With a little help from some friends, The Beatles changed the face of popular music almost single-handedly throughout the 1960s. They began this mission as the four well-dressed Teddy Boys from Liverpool who wrote primarily of love and ended it looking like the cast of the live-action Scooby-Doo banging on about yellow submarines, meter maids, walruses, apemen, tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
While their material spanned a much wider variety of weird and wonderful subjects in the latter stages of the band’s creative journey, they still regularly found time for love. Possibly The Beatles’ most instantly recognisable love song is 1967’s ‘All You Need is Love’. Despite being credited to the Lennon-McCartney partnership, the track was written by John Lennon and included in the Magical Mystery Tour film soundtrack.
In the success of The Beatles’ quintessential psychedelic release, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, they had found yet another winning formula. Riding the hippie wave, the famous foursome tapped into the burgeoning “flower power” movement. After conjuring up a catchy motif like ‘All You Need Is Love’, Lennon and the group knew they were onto something seismic.
Naturally, the song was a huge hit and struck the ceiling of most singles charts across the globe. To this day, it remains one of the band’s most beloved tracks and observed something of a resurgence since its cinematic cover in Richard Curtis’ 2003 blockbusting rom-com, Love Actually.
Lennon’s lyrics were given due attention by the rest of the group and their producer, George Martin, who knew it would be an instant hit. To give the song its best possible delivery, they decided to showcase the single in a TV broadcast on Our World.
In the TV broadcast, the group are surrounded by an orchestra, friends and family in fittingly colourful outfits and flowers in their hair; indeed, they would have done Scott McKenzie proud. After the orchestra play the song in with a rendition of the French national anthem, the band launch into the anthemic verse. As the song trails out, they are joined by familiar friends, including Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Richards, Keith Moon, Graham Nash, Pattie Boyd, Mike McGear and Jane Asher, for the refrain.
As the song fades out, a mystery voice, which sounds at first like McCartney and then seems to morph into Lennon’s, sings the chorus of the Beatles’ early hit, ‘She Loves You’. The video below explains where this mystery voice came from.