all you need is love -- 1/21/22

Today's selection -- from The Last Days of John Lennon by James Patterson. In 1967, the Beatles performed a new song called “All You Need Is Love” live on television. Four hundred million people viewed the broadcast:
"The band’s next [1967] project will premiere not on an album (though the band recorded the title track of their upcoming Magical Mystery Tour in April) but on the Our World television program.

"‘It will be the first worldwide satellite broadcast ever,’ Ringo tells the others.

"The air date is June 25, 1967.

"‘Oh, God, is that close?’ John says, ‘I supposed we’d better write something.’

"John and Paul each scramble to write a song for the global broadcast. Paul comes up with ‘Your Mother Should Know.’ John presents ‘All You Need ls Love.’ John wins.

US picture sleeve

"Engineer Geoff Emerick is struck by the sharp contrast between the way Paul and John work yet how easily the two musicians seem able to write together. ‘Paul was meticulous and organized: he always carried a notebook around with him, in which he methodically wrote down lyrics and chord changes in his neat handwriting. In contrast, John seemed to live in chaos: he was constantly searching for scraps of paper that he'd hurriedly scribbled ideas on. Paul was a natural communicator; John couldn't articulate his ideas well. Paul was the diplomat; John was the agitator. Paul was soft-spoken and almost unfail­ingly polite; John could be a right loudmouth and quite rude. Paul was willing to put in long hours to get a part right; John was impatient, always ready to move on to the next thing.’

"On June 14, in Studio Two, the band does thirty-three takes of John’s new song. ‘Keep it simple so viewers across the globe will understand,’ the television producers have instructed.

"John delivers. He’s written the anthem of the season, soon to be known as the Summer of Love, declaring -- against the backdrop of the conflict raging in Vietnam and the aftermath of the Six-Day War smoldering in the Middle East -- ‘All You Need Is Love.’

"‘Well, it's certainly repetitive, George complains to Paul in rehearsal of the multiple choruses replicating the title of the song.
On June 25, 1967, John perches on a high stool, and with a little help from his friends in an all-star chorus, including the Rolling Stones, Marianne Faithfull, and Eric Clapton, begins to sing to four hundred million watchers and is anointed a pop-cultural prophet for peace.

"One person who isn't witnessing it in person: Brian Epstein. That same evening, he is descending further into the depths of alcohol and amphetamine addiction. Though Epstein was recently treated and released from a clinic -- where John sent an extravagant bouquet with a card reading You know I love you ... I really mean that -- the Beatles' management contract with him is set for renewal in a few months' time, on September 30, 1967. The band's drastic change in focus from touring to studio is certain to change the financial terms, and not in Brian's favor.

"And it's not a good omen that the man who ushered the Beatles to stardom is currently too addled to attend the live broadcast of ‘All You Need Is Love.’"



James Patterson


The Last Days of John Lennon


Little, Brown and Company


Copyright 2020 by James Petterson


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