Interview for Disc And Music Echo • Saturday, July 15, 1967

Launching a new Beatles hit: all you need is speed

Press interview • Interview of Dick James

Album This interview has been made to promote the All You Need Is Love / Baby You're A Rich Man (UK) 7" Single.

Songs mentioned in this interview

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Launching a new Beatles hit: all you need is speed

The introduction of “All You Need Is Love”, in the BBC world-wide TV production “Our World”, presented Beatles song publisher Dick James with his biggest challenge to date: to have the new Beatles song rolling off the presses and in the shops in the fastest time possible after the TV show.

“Normally, we have two weeks or more to prepare a song,” says Dick. “But two problems presented themselves in this case. One, the fans would naturally feel frustrated if the song was not available in shops when they had already heard it performed on TV by the Beatles themselves, and two, there was always a chance that unscrupulous people would tape the transmission and re-broadcast it.”

This actually happened with one French station – and in America, too. Naturally

Naturally, we do all that’s possible to prevent this sort of thing, but the surest safeguard was to get out the copies as soon as possible.

“This we managed to do, and copies were in shops throughout Britain only eight days after the TV production. And EMI Records had finished pressings available for broadcasting only four days after the TV show.”

Dick first heard that the Beatles planned to write a song specially for “Our World” about five weeks before the actual transmission on the world-wide link-up seen by a massed audience of 500 million people.

“I was visiting the EMI studios where George Martin was working on the new Beatles LP. He told me the boys were going to be featured in ‘Our World’ and that they planned a special song for the show.

“Knowing there would naturally be an immediate demand for it, we all decided it should be the A side of a new Beatles single and that it should be rush-released within a few days of the programme.

“John sang the melody line to me against a backing track of bass, guitar, drums and rhythm guitar, and I could see right away it would be another massive hit. It was, of course, a very simple format designed specially for people in other countries whose knowledge of English was very limited.

“Normally, the Beatles like to write sophisticated material, but they were glad to have the opportunity to write something with a very basic appeal. Already advance sales have gone to over 300,000 and I think it will do between hald a million and 600,000 in Britain alone – which is especially good in the height of summer when record sales are usually at a low ebb.

“First step to publication was for George Martin to let me have a score, then John and Paul let me have the lyrics. The day following ‘Our World’ we had made an acetate recording and by the Tuesday – two days later – we had song copies done in manuscript form by my staff arranger, Jeff Muston.

“On the Wednesday, copies were already in print.

“I always make it a point of printing 5,000 copies in the first run; then repeat them in batches of 5,000. You may ask why I don’t print more when I know that the sales will go to between 20,000 to 35,000. Well, I have always worked this way – call it superstition if you like!

“Next step was to get a photo and do the cover layout.

“The finished copies are then distributed to the wholesalers – three or four in London – and also to firms in the local areas like Manchester, Nottingham, Leeds and Glasgow. From the wholesales, they go into the shops.

“We also send copies abroad – to 17 countries. In some countries they print their own, in other cases they get them from us. In America, they are printed just as quickly as here.”

What about cover versions of Beatles songs by other artists? Once the song is published, there are no restrictions.

“But I could prevent any parodies or burlesque versions of Beatles songs and see they were taken off the market if they had been done,” says Dick.

“All You Need Is Love” was the fastest job yet done on a Beatles song by publisher Dick James. And the way sales are going, it looks like being one of their fastest rising successes.

From Disc And Music Echo – July 15, 1967
From Disc And Music Echo – July 15, 1967

Last updated on April 5, 2023


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