD TV, DRUG SONG DENIAL
THE Beatles will provide one of Britain’s two contributions to the first-ever world-wide TV hook-up, to be screened by BBC-1 on Sunday, June 25 (8-10 pm), and simultaneously in 30 other countries. The group will occupy a five-minute spot, live from the EMI studios. They will be featured recording a brand new number which they are writing specially for the occasion. The programme, “Our World,” will be linked by five satellite to an estimated audience of over 500-million viewers.
Before recording the song, the Beatles will be seen routining and discussing it with their recording manager George Martin. An orchestra may also be featured in the session. John Lennon and Paul McCartney are deliberately keeping the lyric simple for the benefit of foreign viewers. No decision will be taken on whether the track will be commercially released until after it has actually been recorded.
The BBC has banned “A Day In The Life” from the new LP, on the grounds that it “could be considered to have drug-taking implications.” The group hotly deny this.From New Musical Express – May 27, 1967
Flying home to London (Tuesday April 11) Paul worked on the first words for a “Magical Mystery Tour” song. On the plane he borrowed a pad of paper from the stewardess and drew a big circle, dividing it up into sections. The circle represented 60 minutes, the sections were marked off into bits for songs and sketches. When we got home this was the sheet of paper Paul used to describe to the others what he had in mind. There were lots of sections of the circle left blank. The others threw in extra ideas and, one by one, the blank sections were filled until The Beatles decided they had the makings of a 60-minute TV programme.
In the Bag O’ Nails discotheque club one night towards the end of April we (Neil and Mal!) were brought into the group’s discussions on possible items for the “Coach Show”. Basically it was agreed that the plan should be “all-inclusive, non-exclusive”. This meant trying to fit into the show something for everyone, as wide a variety as possible.
On April 25 the backing track for the song “Magical Mystery Tour” was recorded. Two nights later voices were added and on May 3 trumpet accompaniment was put on.
NOW THERE WAS A LONG DELAY BECAUSE THE BBC INVITED THE BEATLES TO TAKE PART IN A ‘LIVE’ WORLD WIDE TELEVISION PROGRAMME FOR WHICH THEY WOULD WRITE A SPECIAL SONG. THE SONG WAS “ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE”, THE PROGRAMME, SEEN AT THE END OF JUNE, WAS “OUR WORLD’. AS YOU KNOW “ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE” BECAME THE MAIN SIDE OF THE BEATLES’ NEXT SINGLE AND THEY PUT “BABY, YOU’RE A RICH MAN” ON THE SECOND SIDE.From The Beatles Monthly Book, December 1967
Last updated on April 30, 2023
"With greatly expanded text, this is the most revealing and frank personal 30-year chronicle of the group ever written. Insider Barry Miles covers the Beatles story from childhood to the break-up of the group."
We owe a lot to Barry Miles for the creation of those pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - a day to day chronology of what happened to the four Beatles during the Beatles years!