With the decision having been made to release “All You Need Is Love” as a single, it was now necessary to turn yesterday’s raw recordings into a finished track. According to Geoff Emerick,

In this day and age when recordings of live gigs are often tweaked up in the studio afterward to the point where hardly any of the actual performance remains, it might seem unbelievable, but it’s the truth: the only things that were replaced on “All You Need Is Love” for the record release were the snare roll at the beginning, and two lines of the lead vocal.

Other sources say that John rerecorded the entire lead vocal, but I’m going to assume that Emerick knows what he’s talking about. It does seem pretty clear that the vocal was manipulated with artificial double tracking, and George’s guitar solo was dressed up with a little “wobble.”

After that, the song was mixed, “Baby You’re a Rich Man” was selected as the B-side, and hey presto — the single would be in shops in less than two weeks.

The historical verdict on “All You Need Is Love” is mixed, with some finding it overly simplistic, both lyrically and musically. I’m inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt, considering the context in which it was written. The summer of 67 was the right time and place for a moment of wide-eyed innocence and utopian optimism; reality would come crashing in soon enough.

And besides which, even 50 years later, if you can hold the thought that love is all we need in your head for a minute — or even better, for three minutes and fifty-seven seconds — maybe for that period of time you can believe it, and where’s the harm in that?

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