*4.23-ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE (Beatles)




Love, Love, Love. (3x)

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.

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 how 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.



Nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
It's easy.

     [Chorus (2x)]

     Love is all you need. (24x)


In the memories of most who experienced the psychedelic movement in music, whether or not they participated in the drug culture, All You Need is Love is the essential song of the period. Its release was a dramatic event. The Beatles introduced this song by performing it on Our World, the first live global television link. Broadcast to 26 countries and watched by 400 million viewers, the program was broadcast via satellite on June 25, 1967. The event celebrated advances in the technology of space engineering and in music. When, in the coda, Paul McCartney sings She Loves You, the audience at the time was tremendously aware of how far the group and its audience had come in less than four years. It was not advances in their fame or their fortune that were being celebrated, but advances in art. I believe the Beatles dropped Yesterday into the coda for a similar purpose, to designate the song by which critics first regarded the Beatles as serious artists, and not merely entertainers. The Beatles had come a long way even since Yesterday, which was released back in Fall of 1965.

By this time in their careers, George Harrison and John Lennon both were trying to use their public influence for the good of humanity. Harrison felt he had a religious message, and Lennon, a philosophical one. They had learned it is difficult to preach. Harrison added laughter and guffaws at the end of his Within You and Without You to lighten up. John Lennon took a bouncy and skipping beat, an orchestra playing a Salvation Army tune, simple lyrics (easily translated to 26 countries), and added a few nonsensical Lewis Carroll’s logic twisters to bring humor. He sang in double negatives he hoped would promote a positive. He could also switch the subject and object around and mean the same thing. All You Need is Love / Love is All You Need. This was Lennon’s first chart topping message song, addressed directly to his audience (though precursors had been The Word, Rain, and Tomorrow Never Knows). John Lennon would find he had a talent for simple sloganeering music that he would develop further in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Ringo Starr in the Beatles Bible: “We were big enough to command an audience of that size, and it was for love. It was for love and bloody peace. It was a fabulous time. I even get excited now when I realize that's what it was for: peace and love, people putting flowers in guns.”

From Nick Bromell’s Tomorrow Never Knows, p. 110: “When the Beatles sang that “love is all there is”, they did not mean that love is here now, within our grasp, the solution to all problems. Rather, as Richard Poirier observed back in 1967, they were acknowledging that “love remains the great unfulfilled need, and the historical evidence of this is endless musical compositions about it.” [Learning from the Beatles in The Age of Rock: Sounds of American Cultural Revolution 1969, p. 171]

Someone on Wikipedia was kind enough to contribute these details about the series of musical quotations that are woven through All You Need is Love: “Because of the worldwide broadcast, the song was given an international feel, opening with the French anthem La Marseillaise, and including excerpts of other pieces during the long fade-out, including 2-part Invention #8 in F by Johann Sebastian Bach (transposed to G and played on 2 piccolo trumpets), Greensleeves (played by the strings), Glenn Miller's In the Mood (played on a saxophone), and Jeremiah Clarke's Prince of Denmark's March lilting off at the end.”

I also appreciated this analysis in Wikipedia: “The structure of the song is complex. The main body (the verse) is in a 7/4 time signature with two measures of 7/4, one of 8/4, then back to 7/4 with the intro background vocals repeatedly singing Love, love, love, over the top of which enter Lennon's lyrics. By contrast, the chorus is simple: All you need is love, in 4/4 time repeated against the horn response but, each chorus has only seven measures as opposed to the usual eight, and the seventh is 6/4, then back to the verse in 7/4...All You Need Is Love remains one of only two songs (along with Pink Floyd's Money from 1973) written in 7/4 time to reach the top 20 in the United States.”

What remains to be said about the music structure is the two dozen or more times that Love is all you need is sung (and echoed) in the coda. At this point such repetitions were a novel way of extending the length of a record, and it seemed to make the song long. Looking back, this side of Hey Jude and many other songs lengthened by repetition of the chorus, it doesn’t seem very long, only an additional minute. In the case of All You Need is Love there’s a lot of variation of sounds and songs weaving through the coda to make the repetition interesting. Such attention to detail, even in the Beatles, would be rare in extended choruses to come.