The Beatles Top TV Moments: 4. ‘All You Need Is Love’
Hey there, The Beatles fans! Join us in our 10-day countdown to the premiere of The Beatles: Get Back on Disney+, sizing up the 10 greatest TV moments in the long and winding history of the lads from Liverpool.
This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s The Beatles on TV Special Collector’s Edition, available for order online now at BeatlesonTV.com and for purchase on newsstands nationwide.
4. “All You Need Is Love”
Our World Broadcast
Seen globally on June 25, 1967
The Big Picture
For their last live TV performance, the Beatles delivered an enduring message from the Summer of Love.
Behind the Scenes
Our World was the first international TV show broadcast live via satellite. Artists from 19 nations were invited to appear on separate segments, like a global broadcast version of the Olympics. (In another parallel, five countries, including the Soviet Union, withdrew to protest the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War.)
For the U.K.’s contribution, the Beatles were asked to provide a song with universal meaning. They were then in the studio to record Yellow Submarine, the soundtrack for the animated film, and John Lennon wrote “All You Need Is Love” as a stand-alone contribution to close the show.
For the live studio performance, the band brought in a 13-piece orchestra and festooned the set with bright colors and flowers. The Beatles (in psychedelic outfits) and orchestra (in tuxedoes) performed their parts live; a mix of friends including Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, and Marianne Faithfull sat in and joined for the chorus.
The scale of the event was big even for the Beatles, as an estimated 400 million people on five continents tuned in. The single was released two weeks later and sailed to No. 1 around the world, in the U.S. knocking off the Doors’ “Light My Fire.” It was eventually included in the album Magical Mystery Tour.
Ringo Starr reflected on the band’s substantial flower power in the 1995 Beatles Anthology documentary: “We were big enough to command an audience of that size, and it was for love and bloody peace. It was a fabulous time.” John Lennon became one of the leading luminaries of the peace movement, a role he would magnify with his and Yoko Ono’s Bed-Ins for Peace and hits “Imagine” and “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).”
The “All You Need Is Love” performance was colorized and included in Anthology. In 1984, Bob Geldof cowrote the Band Aid charity song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” in the spirit of the song. Elvis Costello’s performance of “All You Need Is Love” at Live Aid in 1985 was seen by an estimated 1.9 billion people on TV. But during Vietnam, the song was the ultimate statement that, if you want it, there’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.
Since 2009, the world has celebrated Global Beatles Day on June 25 to honor this event.
Why It Ranks
Beatles manager Brian Epstein called this the band’s “finest” moment.
See It Today
The Beatles: Get Back, Documentary Premiere, November 25–27, Disney+