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The Beatles Songs: All Together Now

The history of this classic Beatles song

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The Beatles Songs: All Together Now

Australian sheet music for "All Together Now"

rarebeatles.com

All Together Now

Written by: Paul McCartney (50%), John Lennon (50%)
(credited as Lennon-McCartney)

Recorded: May 12, 1967 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: May 12 and November 15, 1967; October 29, 1968
Length: 2:10
Takes: 9

Musicians:

John Lennon: lead and backing vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar (1964 Gibson J-160E), ukelele, harmonica (Hohner), backing vocals, handclaps
Paul McCartney: lead and backing vocals, bass guitar (1964 Rickenbacker 4001S)
George Harrison: acoustic rhythm guitar (1964 Gibson J-160E), backing vocals, handclaps
Ringo Starr: drums (Ludwig), finger cymbals, backing vocals, handclaps

Available on: (CDs in bold)

Yellow Submarine (UK: Apple PMC 7070, PCS 7070; US: Apple SW 153; Parlophone CDP 46445 2, "Songtrack": Capitol/Apple CDP 7243 5 21481 2 7)

History:

  • Three of the four "new" songs included in the Beatles' soundtrack for their 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine were actually outtakes from Sgt. Pepper; "Hey Bulldog" was thrown together while the band were in the studio making a "Lady Madonna" promo video in early 1968. "All Together Now" had been recorded early on in the Pepper sessions, and with good reason: many sources now believe it was Paul's attempt to create a universal, easily understood singalong for the international television broadcast Our World, shown in 17 countries around the world on July 25, 1967. The idea was to create the world's first international live broadcast using then-new satellite technology, and the group were approached to write and perform a new song for the live telecast. This was supposedly McCartney's attempt, shelved when John came up with an even more powerful and universal theme in "All You Need Is Love."
  • "All Together Now," a gentle homage to the skiffle mix of folk and trad-jazz the lads had grown up loving in Liverpool, was later reported by Paul to have been conceived as a simple children's song, replete with instructions to "sail the ship, chop the tree," etc. This fits with McCartney's flair for storytelling ("Yellow Submarine") and wordplay ("Hello Goodbye"), but John, by all accounts including his own, actually came up with the bridge featuring the movements. In any event, it made a great closer for the Submarine movie, when the real Beatles finally arrive for a cameo (filmed 25 January 1968, as the band prepared for its ill-fated spiritual journey to India) and sing this song along with the audience.
  • The song was recorded in one five-hour session on May 12, 1967, making it definitely one of the band's quickest latter-day recordings. John and George laid down the backing track on acoustic guitar with Paul on bass; backing vocals were added, and extra instrumentation fleshed it out. George Martin was absent from this session, so Paul produced it himself with some help from engineer Geoff Emerick.
Trivia:
  • Although John tended to dislike Paul's "granny" songs, this singalong delighted both he and Paul when it was immediately picked up by British football fans. John actually sings a bit of "All Together Now" during some jamming in the tenth hour of the "Let It Be" rehearsals.
  • Because it was originally recorded during the Pepper sessions, there are several other instruments said to be present in this recording, including banjo, triangle, and sax. At the end, what sounds like an old-fashioned car horn can be heard. Due to the relative anomaly of the session, it's possible only the band truly knows what was recorded that day.
  • The mono mix was the only one prepared during Pepper and was never used, other than in the film's climax; by late 1968, it was necessary to create a stereo mix as well. The original released mono mixes, therefore, merely featured the stereo mix fed into one channel.
  • When performing the song for friends during their spiritual journey to India, McCartney obligingly changed one line to "E, F, G, H, I, Jai Guru Dev."
  • Perhaps as a nod to the track's "One World" origins, the ending of the movie has the words "All Together Now" flashed on the screen in many of the world's languages.
Covered by: Andre 3000, Kenny Loggins, The Muppets, The Hours, The Sugarbeats, Joy Unlimited, James Last, Schweitel
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