“All You Need Is Love” is a song by the Beatles that was released as a non-album single in July 1967. It was written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. The Beatles performed the song as Britain’s contribution to Our World, the first live global television link. Watched by over 400 million in 25 countries, the program was broadcast via satellite on 25 June 1967.
The Beatles were asked to come up with a song with a message understood by everyone. “It was an inspired song and they really wanted to give the world a message”, said Brian Epstein. “The nice thing about it is that it cannot be misinterpreted. It is a clear message saying that love is everything.” According to journalist Jade Wright, “Lennon was fascinated by the power of slogans to unite people and never afraid to create art out of propaganda. When asked in 1971 whether songs like “Give Peace a Chance” and “Power to the People” were propaganda songs, he answered: ‘Sure. So was All You Need Is Love. I’m a revolutionary artist. My art is dedicated to change.'”
The band started work on recording the song on 14 June 1967, with Lennon playing harpsichord, Paul McCartney on double bass, George Harrison on violin (an instrument he had never previously played), and Ringo Starr on drums. They recorded 33 takes, choosing the tenth take as the best. Over the following days they recorded overdubs including vocals, piano (played by their producer, George Martin), banjo (by Lennon), guitar and orchestral parts.
The interviews on The Beatles Anthology documentary series reveal that McCartney and Harrison were unsure whether “All You Need Is Love” was written for Our World, while Starr and Martin assert that it was. When asked, McCartney replied: “I don’t think it was written specially for it. But it was one of the songs we had. … It was certainly tailored to [the broadcast] once we had it. But I’ve got a feeling it was just one of John’s songs that was coming there.”