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The Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show."
“ALL MY LOVING”
(John Lennon – Paul McCartney)
“Nobody ever made it in America, and we were dying to be the first.” This statement by John Lennon in September of 1964 puts in a nutshell how The Beatles felt about conquering America. They had truly taken over Britain and had made inroads in numerous other countries by 1963, but the US was their ultimate goal. They knew, though, that no foreign act had ever made more than a fleeting impact in the states.
Regarding the American charts, Lennon continued, “you get the odd hit from Britain or you get the odd hit from Germany; there’s a lot of freak records.” They knew to be able to have four straight number one hits in America, as they had in Britain in 1963, would be a daunting task indeed. Actually, no foreign act had ever achieved this.
If only they could get US exposure like they were having at home. In Britain, “She Loves You” sold an unprecedented 1.3 million copies and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” sold 1.25 million. BBC radio programs, as well as national television broadcasts, brought The Beatles faces and music into the homes of millions. Would they be able to penetrate the American market in the same way? And if they did, would they just end up a ‘freak’ one-hit-wonder like the other British artists before them, such as Mr. Acker Bilk (“Stranger On The Shore”) or The Tornadoes (“Telstar”)?
Brian Epstein, The Beatles manager, set the groundwork that allowed for the unthinkable to happen. As well as finally convincing Capitol Records to release The Beatles records in the US, he also struck a deal to have his clients appear on the highly influential American variety show “The Ed Sullivan Show.” This show, which officially broke Elvis Presley into the mainstream in October of 1956, had the potential for mass exposure to its’ millions of weekly viewers. Reaching just over a million sales with their singles in Britain was nothing compared with what the “Ed Sullivan Show” could do.
As history testifies, on February 9th, 1964, an estimated 73 million viewers watched this much hyped young Liverpool group perform five songs ‘live’ from CBS-TV Studio 50 in New York City. The final two songs they performed on that day were both sides of their current American number one hit “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” but they needed to decide on a song to put in the start-off position that would make the best first impression. This was a ‘make or break’ decision, because the 73 million curiosity seekers could very well have chosen to turn the channel if they weren’t impressed.
Whether by plan or by sheer luck, they chose to start off their set, as well as the whole show, with a very strong Paul McCartney number that was just a track on their current US album “Meet The Beatles!” “All My Loving” was the song that made the immediate good first impression and that kept that huge television audience tuned in for the whole show. And, as George Harrison stated, “While the show was on, there were no reported crimes, or very few. When The Beatles were on Ed Sullivan, even the criminals had a rest for ten minutes.”
Jane Asher and Paul McCartney
Although the romantic relationship between McCartney and actress Jane Asher didn’t end up in nuptials as the rumor mill would have had us believe throughout the sixties, their relationship did spawn a good many songs in the Lennon/McCartney catalog. The first of such songs was “All My Loving,” which was written within a month after they had met.
BBC magazine “Radio Times” sent 17 year old Jane Asher as their “best-known teenage girl” to the Beatles April 18th, 1963 performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall which was being recorded for BBC radio. Jane was very popular in Britain at the time due to her appearance in many plays, films and television appearances, such as being a regular on the pop music TV show “Juke Box Jury.” She met the group for an interview backstage after the performance and then ended up with them at the Royal Court Hotel in Chelsea afterward. All four Beatles tried to impress this young actress who they recognized from “Juke Box Jury,” but she ended up with Paul in the end.
The song was written in a very unconventional way for McCartney, being that the song was actually written as a poem first and put to music later. “It was the first song I’d ever written the words first,” said McCartney, “I never wrote words first, it was always some kind of accompaniment. I’ve hardly ever done it since either.”
While the Beatles were on their national British tour with Roy Orbison in May of 1963, the poem came to Paul on the tour bus with Jane Asher in mind. One source says that the poem came to him while shaving which appears to be a conflict (unless, of course, they were in the habit of shaving while in the tour bus). Nonetheless, he found a piano in the big backstage area of the next venue that they arrived at and fit the lyrics to music on the spot. Both McCartney and Lennon attest to the song being entirely written by Paul. Lennon referred to the song at two different times as being “one of his first biggies” and as “a damn good piece of work.”
Different styles of songwriting can be detected in the finished product, such as Carl Perkins and the popular girl groups of the early sixties, but McCartney claims his initial inspiration as coming through an unlikely source. “I had in my mind a little country and western song,” stated McCartney, most likely influenced by Ringo’s love for that genre of music. When interviewed during their extensive American tour in the fall of 1964, Ringo stated that country music hadn’t influenced their sound at all. Little did he know that it actually had, as evidenced in “All My Loving.”
The Beatles in EMI Studio 2, 1963
The second recording session for their second British album “With The Beatles” took place on July 30th, 1963. This day, which was broken up into a morning and evening session, saw six songs being worked on. The afternoon session, which ran from 5:00 to 11:00 pm, saw five songs worked on and four of these completed. After George Martin performed many piano overdubs for the song “Money,” the Beatles completed “Till There Was You,” “Roll Over Beethoven” and “It Won’t Be Long” before starting and completing “All My Loving” on the same day. The first take of the song began approximately at 9:30, and by 11:00 pm the song was complete and ready for mixing.
Takes 1 through 11 were needed to create a full band run through of the song, which included McCartney’s vocals as well as all of the group on their usual instruments. This actually comprised ten takes, since there was no take five. Take 11 was considered the best. Then takes 12 through 14 were used for overdubbing Paul’s double-tracked vocals as well as his own harmony vocals on the third verse, with take 14 overdubbed onto the complete take 11. This is the complete version of this classic track as we know it.
The mono mix of the song was done on August 21st, 1963, along with the rest of the tracks that had been completed so far for the album. George Martin, along with engineers Norman Smith and Geoff Emerick, were the only ones present on this day. The same three EMI staff members created the stereo mix of the song on October 29th, 1963 along with the mysterious engineer with the initials B.T.
Because stereo phonographs were rare in the 60’s, creating mono mixes were the priority. Stereo mixes were usually made very quickly and at the last minute. This being the case, the stereo mix of “All My Loving” was made inadvertently leaving in an introductory hi-hat count-in to the song. Most countries knew to omit this introduction when preparing their album, but in a few cases, such as the Dutch version of their second album, they left it in. This makes for a very rare and highly sought after album, as well as a suitable inclusion to many bootleg albums.
To be complete, we must also mention the Beatles' appearance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California, on August 23rd, 1964. This show, including "All My Loving," was recorded for an intended live album to be released in late 1964 by Capitol in the US. While this album didn't materialize at that time, it did finally get released in 1977 under the title "The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl." The show was produced by Capitol's vice president Voyle Gilmore with George Martin and was engineered by Hugh Davies.
Song Structure and Style
The songwriting style of Lennon and McCartney was beginning to mature and expand even as early as their second album, as can be seen with “All My Loving.” All of their original compositions on the first album were in the standard verse/verse/bridge/verse configuration (aaba) or variations thereof. Their third British single, “From Me To You” backed with “Thank You Girl,” also followed this format. The first change in this pattern occurred with their fourth single “She Loves You,” which, for the first time, introduced a “refrain” to their songwriting pallet, which was something they, no doubt, picked up from their cover version of “A Taste Of Honey” which appeared on their first album.
Now, for the second time on their second album, a “refrain” is used to great effect on “All My Loving.” Like “All I’ve Got To Do” before it, the refrain is repeated twice in the song and finishes off the pattern of the song. “All My Loving” also contains a bridge, which is heard as a guitar solo played by George Harrison. Up to this point, the solo section in Lennon/McCartney songs occur using the chord pattern of the verse (“I Saw Her Standing There”) or even the bridge (“Love Me Do”), but in this case the solo is performed using a unique pattern of chords not heard elsewhere in the song. This can easily be viewed as a bridge, since it is a transitory passage that connects the first refrain with the third verse. Therefore, “All My Loving” follows the format of verse/verse/refrain/bridge/verse/refrain or (aabcab). To spice up the structure, the final refrain is doubled in length to create what can be termed as an “outro.”
The song begins abruptly with the first verse with no introduction whatsoever, not even an introductory chord as “All I’ve Got To Do” had. Actually, McCartney’s double-tracked voice is the first thing heard, since the actual melody line of the verse begins a half of a measure before the first measure begins. This 16 bar verse is accentuated by Paul’s melody line which cascades up and down one entire octave, but not exceeding it. The last bar of the verse comprises the common Beatles “break” as well as the first two words of the second verse which immediately follows.
The second verse is identical in structure and melody line, only differing by a new set of lyrics which, like the first verse, end with the title of the song being heard. After the break at end of the second verse, we enter into the first refrain, which acts as the true hook-line of the song, repeating the title twice. Vocal harmony “oohs” are now heard throughout the refrain performed by Lennon and Harrison. This eight bar refrain also ends in a “break,” which actually begins the guitar solo heard during the entire bridge, which also comprise eight bars, the eighth bar being another “break.”
The third verse is actually a repeat of the first verse using the same lyrics, the only difference being that we now hear McCartney’s overdubbed harmony throughout the verse. After the “break” at the end of the verse, we now enter into the final refrain which is identical to the first except that it is actually doubled in length to finish off the song. This sixteen-bar refrain sounds as if it is repeating the refrain twice, but it actually results in an accentuated McCartney vocal which finally takes him above the limited octave range of the song, even into a short falsetto “ooh” which has by now become a Beatles trademark. The final ringing bass note ends this classic song on a triumphant and satisfying note.
McCartney is truly the master and commander of the song performance wise, as his vocal delivery, although penetrating the lowest registers of his range, is delivered with convincing expressiveness throughout. Singing in this lower tone may have been a little uncomfortable for Paul, which resulted in some slight pitch problems on the recording, but it didn’t stop the group from performing the song extensively throughout their early touring months. Also to be noted is McCartney’s ‘spot on’ harmony work on the third verse, which was overdubbed at the end of the session. It was easier for Paul to overdub it himself, since he was a natural for picking out harmony, unlike both John and George who performed well in this capacity only after much coaching from George Martin. During live performances of the song, Harrison provided the harmony on the third verse because of Lennon concentrating on the fast rhythm guitar triplets he performed during the songs’ verses. Also to be noted is the simplistic nature that is manifested in the refrains, as Paul gives the double tracking of his vocals a rest. His single voice is heard to allow for the true tones of John and George’s harmony background vocals in order to create a fullness.
McCartney definitely shines with his bass guitar performance as well. Usually quite low in the mix during these early Beatles recordings, Paul’s bass lines are quite discernable, making this recording an exceptional triumph. The wide-flung walking bass lines help create an impressive tightness and cohesiveness to the arrangement.
George Harrison would be next worthy of mention because of his stellar Carl Perkins-style solo which is both joyous and irresistible. McCartney’s insistence on planned guitar solos for his compositions are well founded as evidenced in this case. An adlib creation by Harrison, as he was prone to present, wouldn’t have complimented the well structured atmosphere that this song required. Also of note, George’s rhythmic guitar chops throughout the song help create the pleasantly bright swing beat of the song. Harrison could also be counted on to produce adequate background harmony, as what was heard during the songs’ refrains.
Lennon’s fast paced rhythm triplets, possibly derived from listening to the current US hit “Do Doo Ron Ron” by the Crystals, was an impressive addition to song, which provided a uniqueness to the arrangement. Apart from this, Lennon could also be counted on to provide well crafted harmony work as can be heard on the songs’ refrain, once the harmony line was drilled into his head through rehearsal.
The drum work required for this song is excellently performed by Starr as if he was born to play this swing style. This aspect comes across as perfectly performed and natural, right down to the snare accents at the end of each verse. The drum arrangement is changed during the refrain as Ringo strikes the snare on each beat of each measure, which he accidentally begins to do during the first measure of the second verse (probably getting mixed up after eleven takes of the song).
Lyrically, the song has been viewed as a “letter song” because of the farewell message heard, no doubt because of Paul’s persistent touring schedule of 1963 and his leaving his recently met girlfriend Jane Asher behind. Many “letter” type songs were popular in the early 60’s, such as “Soldier Boy” by one of the Beatles favorite girl groups, The Shirelles, which also inspired the Beatles “P.S. I Love You.” The lyrics, while quite simple and self-explanatory, convey a convincing message which exudes sincerity.
“All My Loving” was truly a highlight for American record buyers as a track on their first Capitol album “Meet The Beatles!” released on January 20th, 1964. This album was finally released on an individual compact disc on January 21st, 2014, both the mono and stereo mixes being contained on a single CD. As it had all the markings of a true hit, it was never released as a single in the states. That is not to say that you couldn’t purchase it as a single in the early Beatlemania year of 1964. It was released as a single in Canada as was imported into America, selling enough here to chart on the Billboard singles chart throughout late March and all of April, peaking at number 45.
Also issued in January of 1964 was the songs’ second US release, which was the Compact 33 jukebox disc for the “Meet The Beatles!” album. Although it wasn’t available for sale to the public, it graced many an American jukebox, having “All My Loving” as the third (and final) track of side one.
In imitation of Britain including the song on an EP, America tried the same thing, but with not nearly the same sales response. The Capitol EP “Four By The Beatles” included the song to capitalize on the import sales of the Canadian single but, because the song had already sold in the millions on the “Meet The Beatles!” album by the time the EP came out on May 11th, 1964, this third release of the song failed to make much of an impact. The EP only spent three weeks on the Billboard singles chart, peaking at number 92.
Sometime in 1967, Capitol released Beatles music on a brand new but short-lived format called "Playtapes." These tape cartidges did not have the capability to include entire albums, so two truncated four-song versions of "Meet The Beatles" were released in this portable format, "All My Loving" being on one of these releases. These "Playtapes" are highly collectable today.
The next release of the song takes us all the way to April 2nd, 1973 with the Apple album release “The Beatles / 1962-1966” (aka “The Red Album”). It was chosen as one of only seven songs on this “greatest hits” compilation album that were not officially released as a single in America. The million selling album peaked at number three on the Billboard charts and, with “The Blue Album,” began a resurgence in Beatlemania for the 70’s seventies in the US. The album was released on compact disc in 1993, which marked the first time “All My Loving” was issued in stereo on CD. The compilation set was then re-mastered and re-released on October 19th, 2010.
The next release was on May 4th, 1977 on the Capitol album “The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl.” They performed the song during their first appearance at that venue on August 23rd, 1964. Although the album went platinum and peaked at number two on the Billboard charts, it has not been released on CD as of the date of this writing.
Capitol teamed up with Evatone Records to release "All My Loving" with "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" on a flexi-disc as a promotion at American record stores. This limited edition disc, released in 1982, was produced in three forms; one for Musicland stores, one for Discount stores, and one for Sam Goody stores, all of which are quite the collectors' items today.
February 26th, 1987 was when the original British "With The Beatles" hit the US in the compact disc format. This CD, which included "All My Loving," was only released in mono at the time, but the re-mastered stereo version hit the market on September 9th, 2009.
There were three releases of the song in the 90’s, the first being on June 30th, 1992. This was the box set “Compact Disc EP Collection,” which featured the mono mix as heard on the original British “All My Loving” EP released on February 7th, 1964. Next came the million-selling “Live at the BBC” album which was released on December 6th, 1994 and contained the version recorded on February 28th, 1964 for the second installment of the BBC radio show “From Us To You.” This album hit #3 on the Billboard album charts. On November 11th, 2013, this album was re-mastered, re-packaged and re-released. Then, the long awaited “Anthology 1” was released on November 21st, 1995. The version on this album is the historic first song The Beatles performed on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th, 1964, and includes a brief introduction from Ed Sullivan himself. This album hit #1 on the Billboard album chart.
November 15th, 2004 was the release date for the box set “The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1,” which featured the song in stereo and mono as heard on the original "Meet The Beatles" album.
A few weeks prior to the release of the box set mentioned above, Capitol released a CD Sampler with eight songs contained in the set. Both the stereo and mono versions of “All My Loving” were contained on this promo disc.
September 9th, 2009 saw the release of the box set “The Beatles In Mono,” which featured the song as part of the original “With The Beatles” album.
Although not chosen for a single, the Beatles knew it had something special with “All My Loving.” Therefore, they chose to premier the song on the “Morecambe And Wise” TV show, along with both sides of their latest single, on December 2nd, 1963. Thereafter, it became part of their live repertoire for nearly a full year afterwards. Evidence of this is the songs’ inclusion in their appearance on “Sunday Night At The London Palladium” on January 12th, 1964, the historic Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th and their first US concerts at the Washington Coliseum on February 11th and Carnegie Hall on February 12th.
Between June 4th and November 10th, 1964, the Beatles played over 50 cities on four continents. The ever popular “All My Loving” continued to be in their standard set list throughout this world tour, as evidenced in its’ performance at the Hollywood Bowl on August 23rd. November 10th appears to be the date that the group finally retired the song for good, as it does not appear in the set list for their three-week engagement at the Hammersmith Odeon in London during Christmas of 1964.
The song was performed for BBC radio three times, the first being for the first “From Us To You” special, which was recorded on December 18th and aired on Boxing Day (December 26th) of 1963. January 7th, 1964, saw the song recorded for “Saturday Club,” which aired on February 15th, and then on February 28th the song was recorded for the second “From Us To You” special, which aired on March 30th and appeared on the “Live at the BBC” album in 1994.
“All My Loving” was a natural to be picked up by McCartney for his 1993 “New World Tour,” which spanned from February 18th through December 16th and reached virtually the entire globe. His “Back In The U.S.” tour of 2002 also featured the song, as well as his “Back In The World” tour of 2003, his “’04 Summer Tour” of 2004 and his "Up And Coming Tour" of 2010. His "Out There!" tour of 2013 also included the song as well. These performances result in McCartney’s live albums “Paul Is Live” (from the “New World Tour”) and “Back In The U.S.” featuring the song.
Paul also chose to make a special performance of the song at The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert on June 4th, 2012 outside Buckingham Palace. "All My Loving" was the second of his five-song set, his appearance being the final musical segment of the entire concert.
The Beatles with Ed Sullivan
Those early 1964 Beatles fans who may have been debating as to whether to buy a copy of “Meet The Beatles!” instead of just being satisfied with their latest singles available on the American market were no doubt swayed by the inclusion of “All My Loving” on that album, which wasn’t easily available as a single in the early months of 1964. This fact in affect made the song’s appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show a blatant advertisement to buy their first Capitol album.
Classical students have claimed that a tune of Tchaikovsky is buried somewhere in the melody of “All My Loving.” If this claim was ever heard by the Beatles, it assuredly would have caused hysterical laughter, as they always were amused by the over-analyzation their music received by both the press and fans alike. What was apparent was that McCartney showed, arguably for the first time, that he was capable of writing irresistible and unforgettable melodies. Some claim that this was the most commercial song they had recorded to date which, amazingly enough, wasn’t issued as a single in Britain or America. The optimism and confidence of this song made it a standout on the “Meet The Beatles!” album and showed McCartney as a true competitor with Lennon as a singer and songwriter.
“All My Loving”
Written by: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
- Song Written: May 1963
- Song Recorded: June 30, 1963
- First US Release Date: January 20, 1964
- First US Album Release: Capitol #ST-2047 “Meet The Beatles!”
- US Single Release: Capitol #SXA 2047 (Meet The Beatles Jukebox EP)
- Highest Chart Position: #45
- British Album Release: Parlophone #PCS 3045 “With The Beatles”
- Length: 2:04
- Key: E major
- Producer: George Martin
- Engineers: Norman Smith, Richard Langham
- Paul McCartney - Lead and Harmony Vocals, Bass Guitar (1961 Hofner 500/1)
- John Lennon – Rhythm Guitar (1958 Rickenbacker 325), Backing Vocals
- George Harrison – Lead Guitar (1962 Gretsch 6122 Country Gentleman), Backing Vocals
- Ringo Starr – Drums (1963 Ludwig Downbeat Black Oyster Pearl)
Written and compiled by Dave Rybaczewski
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