First Hit #1: August 19, 1967
In all honesty, as Beatles songs go, All You Need Is Love is probably the one I like the least. The cheap, catch-all slogan is kind of lazy, to be honest, and doesn’t really mean anything the more you analyze it. The fascination with circuses that Lennon clearly had in this period – more evident in Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite, but it shows up here as well – was never something I could share either. I understand why the song is how it is, it was first performed on the Our World global link, where a simple idea like love being all you need could translate and fit with the themes of the broadcast. It’s not a bad song musically either, being a complex multi-layered production by a band that was getting wildly ambitious in the studio and mostly successful in their experiments. But I’ve always found it to be a fairly cheap song, one people can identify with but one that doesn’t actually say anything of consequence, with lyrics that can easily be printed on a poster with generic happy imagery to hang in a depressing office. I hate to say it, but that’s just how it is to me. They might sing all you need is love, but that’s a pretty simplistic sentiment, and clearly you need a lot more than that.