In 1967 The Beatles were asked to represent England on the Our World broadcast, the first global satellite link-up in television history. They decided to invite the cameras into the studio to show The Beatles recording a song. The song they chose for the broadcast was “All You Need Is Love,” soon to be their next Number One hit.
Now, there are two conflicting stories about how this song was written. One story suggests that John Lennon wrote the song at the last minute, under pressure to write something, anything for the show. The other, less dramatic story is that John already had “All You Need Is Love” written, and it just happened to be the song they were working on at the time (more likely, since their recording session logs show that they worked on it for days leading up to the broadcast -hardly a last minute affair).
But the song itself, despite its Summer-of-67 innocence and optimism, is a most interesting piece of music indeed. Other songs are woven throughout the piece, “Le Marseillaise,” “Greensleeves,” “In The Mood,” and most interestingly, “She Loves You.” Singing “She Loves You” in the fadeout was Paul’s idea, as he tells it, thought up on the spot. It is interesting to note that in the footage below, John can be seen singing “She Loves You” moments before the tape started rolling. But could that have been the first example of a primitive mash-up of sorts? We certainly can not think of a rock song prior to that one that featured a snippet of another song in quite that manner.
Or can we? Only a few weeks before “All You Need Is Love” was recorded, The Beatles were recording tracks that they would not use on their next album, but would eventually wind up on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack almost two years later. One of them was an underrated George Harrison song called “It’s All Too Much.” In the long fadeout George Harrison can be heard singing a line from a 1966 song, “Sorrow” by their friends The Merseys. So while Paul’s idea to sing “She Loves You” in “All You Need Is Love” is certainly charming and fitting, the idea of inserting a line from an older song had already been thought of only weeks before, by George Harrison.