All You Need Is Love

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This article is about the Beatles song. For other uses, see All You Need Is Love (disambiguation).
"All You Need Is Love"
File:All You Need Is Love (Beatles single - cover art).jpg
US picture sleeve
Single by The Beatles
B-side "Baby, You're a Rich Man"
Released 7 July 1967
Format 7"
Recorded 14 and 19–26 June 1967,
Olympic and EMI studios, London
Length 3:57
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin
Certification Gold (RIAA)[2]
The Beatles singles chronology
"Strawberry Fields Forever"/"Penny Lane"
"All You Need Is Love"
"Hello, Goodbye"
Magical Mystery Tour track listing
Alternative cover
1987 20th anniversary re-release
1987 20th anniversary re-release

"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 400 million in 25 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.


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 band started work on recording the song on 14 June 1967, with Lennon playing harpsichord, McCartney on double bass, Harrison on violin (playing the instrument for the first time in his life), and Starr on drums. They recorded 33 takes on the 14th, choosing the tenth take as the best. Over the following days they recorded overdubs including vocals, piano (played by George Martin), banjo (by Lennon), guitar and orchestral parts.[6]

The day before the Our World broadcast, the Beatles decided that the song should be their next single.[6] 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.[7] It was also included on the American LP version of Magical Mystery Tour in November [8] 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."[9]

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/7-vi chord 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.[10]

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.[11] The song is notable for a dramatic use of a dominant or V chord (here D) on "It's easy."[12] 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.[13]

Producer George Martin recalled that "the boys … wanted to freak out at the end, and just go mad".[14] 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",[15] the latter of which Paul sings. The former three pieces had been included in the arrangement by Martin, whilst "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 McCartney is the one that sings "She Loves You" in the studio recording.[6]

Live broadcast

The Our World broadcast cut to Abbey Road studios at 8:54 PM London time, approximately 40 seconds earlier than expected. Producer George 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.[6]

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. Guests included Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Richards, Keith Moon, Graham Nash, Mike McGear, Patti Boyd and Jane Asher.[6]

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 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.[6]

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 - she subsequently returned to the UK. Milly's husband Albert Kendall was later referred to in McCartney's solo single "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey".[6]

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.[16][17] Starr also overdubbed drums before the single was released,[17] 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.[18] The colour version is also included in the Beatles' 2015 video compilation 1.[19]

U.S. chart run

Billboard Hot 100[20] (11 weeks): Reached #1 (1 week), becoming the band's 14th #1 there.

Cashbox[21] (9 weeks): 27, 3, 1, 1, 2, 2, 5, 9, 24


Personnel per Ian MacDonald and The Beatles Bible.[23][24]

Chart performance

Cover versions

Group or artist's name Release date Album title Additional information
The 5th Dimension 1971–10 The 5th Dimension/Live![37]
New Musik 1982 Warp
Echo & the Bunnymen 1984 Seven Seas

"Life at Brian's - Lean and Hungry"

This version is included on the 1988 release New Live and Rare.[38] 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.
Elvis Costello 1985 Costello played the song at Wembley Stadium at the London leg of Live Aid, introducing it as an "old Northern English folk song".[6]
Bajaga i Instruktori 1986 7" single[39]
Eddie Chacon 1987 12" single[40] Columbia 4406930
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[41]
Tom Jones 1993–01 single[42]
Ferrante & Teicher 1993-01-29 The Greatest Love Songs of All[43]
The Undead 1998–07 Till Death[44]
Lynden David Hall 2003-11-11 Love Actually[45]
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[46]
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 Orchestra, Crystal Kay, Tomoyasu Hotei, Kazutoshi Sakurai, Sugizo and Bonnie Pink.[47]
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"
Dave Koz 2015 Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection featuring Eric Benét, Johnny Mathis, Heather Headley, Richard Marx, Jonathan Butler, Maysa, BeBe Winans, Gloria Estefan and Stevie Wonder

Also notable is the use of the song in a February 1, 2015 Super Bowl commercial for Ecuadorian tourism.[48] The song is sung over images of Ecuador and the commercial ends by saying "All you need is Ecuador, Ecuador is all you need" instead.


  1. Unterberger, Richie. "All You Need Is Love". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  2. RIAA 2009.
  3. Lewisohn 1988, p. 116.
  4. Davies, Hunter (1996). The Beatles. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Wright 2009.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Edwards, Gavin (28 August 2014). "The Beatles Make History With 'All You Need Is Love': A Minute-by-Minute Breakdown". Retrieved 27 December 2015. 
  7. "Music Albums, Top 200 Albums & Music Album Charts". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  8. The Beatles Bible 2008.
  9. The Beatles Anthology 1995.
  10. Dominic Pedler. The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Music Sales Limited. Omnibus Press. NY. 2003. p298 and 458
  11. Dominic Pedler. The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Music Sales Limited. Omnibus Press. NY. 2003. p459
  12. Dominic Pedler. The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Music Sales Limited. Omnibus Press. NY. 2003. p9
  13. Dominic Pedler. The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. Music Sales Limited. Omnibus Press. NY. 2003. p720
  14. Gilliland 1969, show 46, track 2.
  15. Alan W. Pollack. "Alan W. Pollack's Notes on "All You Need Is Love"". Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Lewisohn 1988, p. 120.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Unterberger 2006, p. 178.
  18. Sella, Tom (1996). "Anthology Home Video". Beatles Reference Library. Retrieved 27 June 2010. Laserdisc 7, Side 1, Chapter 1 
  19. Rowe, Matt (18 September 2015). "The Beatles 1 To Be Reissued With New Audio Remixes... And Videos". The Morton Report. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  20. Whitburn, Joel (1997). Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles. Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research Inc. p. 39. ISBN 0-89820-122-5. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 Hoffmann, Frank (1983). The Cash Box Singles Charts, 1950-1981. Metuchen, NJ & London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 32. 
  22. "Patrick Halling's Musical Voyage". Retrieved 2014-04-04. 
  24. Ian MacDonald, A Revolution in The Head
  25. "Australia n°1 Hits - 60's". Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  26. " – The Beatles – All You Need Is Love" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  27. " – The Beatles – All You Need Is Love" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  28. "All you need is love in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  29. " – The Beatles – All You Need Is Love". GfK Entertainment.
  30. 30.0 30.1 "All you need is love in Irish Chart". IRMA. Retrieved 5 July 2013.  Only results when searching "All you need is love"
  31. "The best-selling singles of 1967 in Italy". HitParadeItalia (it). Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
    56. All you need is love - The Beatles [#10]
  32. "Nederlandse Top 40 – The Beatles search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  33. " – The Beatles – All You Need Is Love" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  34. " – The Beatles – All You Need Is Love". VG-lista.
  35. 35.0 35.1 "Beatles". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  36. "The Beatles awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  37. Torreano.
  38. Ankeny 2009.
  39. "All You Need Is Love (Verzija 1986)" / "Jahači magle (Ukratko)" at Discogs
  41. Cooper 2009.
  42. BBC Wales 2009.
  43. AOL Music 2009a.
  44. Allmusic 2009.
  45. Phares 2009.
  46. "All You Need is Love" charity single 2009
  47. (Japanese) YMO、小林武史、桜井和寿ら30人がBEATLES名曲カバー.
  48. ✈Visit Ecuador and its Galapagos Islands. (2015, Feb 1) ""Ecuador Super Bowl Ad - All You Need Is Ecuador (Official)"". Retrieved from


External links

Preceded by
"A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum
UK Singles Chart number one single
19 July 1967 (three weeks)
Succeeded by
"San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" by Scott McKenzie
Preceded by
"Light My Fire" by the Doors
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
19 August 1967 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Ode to Billie Joe" by Bobbie Gentry
Preceded by
"A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum
French number one single
22 July 1967 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Adios Amor" by Sheila