All You Need Is Love

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the All You Need Is Love / Baby You're A Rich Man 7" Single.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1967
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

All You Need Is Love” is a song by the Beatles that was released as a non-album single in July 1967. It was written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. The Beatles performed the song as Britain’s contribution to Our World, the first live global television link. Watched by over 400 million in 25 countries, the program was broadcast via satellite on 25 June 1967.

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.” 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 band started work on recording the song on 14 June 1967, with Lennon playing harpsichord, Paul McCartney on double bass, George Harrison on violin (an instrument he had never previously played), and Ringo Starr on drums. They recorded 33 takes, choosing the tenth take as the best. Over the following days they recorded overdubs including vocals, piano (played by their producer, George Martin), banjo (by Lennon), guitar and orchestral parts.

The interviews on The Beatles Anthology documentary series reveal that McCartney and Harrison were unsure whether “All You Need Is Love” was written for Our World, while Starr and Martin assert that 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 [the broadcast] once we had it. But I’ve got a feeling it was just one of John’s songs that was coming there.

Musical structure

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-vi chord progression while the bass simultaneously moves from the tonic (G) note to the root note of the relative minor (Em), via an F♯, supporting a first inversion D chord.

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 notes. 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 the 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.

George Martin recalled that “the boys … wanted to freak out at the end, and just go mad“. 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“. The first of these three pieces had been included in the arrangement by Martin. “She Loves You” was the result of improvisation by Lennon in rehearsals – he had also experimented with interpolating “Yesterday” and “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain” – although it was McCartney who led “She Loves You” on the subsequent studio recording.

Live broadcast

The Our World broadcast cut to Abbey Road studios at 8:54 PM London time, about 40 seconds earlier than expected. Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick were drinking scotch whisky to calm their nerves for the task of mixing the audio for a live worldwide broadcast, and had to scramble the bottle and glasses beneath the mixing desk when they were told they were about to go on air.

For the broadcast, the Beatles (except for Starr) were seated on stools, accompanied by a small studio orchestra. They were surrounded by friends and acquaintances seated on the floor, who sang along with the refrain during the fade-out. These guests included Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Richards, Keith Moon, Graham Nash, Mike McGear, Patti Boyd and Jane Asher.

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 producers of Our World were initially unhappy about the use of backing tracks, but it was insisted upon by Martin, who said that “we can’t just go in front of 350 million people without some work“. 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 segment initially showed the band simulating a rehearsal or rough take for about a minute, before Martin suggesting that the orchestral musicians should take their places for the recording as the tape was rewound, followed by the band’s performance with the orchestral section. Among a number of placards featuring the word “love” translated into a variety of languages, a sign was held up during the clip with the words “Come Back Milly” – a plea to an aunt of McCartney’s who was then in Australia visiting her son and grandchildren.

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. 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 1995 documentary The Beatles Anthology. The colour version is also included in the Beatles’ 2015 video compilation 1.

Release

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.

All You Need Is Love” was also included on the American LP version of Magical Mystery Tour in November 1967, as well as in the film, and on the LP Yellow Submarine, released in 1969. This song is also featured in Cirque du Soleil’s show Love, based on the songs of the Beatles.

Paul McCartney in "Many Years From Now", by Barry Miles:

All You Need Is Love was John’s song. I threw in a few ideas, as did the other members of the group, but it was largely ad libs like singing She Loves You or Greensleeves or silly things at the end and we made those up on the spot.

The chorus, ‘All you need is love’, is simple, but the verse is quite complex; in fact I never really understood it, the message is rather complex. It was a good song that we had handy that had an anthemic chorus.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 26 Jun 1967.
    UK: Parlophone single R5620 1967.
    US: Capitol 5964 single 1967, Capitol MAL 2835 Magical Mystery Tour 1967.
    CD: EMI single 1989.
  • [a1] mock stereo made from [a] 1967, by Capitol.
    US: Capitol SMAL 2835 Magical Mystery Tour 1967.
  • [b] stereo 29 Oct 1968.
    UK: Apple PCS 7070 Yellow Submarine 1969, Apple PCSP 718 The Beatles 1967-1970 1973.
    US: Apple SW 153 Yellow Submarine 1969, Apple SKBO-3404 The Beatles 1967-1970 1973.
    CD: EMI CDP 7 48062 2 Magical Mystery Tour 1987, EMI CDP 7 46445 2 Yellow Submarine 1987, EMI CDP 7 97039 2 The Beatles 1967-1970 1993.
  • [b1] mono made from [b] 1968.
    UK: Apple PMC 7070 Yellow Submarine 1969.

In the intro, the mono version [a] has more horns but less drums, and the piano heard in stereo [b] is not audible. In the guitar solo, the lead guitar is louder in mono [a] and has more flanging, but ends by being cut off awkwardly, while in stereo [b] it fades down but can still be heard during the brass section. The mono version [a] has a longer fade by 10 seconds so that Greensleeves is heard twice. In stereo [b] a voice says “Check!” 25 seconds in.

A new mono mix made 1 November 1967 was used for original film prints of Yellow Submarine.

The live television broadcast on June 25, which has been bootlegged, has a tambourine instead of a drumroll at the opening, and a different lead vocal, and additionally parts of the backing tracks were heard before the performance.

Last updated on November 30th, 2016

Lyrics

(Love, love, love)
(Love, love, love)
(Love, love, love)

There's nothing you can do that can't be done
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy

There's nothing you can make that can't be made
No one you can save that can't be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn to be you in time
It's easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

(Love, love, love)
(Love, love, love)
(Love, love, love)

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

There's nothing you can know that isn't known
Nothing you can see that isn't shown
There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be
It's easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

All you need is love, all together now
All you need is love, everybody
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Love is all you need
Love is all you need
Love is all you need

Officially appears on


Magical Mystery Tour (Stereo)

Official album

3:50 • Studio versionA1 • Mock stereo made from [A]

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Double bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Banjo, Harpsichord, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Violin, Vocals
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Eric Clapton:
Chorus
Sidney Sax:
Violin
Pattie Harrison:
Chorus
Marianne Faithfull:
Chorus
David Mason:
Trumpet
Lionel Ross:
Cello
Eddie Kramer:
Engineer
Mick Jagger:
Chorus
Patrick Halling:
Violin
Eric Bowie:
Violin
John Ronayne:
Violin
Jack Holmes:
Cello
Rex Morris:
Tenor saxophone
Don Honeywill:
Tenor saxophone
Stanley Woods:
Trumpet
Evan Watkins:
Trombone
Harry Spain:
Trombone
Jack Emblow:
Accordion
Keith Richards:
Chorus
Jane Asher:
Chorus
Mike McCartney:
Chorus
Graham Nash:
Chorus
Keith Moon:
Chorus
Hunter Davies:
Chorus
Gary Leeds:
Chorus
Mike Vickers:
Conductor

Session Recording:
Jun 14, 1967
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Overdubs:
19, 23, 24, 25, 26 Jun 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Jun 26, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Magical Mystery Tour (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1967

3:50 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Double bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Banjo, Harpsichord, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Violin, Vocals
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Eric Clapton:
Chorus
Sidney Sax:
Violin
Pattie Harrison:
Chorus
Marianne Faithfull:
Chorus
David Mason:
Trumpet
Lionel Ross:
Cello
Eddie Kramer:
Engineer
Mick Jagger:
Chorus
Patrick Halling:
Violin
Eric Bowie:
Violin
John Ronayne:
Violin
Jack Holmes:
Cello
Rex Morris:
Tenor saxophone
Don Honeywill:
Tenor saxophone
Stanley Woods:
Trumpet
Evan Watkins:
Trombone
Harry Spain:
Trombone
Jack Emblow:
Accordion
Keith Richards:
Chorus
Jane Asher:
Chorus
Mike McCartney:
Chorus
Graham Nash:
Chorus
Keith Moon:
Chorus
Hunter Davies:
Chorus
Gary Leeds:
Chorus
Mike Vickers:
Conductor

Session Recording:
Jun 14, 1967
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Overdubs:
19, 23, 24, 25, 26 Jun 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Jun 26, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


All You Need Is Love / Baby You're A Rich Man

7" Single • Released in 1967

4:02 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Double bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Banjo, Harpsichord, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Violin, Vocals
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Eric Clapton:
Chorus
Sidney Sax:
Violin
Pattie Harrison:
Chorus
Marianne Faithfull:
Chorus
David Mason:
Trumpet
Lionel Ross:
Cello
Eddie Kramer:
Engineer
Mick Jagger:
Chorus
Patrick Halling:
Violin
Eric Bowie:
Violin
John Ronayne:
Violin
Jack Holmes:
Cello
Rex Morris:
Tenor saxophone
Don Honeywill:
Tenor saxophone
Stanley Woods:
Trumpet
Evan Watkins:
Trombone
Harry Spain:
Trombone
Jack Emblow:
Accordion
Keith Richards:
Chorus
Jane Asher:
Chorus
Mike McCartney:
Chorus
Graham Nash:
Chorus
Keith Moon:
Chorus
Hunter Davies:
Chorus
Gary Leeds:
Chorus
Mike Vickers:
Conductor

Session Recording:
Jun 14, 1967
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Overdubs:
19, 23, 24, 25, 26 Jun 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Jun 26, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Yellow Submarine (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1969

3:51 • Studio versionB1 • Mono • Mono made from [B]

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Double bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Banjo, Harpsichord, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Violin, Vocals
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Eric Clapton:
Chorus
Sidney Sax:
Violin
Pattie Harrison:
Chorus
Marianne Faithfull:
Chorus
David Mason:
Trumpet
Lionel Ross:
Cello
Eddie Kramer:
Engineer
Mick Jagger:
Chorus
Patrick Halling:
Violin
Eric Bowie:
Violin
John Ronayne:
Violin
Jack Holmes:
Cello
Rex Morris:
Tenor saxophone
Don Honeywill:
Tenor saxophone
Stanley Woods:
Trumpet
Evan Watkins:
Trombone
Harry Spain:
Trombone
Jack Emblow:
Accordion
Keith Richards:
Chorus
Jane Asher:
Chorus
Mike McCartney:
Chorus
Graham Nash:
Chorus
Keith Moon:
Chorus
Hunter Davies:
Chorus
Gary Leeds:
Chorus
Mike Vickers:
Conductor

Session Recording:
Jun 14, 1967
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Overdubs:
19, 23, 24, 25, 26 Jun 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 29, 1968
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road


Yellow Submarine (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1969

3:51 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Double bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Banjo, Harpsichord, Vocals
George Harrison:
Guitar, Violin, Vocals
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Eric Clapton:
Chorus
Sidney Sax:
Violin
Pattie Harrison:
Chorus
Marianne Faithfull:
Chorus
David Mason:
Trumpet
Lionel Ross:
Cello
Eddie Kramer:
Engineer
Mick Jagger:
Chorus
Patrick Halling:
Violin
Eric Bowie:
Violin
John Ronayne:
Violin
Jack Holmes:
Cello
Rex Morris:
Tenor saxophone
Don Honeywill:
Tenor saxophone
Stanley Woods:
Trumpet
Evan Watkins:
Trombone
Harry Spain:
Trombone
Jack Emblow:
Accordion
Keith Richards:
Chorus
Jane Asher:
Chorus
Mike McCartney:
Chorus
Graham Nash:
Chorus
Keith Moon:
Chorus
Hunter Davies:
Chorus
Gary Leeds:
Chorus
Mike Vickers:
Conductor

Session Recording:
Jun 14, 1967
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Overdubs:
19, 23, 24, 25, 26 Jun 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 29, 1968
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road


Yellow Submarine Songtrack

Official album • Released in 1999

3:57 • Studio version


1

Official album • Released in 2000

3:46 • Studio version



Love

Official album • Released in 2006

3:39 • Studio versionC • This track is mostly unchanged until the fade out which contains vocals from "Baby, You're a Rich Man", "Rain", "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and the guitar riff from "Ticket To Ride". The track ends with orchestration from "Goodnight" and the sign off from The Beatles Third Christmas Record.

George Martin:
Producer
Giles Martin:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Remix engineer
Sam Okell:
Remix engineer assistant
Chris Bolster:
Remix engineer assistant
Mirek Stiles:
Remix engineer assistant

Session Mixing:
Circa 2004-2006
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


On The Run - Bologna, Italy - November 27, 2011

Unofficial live

0:00 • Live



Magical Mystery Tour Sessions

Unofficial album

0:28 • Alternate take • Unknown take partial V1 DVD mix stereo


Magical Mystery Tour Sessions

Unofficial album

0:28 • Alternate take • Unknown take partial V2 Video mix mono


Magical Mystery Tour Sessions

Unofficial album

2:26 • Alternate take • Rehearsal mono


Live performances

“All You Need Is Love” has been played in 16 concerts.

Latest concerts where “All You Need Is Love” has been played


Quito • Estadio de Liga

Apr 28, 2014 • Part of Out There Tour


Antwerp • Sportpaleis

Mar 28, 2012 • Part of On The Run Tour


Zurich • Hallenstadion

Mar 26, 2012 • Part of On The Run Tour




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[…] of the population is convinced of this lie (which, if anything, is a testament to how John Lennon intended the song to be written as propaganda), and now we live in a time where virtually any debate can be whittled down to “love vs. […]