Monday, 31 October 2016

Book review: All You Need Is Love

The LP sized book comes in an outer slipcase.
"All You Need Is Love" by Paul Skellett & Simon Weitzman is one of the new books released by UK based Archivum Publishing. Money to publish the book comes from crowd funding through Pledge Music and The Fest for Beatles Fans. The book is 180 pages and looks like a happening, thanks to a modern, collage-like layout. It features essays on the June 25, 1967 Our World satellite telecast, quotes from The Beatles themselves and a few insiders like engineer Geoff Emerick and producer George Martin, courtesy of old interviews and books, the creation and recording of "All You Need Is Love" and a little bit about the B-side of the single, "Baby, You're A Rich Man".

John and Paul with manager Brian Epstein.

Sprinkled throughout the book are a lot of photos from the recording session, the live event and the previous day's balloon promotions inside EMI studios (and at the back outside the no. 1 studio). Also featured are lots of "All You Need Is Love" front covers from singles released around the world, blown up to 12" size.

International front covers of the "All You Need Is Love" single.
Although fairly good at describing the circumstances under which the Our World TV special came about, as well as the technical intricacies of the recording of the main song itself (which initially had George Harrison playing the violin and Paul McCartney on double bass!), the text still falls a little short and is still not the final word on the live event. For instance, we do get a photo of Paul painting the "Come back Millie" sign, as well as glimpses of the sign in photos from the broadcast, but the text fails to explain the background story.

Paul, painting a sign which was an inside joke in the McCartney family.
Still, the book is a nice trip back to the days when The Beatles ruled the world. And yet, they didn't. The book also examines how "the straights" reacted to the fact that Great Britain and the BBC's contribution to the first global TV broadcast was this pop group. It's revealed that the countries in the "Eastern bloc" at the time, with the Soviet Union at the helm, all decided to withdraw their participation in the broadcast after all, after finding out that The Beatles were participants. They were probably afraid that The Beatles' music could corrupt their youth. Which they probably did anyway. Of course, in hindsight, The Beatles contribution is the only significant thing that makes us all still remember the "Our World" TV-show.

Colour photos from the broadcast and rehearsal was used as a guide to colourise the clip in the 90's.
The Our World TV special was shot and televised in black and white, and the Beatles' performance of "All You Need Is Love" was colourised in the nineties for the Beatles' documentary TV series "The Beatles' Anthology". In 2015, the full colourised clip was used as a promotional music video in the DVD and Blu-ray release of The Beatles 1.

Archivum Publishing
Paul Skellett

In 1997, Tracks released their book on the subject, 'All You Need is Love': "Beatles" Dress Rehearsal, which featured lots of colour and black and white photos and an essay from Steve Turner. It's still available here and there.


Unknown said...

Hi This books looks great and i might be interested if not for the fact that i'm still waiting for another Paul Skellet book "Eight Arms To Hold You". I pre ordered it on Amazon in July 2015 and have seen only updates on when it will be released. Initially it was slated for Nov. 2015 now it looks like March 2017. I've written to both authors (i forgot the other authors'name) with no reply. I was just wondering what is holding this book up. I'd love the "All You Need Is Love" book as well. Does anyone have any info on the "Eight Arms ...." book?
k you

Maxwell Edison said...

A friend of mine has this book and although it has some great and unseen photos they are ruined somewhat in that the book's layout is similar to the Anthology book where many of the photos are overlaid with unnecessary captions and artwork. I would have liked the photos to be presented on their own. A minor niggle to some but it is frustrating.

Geert De Wilde said...

It certainly isn't worth its money. In fact, it's the sort f thing one would expect to pick up for about £12.00 in The Works. Certainly not the high quality luxury item it claims to be. Flimsy case and average paper/printing quality. Most of the time, the text reads as if it's simply filling space ... So, I wouldn't recommend it.