For the live performance, which took place at 9.36pm GMT, The Beatles played along to their pre-recorded backing track. The vocals, bass guitar, guitar solo, drums and 13-piece orchestra were live. To reduce the chances of on-air errors, the event was carefully arranged, although care was taken to make it seem spontaneous.
The live sequence began with reporter Steve Race introducing the group as the backing track played. The director Derek Burrell-Davis then cut to the studio control room, from where George Martin announced that the orchestra should be brought in.
The Beatles then performed ‘All You Need Is Love’, seated – apart from Ringo Starr on high stools, and surrounded by various friends including Mick Jagger, Keith Richard, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Moon, Eric Clapton, Pattie Harrison, Jane Asher, Graham Nash and Hunter Davies. All were dressed in colourful clothes, and were surrounded by flowers, balloons and placards.
The musicians were: Sidney Sax, Patrick Halling, Eric Bowie and Jack Holmes (violin); Rex Morris and Don Honeywill (tenor saxophone); Evan Watkins and Harry Spain (trombone); Jack Emblow (accordion); and Stanley Woods and David Mason (trumpet). Stanley Woods also played flügelhorn on the recording.
After the broadcast ended and the studio guests had left, John Lennon re-recorded some of his vocal parts. The session ended at 1am the following morning.
‘All You Need Is Love’ was mixed on 26 June 1967, after Ringo Starr had added a drum roll to the introduction. The single was rush-released on 7 July with ‘Baby You’re A Rich Man’ as the b-side.
Also on this day...
- 2022: Paul McCartney live: Glastonbury Festival
- 2015: Paul McCartney live: Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, South Carolina
- 2014: Ringo Starr live: Turning Stone Casino, Verona, New York
- 2013: Paul McCartney live: Arena di Verona, Verona, Italy
- 1968: Mixing, editing: Revolution 1, Revolution 9
- 1968: George Harrison produces Jackie Lomax’s Sour Milk Sea
- 1968: Paul McCartney flies from New York to London
- 1966: Live: Grugahalle, Essen, Germany
- 1964: Live: Town Hall, Auckland, New Zealand
- 1963: Live: Astoria Ballroom, Middlesbrough
- 1962: Live: Plaza Ballroom, St Helens
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1961: Live: Top Ten Club, Hamburg
- 1960: Live: Grosvenor Ballroom, Wallasey
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
‘All you need is Love’ was broadcast from Olympic Sudios, Church Road, Barnes SW13, not Abbey Road. There is also a myth going around that the anthology version was colourised. This would have been and to this day would have been an incredibly expensive process, even harder to do in 1994. The BBC had colour video capability in the summer of 1967 and it is much more probable that a colour tape was recorded on the day.