All You Need Is Love
All You Need is Love is a John Lennon composition, written "to spec" for the BBC for its part in "Our World," a live television hookup with many different performers, witnessed and heard by over 400 million people in 26 countries, on June 25, 1967. The requirement was for a simple message that could easily be understood, literally, by everyone in the world. Lennon built on the idea he first articulated in The Word (released on Rubber Soul, 1965). For the live performance, the Beatles were seated with friends all around, and they joined in for the chorus. Among them were Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Keith Moon, Eric Clapton and Graham Nash.
Lennon was proud of his achievement, rightly believing that he was "selling" an idea of peace and love worldwide. During this time, he regarded himself as "a revolutionary writer" who was searching to create political change through art. Other examples are Give Peace a Chance and Power to the People. On July 7, Just two weeks after the broadcast, the Beatles released the song as a single, and it shot up to number 1, both in the US and UK. Shortly after the single release in the UK, on August 27, 1967, Beatles Manager Brian Epstein died. This was the last song released on his watch.
All You Need Is Love was purposefully arranged for an international audience, opening as it does with a reference to La Marseillaise and continuing with samples from a Bach invention, Greensleeves, In the Mood (Glenn Miller), the Prince of Denmark's March (Jeremiah Clarke), and past Beatles successes (such as She Loves You), Understandably, the song structure is more complex than its simple lyrical premise. Though the chorus is straightforward and singable (6 measures in 4/4 and one in 6/4), the verse is in 7/4 time with an 8/4 measure thrown in. Background vocals chant "Love, Love, Love" behind the lyrics sung by Lennon. All You Need is Love was featured in the 1968 animated feature, Yellow Submarine, with minor changes and no second verse. Curiously, the song features Lennon on banjo and harpsichord, McCartney on bass and double bass, Harrison on lead guitar and violin, and Ringo on drums, as usual.
In his 1981 post-assassination tribute to John, Harrison wrote All Those Years Ago, inserting the line: "But you point the way to the truth when you say all you need is love."