Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"All You Need Is Love" - 45 Years Later

It was 45 years ago  yesterday that the Beatles broadcast “All You Need Is Love” for the first time on a show called “Our World.” This was the very first worldwide live satellite television broadcast. There were no politicians allowed on the show, which was broadcast from 19 different countries on 5 continents. It took 10,000 technicians to produce the show using a myriad of satellites, including Intelsat II and an array of ATS-1’s. The only country to pull out of the project, at the last minute, was the Soviet Union, which did so as a protest against the recent Israeli victory during the 6 Day War with Egypt.

At approximately 9:30 PM London time, the Beatles; with a live orchestra and some very prominent guests; began their now iconic anthem. The show was live, and that meant that although it was 9:30 PM in London, it was 4:30 PM in Brooklyn. The show was to be broadcast; in black and white; on Channel 13, part of the National Educational Television group, which eventually became todays Public Broadcasting Service.

400 million people watched this 2 hour event, starring such luminaries as the Beatles in England; Maria Callas broadcasting from Greece; Pablo Picasso coming from Spain; and others. In London, seated on the floor as the Beatles performed were Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Graham Nash and Keith Moon.

There was a portion of the backing track which was pre-recorded, but the band was live, as was the 13 piece orchestra and the Beatle’s vocals. I had to hurry home from whatever I was doing that afternoon after school in order to catch the broadcast.  Since I did see it, I can only assume that I beat the clock. I remember watching it on the television, possibly with my Mom. (Originally, I remembered watching this in the middle of the night, but that is geographically impossible. In addition, further examination has shown me that June 25th, 1967 was a Sunday; so  my recollection of coming home from school is also incorrect!)

The record would not be released until July 7th, some 2 weeks away, after some slight alterations of the original master recording. So, along with the rest of the world, I had never heard this recording before, but even the limited scope of a 13" black and white screen  TV set which only received in mono could not mask the majesty of the song, or the message.  That message still rings today.

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