Lennon calling Planet Earth live! Are you receiving?

 

Planet Earth, this is John Lennon, can you hear me? This is the next Beatles single and my first international anthem.

“I’m a revolutionary artist. My art is dedicated to change.” John Lennon June 1967

For the first time in human history people all over the planet Earth are watching the same television programme; aptly entertained with John’s first international propaganda anthem.

The live rendition of All You Need is Love is watched by 400 million people in 26 countries around the world as part of the Our World programme.

Lennon likened it to a propaganda advert: “I’m a revolutionary artist. My art is dedicated to change,” he said. John later reveals the simple, compelling lyric is copied the style of TV and advertising slogans.

It is to prove a rich source of creativity and connection for John and this songwriting technique would contribute to some of his most well-remembered solo works: simple lyrics, an unambiguous and universal message with a singalong quality for the masses.

Indeed, the irony is that this explicitly non-political platform, was integral to Lennon’s apparition of how music, media and influence combined. Crucially, he was soon to discover both sides of the cultural equation and how he could use it for the greater good. .

It was especially commissioned as non-political John’s composition All You Need is Love, is performed exclusively live live to the world’s first-ever global satellite broadcast.

In a live international link-up for a linked global television audience. It is watched by 400 million people in 26 countries around the world as part of the Our World programme.

Lennon likened it to a propaganda advert: “I’m a revolutionary artist. My art is dedicated to change,” he said. John later admitted the simple chorus copied the style of TV and advertising slogans.

It was to prove a rich source of creativity for John and the method would contribute to some of his most well-remembered solo works: simple lyrics, an unambiguous and universal message with a singalong quality for the masses.

The non-album single was released on 25 June 1967 at the height of the Beatles popularity following on from the Sgt Peppers concept album.

Its release was held back by Brian Epstein to ensure it could be first performed the Beatles and heard exclusively on the Our World global link broadcast.

The broadcast consisted of live, non-political contributions from 19 participating countries. The BBC commissioned the Beatles to sing All you Need is Love for its contribution.

The global show was the brainchild of a BBC Science boss, Aubrey Singer. In the middle of the space race and Cold War, it represented a technological breakthrough with three satellites simultaneously relaying feeds to each continent and both hemispheres on the planet.

The ground-breaking feat took over 10,000 engineers to bring the live event to television screens in every corner of the globe.

The international programme-makers decided that no politicians or state leaders would participate.

Instead, all the broadcasting countries would contribute segments on life, culture and science to reflect the activity of ordinary citizens.

Unfortunately, politics intervened when the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries pulled out the week before transmission in a protest over the Six-Day War in the Middle East.

It was a great disappointment to Singer and his colleagues, whose goal was to broadcast to the whole world. The broadcast took place at the height of the Vietnam War.

The Beatles had been asked to write a song with a positive message and John certainly found his niche. Although the program was originally recorded and transmitted in black-and-white, for its inclusion in the 1995 TV special The Beatles Anthology, the Beatles’ performance on the 1967 programme was colourised, using colour photographs taken at the event as a reference.

Although pictures by satellite had been received by the BBC since 1962 from the USA, it was not possible to connect the entire world in a live broadcast by satellite until the end of the 1960s.

The BBC was the first broadcaster to attempt such a programme. Our World consisted of live, non-political contributions from participating countries. The BBC commissioned the Beatles to sing All you Need is Love for its contribution.

Short video showing the scale of the technological breakthrough:

A short history of the vision and the breakthrough as

It’s difficult to convey the technological advance of this to today’s digital natives. The Beatles were chosen as a global musical and cultural phenomenon. John – not Paul – as the songwriter and lyricist for the 1960s generation.

And a year later – as the feel-good 60s evaporated – it was this global tech that allowed a generation, many still struggling to own a television set of their own – for the first time in history, were brutally exposed to a violent world of control, oppression and reaction.

As well as being part of opening Pandoras technological box, the Beatles – John in particular – were also establishing themselves as alternative spokesmen for a new generation in a new world.

Watch the full broadcast below but copyright restrictions mean it does not contain the Beatles segment.

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