2020-09-03 Off By David Taylor



The decision to make a Beatles recording session part of the ‘Our World’ programme, might have come from either the producer Aubrey Singer or the TV director Derek Burrell-Davis but both were in agreement about it. Derek Burrell-Davis was to direct the Abbey Road sequence and came back excited about the prospect of what could take place in front of the ‘Our World’ audience :

DEREK BURRELL-DAVIS: (Memo to BBC OB’s May 127th)
“I had a satisfactory two-hour meeting with all four members of the Beatles Group this evening…..I don’t think it is over-stating it to say that they are enthusiastic about their participation in the ‘Our World’ programme and fully aware of the responsibilities they carry. Their approach is extremely professional and they are in complete agreement with the basic idea, which is that they are undertaking a recording session in the Number One Studio at E.M.I., Abbey Road”.
“They cannot yet forecast what they will be doing in any great detail, but they propose writing a new number. Since this number will be heard in 30 countries, they are going to write the lyric in basic English. They suggest that they should use such words as “Hello, love, you, me, us, them, together, we”. They are wondering if it might be possible to use some of those words in different languages and are receptive to the idea that words such as “love”, “together”, etc. might be shown on large cards at appropriate moments in several languages”.
“….They wanted to rise to the occasion with something new and original which would only achieve final form on the air live during the transmission. They hoped that what eventually occurred would be a “happening”, and while they could understandably not foresee the eventual shape of this new number they thought that it might include the spontaneous efforts of up to 50 people”.

It’s frequently stated however that although their manager Brian Epstein had given The Beatles a couple of month’s notice that they’d be representing the UK during a live round-the-world satellite programme, they were less than thrilled at the prospect.
It was John Lennon who finally said that he’d ‘do something for that’. However he left it until a couple of weeks before the show when, prompted by Paul, he set to work writing ‘All You Need Is Love’.


This left George Martin with the problem of getting enough preparatory sessions at the Abbey Road studios. He had experienced this problem before, having already booked a session into Olympic Studios in Barnes on 11th May when they’d recorded ‘Baby, You’re a Rich Man’. The Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick wasn’t ‘allowed’ to take part in this session, as it was against EMI policy. A pity for him, as surely he’d have enjoyed sitting in front of so the impressive ‘wraparound’ 16-input 4 group console built by Dick Swettenham in Olympic’s Studio 1 [2]. So it was on 11th May that recording engineer Keith Grant, with assistant Eddie Kramer started the ‘Rich Man’ session at 9pm.

On the night of the “Baby, You’re a Rich Man” sessions, an electronic keyboard known as the Clavioline had been left behind in the studio. A forerunner to the analogue synthesizer, the Clavioline was an early attempt to mimic the sound of orchestral instruments electronically“.
“If you can imagine, we’ve cut the track and it’s coming along really nicely,”
Kramer says. “I think John wandered into the studio and said, ‘Oy, what’s this?’ And there on a table is the Clavioline. So we hooked it up and he started fooling around with it. And he says, ‘Okay, that’s what I want.’ So we stuck a mic in front of the amp, and he was done in a couple of takes.”

The Rolling Stones at that time were regulars at Olympic and Keith Grant and Eddie Kramer wanted to impress the Beatles, who weren’t used to recording away from EMI, with the studio and by the time the session ended at 3 a.m., “Baby, You’re a Rich Man” was recorded and mixed, making it one of the shortest and most productive sessions done by the Beatles.[3]

For the ‘All You Need Is Love’ session on 14th June, young Eddie Kramer was now the engineer with George Chkiantz as assistant and they put down the rhythm track at Olympic. This was not to be a usual rhythm track in fact as it consisted of a double bass played by Paul, with drums by Ringo, but with George playing a violin and John a harpsichord – perhaps another left behind instrument.
Perhaps this instrumentation also explains why it ran to 33 takes, with Take 10 chosen as the best.

“So they come in and John plops down next to me at the producer’s desk and says, (mimicking Lennon’s Liverpudlian drawl) ‘Well, I guess we’ve got to do this song for TV then. And it goes like this: ‘All you need is love…’. And he’s playing the guitar and showing the lads how to do it. And then they all filed out into the studio, except for John, who stayed behind and sat next to me.”

Lennon asked Kramer to provide him with a microphone so that the others could hear him in the studio.

“So I hooked up the talkback mic”—the microphone through which personnel in the control room speak with artists in the studio—“and patched it in such a way that it went directly to everybody’s headphones so he could sit in the control room and sing it,”
“And so he basically sat next to me for the whole session, singing this song.” [3]


Beatles researcher John C. Winn has detailed the sessions and states in his book ‘That Magic Feeling’ :
“Take 10 was copied onto a new 4-Track tape, with all the instruments going onto Track 1“. “June 19 saw the Olympic reduction copied over to a fresh reel of EMItape [5] at Abbey Road Studio 3. The three empty tracks were then filled, with piano, banjo, and percussion going on track 2. Vocals went on tracks 3 and 4, including the “love love love” refrains and John singing lead for the choruses.” [4]
“two rough mono mixes were done in Studio 3 on June 21, one of which was cut onto an acetate and given to BBC director Derek Burrell-Davis to show that a song would indeed be ready in time.

As Geoff Emerick, explains in his book ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ [6], John had decided to sing the lead vocal live and Paul also opted to play his normal bass live. That left George, considered at that time by Emerick to be only a ‘marginal’ guitar player, wondering about his 4 bar solo. He also chose to do it live, possibly not wanting to be embarrassed in front of the others.


Derek Burrell-Davis was soon planning how he would tackle the ‘happening’ that The Beatles planned for their ‘recording session’ TV broadcast……to the enormous worldwide audience.
As early as 11th May he had requested the use of a “Marconi V321 Vidicon hand-held for an insert into “Our World” on 24th and 25th June 1967.” [1] Not being a piece of BBC equipment, the BBC Engineer responsible replied that they were waiting to hear from Marconi and pointing out that its use might present lighting problems.
The V321 was what was known as a ‘pipe camera’, just really a Vidicon tube feeding a control unit and it didn’t even have a viewfinder. It would I guess have become a ‘locked off camera’ suitable perhaps for using as a static close-up shot.
By the 1st of June the TV plans for the Beatles segment had started to harden up. Although the BBC were still broadcasting in 405 Lines, in order to align with the other European segments, the cameras were to be originating in 625 lines and five cameras were now detailed in the ‘Tech Requirements’ request to BBC OB’s:

One – on mobile rostrum 6-ft square, platform height 20-ft. …capable of being moved but probably positioned in the corner at back of studio to the left of the double entrance doors. Fitted with V5 lens.
Two – on powered Falcon Dolly, fitted with V5 lens.
Three – on Mole-Richardson Academy crane, fitted with V5 lens.
Crane to be available from 9a.m. on Saturday, 24th June
Four – Marconi hand-held camera on line and on cable
Five – in Control Room, position in corner as discussed to see control desk. Mounted on mobile eclair, with turret lens with 35mm attachment. Separate monitor from camera for pre-setting in confined position.

A further unusual requirement was:
“Please supply the (operating theatre ) 3’6″ square mirror to be suspended above the desk in the control room to give a plan view.”

He was assuming I guess, that the mirror would give an interesting shot looking down on Geoff Emerick’s mixing console in the control room.


Burrell-Davis also wanted a large ‘studio’ Mole crane, as used on entertainment shows like ‘Top Of The Pops’, not a usual item on OB’s and in fact not possible from the Bristol OB unit that was scheduled to be doing the shoot.

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A Mole Crane in the studio with the ‘swinger’ and the ‘tracker at the rear.
That’s Ron Green on the ‘camera end’ and Alec Bray is the ‘tracker’.
Photo: Tech-ops.co.uk

As can be seen in the above picture the mains powered Mole crane was big and required a three-man crew, the cameraman plus both a ‘swinger’ at the counterbalance’ weight box’, and a ‘tracker’ who both steered and drove the crane. The cameraman could switch to talk to the other two…or just use hand signals. The power cable and the camera cable bound together are visible above. Alec Bray, tracker in the photo above, has pointed out to me that it ran on 110 volts, so that would have been another problem that the ‘Engineering Manager’ Jack Balasco would have to overcome.
Although it was an unusual request for an ‘OB, the hard wood-block floor of the large EMI Studio 1 would allow the use of the Mole, although it still would require care as it was both long and heavy, as well as ‘unsprung’….it usually ran on a ‘levelled’ TV studio floor.


It was apparently as late as the Friday night before the show, whilst rehearsing, that Brian Epstein first discussed with George Martin the idea of releasing the live performance as the band’s next record single. Since it was his song, John was keen and Paul accepted too; only leaving George as the reluctant one…because of his live guitar solo. George Martin was also arranging it for the orchestral players, all classical musicians and as George wanted to be in the control room, Mike Vickers got the job of conducting them.


Burrell-Davis had also organised the TV OB schedule:
“Friday 23rd – Rig
Saturday 24th –
10.00-13.00 Establish set-up, light, select lenses, carry-out switching and engineering rehearsals with BBC Control.
14.00 -18.00 Preliminary local rehearsals with the Beatles.
Sunday 25th –
a.m. Rehearsals as required
14.00 – 18.00 Local switching and world hook-up with worldwide dress rehearsal from 15.00- 17.00
18.00-19.30 Meal break
19.30-20.00 Line -up
20.00 -22.00 TRANSMISSION”

It must have been a little daunting to write the words ‘ worldwide hook- up with worldwide dress rehearsal’….as that had never happened before!


The Bristol-based OB scanner MCR28 had been given the job of servicing the Our World Beatles segment. All the London-based units must have been busy over a typical late June weekend. MCR28 was the last of the 10 ‘Main Fleet Scanners’ built by Pye TVT in Cambridge and it arrived on Friday 23rd evening and parked in the small parking area in front of the studio’s main entrance and started to set up.
‘Engineering Manager’s’ on BBC OB’s carried out the lighting and in this case it was Hugh Cartwright who carried out those duties and his lighting rig would have taken some time
. Although only about a quarter of the large Studio 1 was to be used by The Beatles, there was still scaffolding to be erected with lights for the band, the orchestra and audience to be rigged, plus lights in the Studio 1 control room.

Setting up the large Mole Crane with its power requirements was not a usual job for the Bristol crew and in fact a cameraman, Dave Gautier who was used to operating the large crane was sent along from BBC Television Centre for the programme. He most possibly also had a ‘swinger’ and a ‘tracker’, as both these jobs required prior experience as well.

The sound and vision crews would be rigging the ‘Barron Box’ for communications to the EMI sound control room, along with a picture monitor and another ‘Barron Box’ went into the temporary ‘commentary booth’ for Brian Rust. Rust got a D-24 mic on a table and was also supplied with a picture monitor.
Two more 23″ Murphy courtesy picture monitors on trolleys were rigged on the floor of Studio 1, with ‘Off Air’ sound to enable the earlier part of the ‘Our World’ to be viewed in the studio.
There were two BBC ‘Stage Managers’,
Peter March and Mike Huffleman to look after the Director’s requirements throughout rehearsals and the programme and both were supplied with Radio Talkback.

The camera in the control room was fitted with ‘turret lenses’, including a 35mm, the usual widest lens and all the other cameras had Taylor-Hobson Varotal V zoom lenses.
The requirement for the Marconi V321 mini-camera had apparently gone ( ps: see later as I now ‘query this’) and there was no ‘theatre mirror’ hanging in the control room.

Derek Burrell-Davis had a chat with the camera crew and handed them a sheet with the ‘All You Need Is Love’ lyrics on….alas this didn’t really impress the cameramen…as here’s what they got:

The OB Director Derek Burrell-Davis handed to the camera crew before rehearsals this sheet of the lyrics, with only notes regarding the instruments and the timings.

“Derek Burrell-Davis arrived with the script….all that was on it was the repeating lyrics of ‘All You Need Is Love’, with a few references to the orchestral music.
Derek Burrell-Davis was very enthusiastic and said “The Beatles have written the music for this” and one of the Vision Engineers, Alex Cochrane said…”Did they write the words as well?”

This remark wasn’t received too well by the Director. [7]

The lyrics after all were very repetitive and the ‘hook’ of the song did rely on the ‘fill-ins’ that the orchestral arrangement gave. It’s a little difficult to work out who exactly ‘arranged what’ so long after the event. In his book “All You Need Is Ears”, George Martin said:

“I did a score for the song, a fairly arbitrary sort of arrangement since it was at such short notice. when it came to the end of their fade-away as the song closed, I asked them: ‘How do you want to get out of it?’.
‘Write absolutely anything you like George’, they said. ‘Put together any tunes you fancy, and just play it out like that.’

The mixture I came up with was culled from the ‘Marseillaise’, a Bach two-part invention, ‘Greensleeves’ and a little lick from ‘In The Mood’. I wove them all together, at slightly different tempos so that they still worked as separate entities.” [8]

Mike Vickers was the arranger and the conductor who stepped in for George Martin:

“I was sent an acetate which consisted of a backing track for the song, played by The Beatles which included George Harrison playing a violin for some reason. The Marseillaise opening was already there, but there wasn’t much else. My job was to come up with an orchestration for it.”
“We had three days at Abbey Road. The first day was purely a day of sound rehearsals, to let the orchestra have a look at what I’d done.” [9]

On the 23rd, also in Studio 3, the orchestra gathered for the first time to rehearse the song. Four violins, two cellos, two saxophones, two trombones, two trumpets, a flugelhorn, and an accordion played George Martin’s score in ten run-throughs. These were done as four-track to four-track reductions with simultaneous over-dub, but were mainly for reference purposes”. [4]

Here’s a photo that shows George Martin rehearsing as he conducts in front of the ‘brass’ section. The Beatles are seated in their usual positions behind and the TV crew are in with the TV lights on. Studio 1 though is still in its ‘bare state’ sometime on Saturday.
Two of the BBC Pye Mk6 cameras are visible on the right and I think the furthest would be the ‘Camera 3’ operated by Sandy Tristem and the nearest ‘Camera 1’, on the Mole Crane operated by Dave Gautier and as also seen below only has turret lenses, and not a Varotal zoom.

Leslie Bryce, a regular photographer of The Beatles, working for a fan magazine ‘The Beatles Monthly’, took this one of George Martin conducting the session players.


The scores of press photographers and the reporters waiting to cover this ‘story’ were allowed access to Studio 1 for a brief photo shoot on Saturday morning, producing photos for the weekend papers of The Beatles, along with their handmade posters and the big balloons as the decorations began filling the studio.

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Photocall for the Beatles on Saturday morning.

ANDY GRAY – NME Journalist:
“We were all invited to a press call At Abbey Road on the day before the broadcast. There must have been well over a hundred press people because anything involving The Beatles was big news. We all milled outside for a bit, I think. George was a bit late getting there, he’d been held up in traffic, but after he arrived they put up all these sandwich boards with ‘All You Need Is Love’ written in different languages, which were used again the next day for the broadcast, and posed for the photographers.”


However Rex Features photographer David Magnus, well known to The Beatles and the NEMS Agency, was allowed to remain throughout the rehearsals that followed and through the performance itself and the photographer for the fan magazine ‘The Beatles Monthly’, Leslie Bryce, a regular at Beatles recording sessions, also stayed for the rest of Saturday.

David Magnus wandered around with his Nikons, ignored by The Beatles capturing photos, in both colour and black and white that have become famous, showing The Beatles relaxed in the rehearsals and then rather more tensed up…particularly John just before the performance. [8]
David’s photographs have been exhibited over the years in the UK and the US and in 1997, many appeared in the book: ‘All You Need Is Love – The Beatles Dress Rehearsal’ published by Tracks Ltd.

If you’re a ‘real Beatles’ fan then signed copies are still available from David Magnus’ website: www.davidmagnus.com


After completing the camera and sound rigging, at 3pm the TV rehearsals got underway, complete with the ‘orchestra’. During these David Magnus and Leslie Bryce took many more photos, showing that the ‘decorations’ that finally adorned the studio were now being set up.

“The second day included some camera rehearsals as well as music. One thing I liked about working with them (the Beatles) was they were very fluid. Nothing was set in stone. They had a basic idea, then worked on it as we went along. The idea to include Greensleeves and In The Mood as part of the orchestration came out as we went along.”

One of the BBC cameras is just visible behind John in the photo from the colour photo on the cover of David Magnus’ book, and another of the cameras is caught in this shot of Brian Epstein during a pause in rehearsals.
Photo: David Magnus
When the musicians and TV crew took a meal break the Beatles tried out the musical instruments left lying around.
Photo: David Magnus

In the photo above on the right , Ringo and George try the trumpets, whilst Paul has a go at the trombone and John plays Jack Emblow’s accordion.
In the background, in the left side far corner, the large weight box on the back of the Mole Crane is visible, with one of the white painted Murphy TV monitors on its trolley over on the right of the picture.

Dave Gautier’s camera on the Mole Crane, in one of Leslie Bryce’s photos taken during Saturday afternoon rehearsals.

Dave Gautier’s Mole Crane is ‘parked’ right up beside the violins in the above photo. Note it is only fitted with ‘fixed lenses’, but it may have used a zoom during the programme. The director had specified on his tech requirements that Taylor-Hobson ‘V5 zooms’ should be on all except the control room camera.

“My ‘narration suite’ was a kind of garden shed with windows, normally used to isolate singers from the spill-over sound of their accompanying orchestras. In it I had a monitor screen, a microphone on a reading desk and a system of complicated cue lights. I put on what were known in the trade as ‘split cans’, earphones with one side devoted to the producer’s instructions and the other to the overall studio sound.”
I settled down to work on my commentary, while the inevitable tedium of technical television rehearsals dragged on through the long afternoon. Every now and then I wandered out into the main studio for a brief chat with Paul or John – less with George who seemed somehow detached in a mini-world of his own.

Again Ringo sat alone at the back, isolated but happy. “Boring, isn’t it?” I remarked to George. He smiled and nodded in agreement — life for a Beatle wasn’t always exciting. Meanwhile, the various recorded tracks were being gradually built up under George Martin’s expert guidance. In the car park, Derek Burrell-Davis and his technical staff sweltered in the Outside Broadcast control van. It was midsummer’s day. Making history can be a tedious business.” [9]

Brian Rust takes a break to talk to Paul.
Photo: David Magnus

Sometimes tedious indeed, but it also can have moments of sudden panic….At 20.45, just before Saturday evening’s’ Black And White Minstrel Show’ the BBC decided to fill a gap in the schedule with a ‘Live Trail’…which the OB Director would have to ‘improvise’…as would Brian Rust.


“The BBC want a live trail”, Derek told me suddenly over my intercom. No one knew this had been planned, in fact to this day few people seem to know that such a promotion ever took place. The TV announcer told the viewers “Before we join the Black & White Minstrel Show here’s Steve Race”, and on cue, I described what the sequence of events would be in Our World. The four Beatles had been assembled on a sort of fountain in the middle of the studio‘, and as I joined them they greeted me with a cheer. It was a derisive cheer, though I think a friendly one. I had a few words with each of them in turn. What was the song called? Whose idea had it been? (“His”, they said, pointing to each other). And then I put the question to John that was intriguing me. Ninety-five percent of all popular music is in 4-time, but there was more than a hint of unfamiliar 7-time in “All You Need ls Love“. “Did you know your song was in 7-time?” I asked. I still remember the cool, serious look he gave me as he replied “Yes, I know”. Then he indicated Paul, adding “- but blame him”. Paul himself, alert as ever, noticed how, against my own instincts, I was trying to inject some breezy gaiety into the proceedings. He spoke encouragingly in my ear. “Yock it up, Steve ! ” he said. He knew that it was my preference to be in the narrator’s box doing a technical job, rather than “yocking it up”. I duly yocked.”


TONY BRAMWELL (Beatles Promotions):
“We all went down to The Speakeasy in the evening and started finding people; ‘Here you, come up to the studios tomorrow!’ it was planned with some people, but most of them we just met up with somewhere in town. You only had to go to the Speakeasy, the Cromwellian, the Bag of Nails and the Scotch of St.James and you’d nearly everyone in this party. ‘You know tomorrow 2 o’clock, EMI, be there.’ And that was sort of how it was.” [9]


“The third day was great. We’d rehearsed everything by then so I felt comfortable and I’d got myself a new suit from Take 6 especially for the occasion. I know that George Martin and Geoff Emerick were under a lot of pressure that day but I just enjoyed it. When the guests started turning up it turned almost into a party. Not a real party, mind you, but a studio that felt like a party.” [9]

Starting to be a party…Mike Vickers, who conducted the orchestra, is seated on the left, smiling, with his hand to his mouth.
(If you look, you can see a Pye Mk6 camera on the right of frame).
Photo: David Magnus


Geoff Emerick remembered in his book, that the rehearsals ‘ground on for hours’, but on Sunday afternoon George Martin invited Richard and himself for a break at his house.

“When we returned to Abbey Road at around 6pm, the Beatles were already there, dressed in their finest Carnaby Street gear, and the tuxedoed musicians and celebrity guests-including Brian Epstein and various rock stars, wives and girlfriends – were beginning to file in. There was a real party atmosphere, similar to what we had witnessed during previous real ‘happenings’, but Richard and I were struck by how visibly nervous John was, which was quite unusual for him: we’d never seen him wound up so tightly.”

The Beatles in the small car-park at the front of EMI Studios before the show, with the BBC OB Scanner MCR28 behind them.


John Winn’s book states that the first two minutes of the ‘live transmission’, was in fact a pre-VTR’d introduction:

‘The introductory sequence was actually pre-taped during these rehearsals, and thus the first two minutes or so of the Beatles’ segment wasn’t actually going out “live.”
This began with a staged glimpse of the group “recording a second vocal track” (actually they are miming to the work already done) with BBC narrator Steve Race describing the action. George Martin, in the control room, then pretends to order in the session musicians, who enter as Race facetiously claims, “The Beatles get on best with symphony men.” In actuality, the orchestra was seated comfortably as the live broadcast got underway.
Tape operator Richard Lush is then seen “winding back” the rhythm track (again, it would have been cued up well in advance of the live telecast). On the studio floor, John sings a bit of the Kinks’ current hit “Waterloo Sunset,” and Paul jokingly calls his producer “Uncle George.” All of this was played back at 9:36 p.m. local time when the BBC began transmission. By 9:38 the feed was truly live, and for better or worse, take 59 (unannounced) of “All You Need Is Love” began.’

When I queried this with John Winn he stated that it had come from Mark Lewisohn’s book ‘The Complete Beatles Chronicle (P.259).

I then asked Mark Lewisohn where he had obtained the information about the pre-recording and he replied:

I wrote this in my book The Complete Beatles Chronicle, 1992:
Using material taped from 5.00 up to the actual live sequence, Steve Race introduced the Beatles playing and singing the basic song, the cameras then cut to the control room where George Martin suggested it was time to bring in the orchestra, the musicians filed in, and Mal Evans got into the picture by collecting empty tea cups. This was shown from 9.36 to 9.38. From 9.38 to 9.42pm it was back to the studio floor for the all-important live sequence: orchestra and Beatles – all except for Ringo sitting on high stools and surrounded by a large group of friends – playing ‘All You Need Is Love’ in its entirety.”

“I no longer recall precisely which document gave me the information about the pre-recorded elements, but it would have been within the BBC Written Archives at Caversham. I’d not have written it without such a reference source.

I’m in awe of the considerable research done by both Lewisohn and Winn, but I really do doubt if there was a ‘pre-record’ of the TV segment and I’ve have found nothing to support it in the BBC Archive documents, or in talking to the guys still around from the TV crew that day.

There were Saturday camera rehearsals and in the evening of Sunday there was a ‘Dress Rehearsal’ and this would almost certainly have been recorded at TV Centre in case of a problem during the ‘Our World’ transmission but the crew I contacted do not remember it starting with a pre-recorded VTR play-in at all.

Perhaps the answer lies not in the BBC Archives, but on tapes at Abbey Road…as Mark Lewisohn also wrote in his ‘Chronicle’ book:

“The televised sequence seems a little corny now and studio tapes reveal the considerable rehearsal time which went into this “spontaneous” performance.”

However, in his book, someone else’s memory also supports my opinion that the TV was not pre-recorded in any way:

“Ready Geoff”. I was…but while the question was being posed to me, I was also hearing the disconcerting sound of the tape being spooled back; obviously Richard wasn’t as quite as ready as the rest of us. I tried to buy a little more time. ‘Ummm….ready Richard?’ I mumbled as slowly as I could, while my terrified assistant stared helplessly at the still rewinding machine. The problem was that, while the BBC television truck had been rolling the show’s introductory video, we were tasked with playing back an early rough mix of the song, complete with John’s guide vocal, as an underlay to what was happening on the screen. Then while Steve Race, the announcer, began introducing our segment, Richard had to spool back and quickly change reels; that was the job that wasn’t quite complete when George turned to us. It was only a matter of seconds before Richard got it sorted out and everything was indeed ready to go, but in that hot, cramped control room it seemed to take an eternity.”

The first section of the segment, as seen above shows the panic on George Martin’s face as he and Geoff wait for the tape to be re-cued up. Would Derek Burrell-Davis, the TV director have accepted a ‘pre-record’ that showed such a ragged sequence? Well perhaps…but it still looks like it was ‘all live’ to me, in keeping with the concept of Our World.


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George Martin and Geoff Emerick with Brian Epstein in the control room during the TV rehearsals.
photo: David Magnus.

Above is one of the photos taken by David Magnus, who stayed taking black and white and colour photos throughout the rehearsals and broadcast. It shows the view in the Studio 1 control room, with the TV lighting on, taken through the studio window. George Martin is wearing the headphones from the ‘Barron Box’ talkback unit that was his link to the director Derek Burrell-Davis in the BBC OB scanner.
On the far side of Geoff Emerick is a ‘caption stand’; one of two that were on the requirements sheet and each would have had a stage-hand ‘pulling’ the captions, which in this case were the ‘name supers’ that were superimposed on The Beatles close-ups early in the shoot.
Cameraman John Vigar, manning the control room camera, just out of shot on the right, would have been the ‘least busy’ camera, so became the main camera assigned to that task, but another would also have to have done it as the name captions came up pretty quickly.


Let’s go inside the ‘scanner’ and see how the crew in there worked.

Drawing adapted with thanks to mcr21.org.uk
The interior of the Our World‘ OB Scanner MCR28, would have looked like this photo inside MCR21.
Photo: Pye TVT via MCR21.org.uk

The interior of MCR28 would have been like the above. The Engineering Manager, Jack Balasco would have been at the left desk here, with next to him, the Sound Supervisor (as shown), who was most possibly Alan Hitchcock at the Pye sound console. The Director Derek Burrell-Davis would either operate the vision mixing panel himself or he might have had a vision mixer to do that job on a ‘more complicated’ music shoot like this Beatles sequence had become. When you look at the final result, I think a vision mixer would have been required!
Finally, on the far right, the Production Assistant, Ken Griffin called the camera shots and ‘timed’ the programme throughout.

The Vision Engineers sat in front of the Production desk, with their CCU’s and waveform monitor. They were controlling the pictures from the 4 cameras.

The TV Sound Supervisor had a mono sound feed from the EMI desk’s ‘monitor section’, which gave him the studio music and has one or more FX mics in the studio and in the sound control room
had added a stand mic in front of George Martin. The one D-19 mic in front of Geoff Emerick, was the mic usually mounted on the EMI mixing console for ‘talkback’.

The ‘EM’, Jack Balasco had the job during the shoot, to man the phone and 4-wire communications circuits with the ‘Our World’ Control Centre studio in TV Centre TC1.


Burrell-Davis made a good job of the TV coverage and having listened to the rough mix acetate previously sent to him produced a camera script for the TV crew, with separate ‘shot cards’ given to each camera. These would be amended as necessary during the camera rehearsal.

In the very big Studio 1, usually used for classical orchestral recording, The Beatles are arranged up at the end nearest the control room.

There are 4 Pye Mk6 TV cameras, I’m guessing at the camera numbering (it was a fairly random thing anyway):
Camera 1 – operated by Dave Gautier is mounted on the Mole camera crane, tracked by a couple of assistants. His starting position is back against the studio wall, tracking along, through the orchestral player’s, with the brass on his left and the strings on his right, into a position near the group. I’m still wondering whether he had a Varotal zoom or fixed lenses.
Camera 2 – static at the front (to the right of Camera 1’s tracking line) was operated by the Senior Cameraman Dave Farmer. It would take similar ‘front on’ shots to those of the crane.
Camera 3 – static even further right, to the right side of the drum booth, was
the camera being operated by Sandy Tristem. It would shoot mainly ‘profile’ shots of John and Paul, plus some of George and Ringo nearby.
Camera 4 – in the Studio 1 Control Room was being operated by John Vigar.

The control room is only 16ft deep x 24 ft long, with the REDD.37 mixing console mounted side-on to the studio window and Cameraman John Vigar with his Pye Mk6 camera is hard up against the side wall, and not able to pan much in the confined space.
It could however see over the single EMI BTR3 tape deck under the window, out of the control room window into the studio, with the two cellos foreground and The Beatles beyond.
The entrance door is to the right, and behind the console, the Tape Operator, Richard Lush remained operating the 2 main 4-Track Studer J37 tape decks; one machine with the backing tracks and the other recording ‘the new mix’.


The ‘Our World’ programme cut to ‘Abbey Road’ for a short 5 secs or so ‘menu’ item during the start of the programme.

Here’s the complete ‘All You Need Is Love’ TV sequence….which had to be assembled from two incomplete black-and-white videos on YouTube, and from the Anthology DVD version of the song. Apple Corp have copyright on ‘All You Need Is Love’ and despite its outstandingly important historical relevance, have a history of ‘take-downs’ of YouTube videos showing the song.
(I have no ‘financial’ gain to be made and am undertaking research into the history of both television and sound recording, so I’m definitely claiming ‘Fair Use’ under the UK Copyright Rules….and the Anthology video is posted also on Vimeo! )

Since it’s fascinating to work out the camera shots when watching an interesting programme, I’ve decided to add captions showing how the 4 cameras covered the whole sequence.
(Sorry if the added captions ‘piss you off’…do go and find the Vimeo copy…or the DVD of course.) [11]


My captions show how Derek Burrell-Davis used the cameras in covering the complete item.

I’ve stated that the idea of using the miniature Marconi V321 camera had gone….however, I can see a strange-looking camera in the background of what I called ‘Shot 28’, at 4.52 in the timeline. It’s being hand-held and since it looks like the cameraman is wearing headphones….perhaps it’s that little video ‘pipe camera’ after all!
If so I guess it must have just taken the close-up of Paul,’ Shot 27′ at 4.42 in the timeline.
Are any Video Engineers or Cameramen able to help?

David Magnus’ colour shots, like this one, taken just before the ‘Our World’ TX must have been the source for that incredible ‘colourising’ of the TX broadcast.

That was a truly fantastic transformation by ‘Computer Colorizing’, which was still in its infancy in the early ’90’, so in 1995 ‘Apple Corp’ must have been pushing computer techniques to be able to produce such a superbly colourised result, which would have had to use the black and white 2″ QUAD video copy of the programme to start with. Matching the colours from David Magnus’ photos must have been an ‘interesting job’ back in the mid-90’s, however, it’s been noted that they got one thing wrong….as the photo above shows, the stools and chairs in Studio 1 were red…not blue!

And why did Derek Burrell-Davis ‘miss’ the guitar solo from George? Geoff Emerick explained in his book:

“At one point in the camera rehearsals, I noticed George Harrison engaged in conversation with the television director for quite a long time. I had no idea what they were talking about, but I did notice that during the broadcast that a camera was not trained on George during his guitar solo. Perhaps he requested that specifically, either because he didn’t have confidence in his playing, or because he felt it was likely that he would replace the part later.” [6]

Others, like John Winn’s quote from his book, have taken exception to Steve Race saying “The Beatles get on best with symphony men.”
Although Steve Race was known as a ‘jazz commentator’, he composed some popular music himself and acknowledged that he was a Beatles fan and his remark was to try and give them some much-needed ‘musical status’.
I think that to regard his remark as being facetious shows that people fail to understand how much The Beatles music and the other ‘pop groups’ of the time were still seen as ‘the youngster’s music’, by ‘the older generation’. It was sometime before the music of groups like The Beatles would become accepted as something more than a ‘passing fad’.
I think this sequence in ‘Our World’ really helped to place The Beatles into their rightful place along with other artists and make ‘popular music’ be appreciated more universally.
It would perhaps finally take TV Arts programmes like ‘Aquarius’, ‘Arena’ and ‘The Southbank Show’ to put rock musicians on the same plain as classical.


The REDD.37 console from Studio 1….still lives on. Here it is pictured on being re-sold by Lenny Kravitz in 2016.
Photo: Vintage King

Geoff Emerick’s microphone choices for the TV sequence/session were dictated by the 14 channels on the Studio 1 REDD.37 console and the previous tracks recorded before the TX:
We can work out the mics that Geoff Emerick has from the pictures:

2 Trumpets: STC4028 (ribbon mic).
2 Trombones: Neumann U-47.
2 Tenor saxes: Neumann U-47.
Accordion : STC4038 ( hanging below the mic stand).
4 Violins: Neumann U-47 (players arranged in a circle, around the single ‘overhead’ U-47, so that’ll be in ‘omni’).
2 Cellos: Neumann U-47 (between their music stands).
John Lennon- vocal: Neumann U-47 with gauze windshield. (The only live vocal during the TV broadcast).
Paul McCartney – vocal Neumann KM54 (dummy) with round windshield.
Paul was miming but the TV director objected to having a large U-47 vocal mic blotting out Paul’s face on the front shot, so Geoff Emerick compromised with the smaller KM54.
Paul McCartney – bass: Paul’s bass was ‘live’, but I can’t spot the mic.
George Harrison -vocal: Neumann U47 (dummy) with the gauze windshield
George Harrison -guitar: George’s guitar was ‘live’ but again I can’t see a visible mic
Ringo Starr – drums: AKG D-19 overhead with a D-12 looking at the outside skin on the bass drum. (Ringo had decided to do his drums live).

The following session musicians were involved:
Sidney Sax (violin), Patrick Halling (violin),  Eric Bowie (violin), John Ronayne (violin,) Jack Holmes (cello), Lionel Ross (cello), David Mason (B-flat piccolo trumpet), Stanley Woods (trumpet and flugelhorn), Evan Watkins (trombone), Harry Spain (trombone), Rex Morris (tenor sax), Don Honeywill (tenor sax), and Jack Emblow (accordion). (Emblow became well known for leading the Jack Emblow Quartet in a BBC Radio programme ‘Sing Something Simple’ for many years.)
Apart from playing, Sidney Sax was also a well-used ‘session fixer’ at this time, someone you would call to get you the session musicians you required.


What were the band, the orchestral musicians and the ‘audience’ actually hearing during the TX?
Desks like Studio 1’s REDD.37 had few facilities to provide headphone or loudspeaker feeds. The Beatles have ‘cans’ on and would need a mix of the backing tracks coming off the playback Studer J37 4-Track in the control room. They’d want to hear their live mics as well …. John’s lead vocal, Paul’s bass, George’s guitar and Ringo’s drums.

The orchestral guys would want to follow ‘the rhythm’ of course and all are on ‘cans’, even if Mike Vickers is conducting them. Mind you the 4 violinists ‘in a circle’ can’t really see Mike Vickers at all.
Finally, what are the ‘audience’ actually listening too during the show?
It’s hard to see how there could be more than one or two separate ‘foldback’ feeds out of the REDD.37, so if Geoff Emerick could have managed 2 foldbacks, one might have been feeding the very big EMI ‘White Elephant’ foldback loudspeakers, one of which can be seen beyond the 2 cellos in some shots. That would give something for the audience….if kept low enough not to colour the sound pickup too much.
In fact it was interesting that the orchestral guys were happy to put on the cans at a …. particularly the string players, as my experience even into the early ’70’s was that they really wouldn’t wear them, expecting a foldback speaker to be placed near them.

The ‘White Elephant’ foldback speaker behind the two cellists…with ‘Camera 2’s’ lens visible behind it. I doubt if that was in use in that position somehow.
Photo: David Magnus


Geoff Emerick and Richard Lush nipped off to the nearby ‘Abbey Tavern’ after the programme and returned to find the maintenance engineer Martin Benge had already threaded up the tape machines in readiness for the mix, after all, they were trying to get the release of ‘All You Need Is Love’ out in record time.

“From the first playback, the four Beatles were knocked out by what they were hearing. Harrison winced a little during his guitar solo, but Richard took the initiative and reassured him, saying ” It’ll be fine; we’ll put a little wobble on it and it will be great”.
In the end, all we had to do was add the effect and duck the last bad note. Paul’s bass playing was fine – there was no need to fix anything – and John’s vocal needed only two lines dropped in, into the second verse, where, sure enough, he flubbed the lyric. The only other remaining task was to redo the snare drum roll that Ringo played in the song’s introduction; it had been a last-minute decision for him to do it live during the broadcast, and George Martin felt it could be done a bit better.”

The single, a mono mix of “All You Need Is Love” made it into the shops on Friday and became another No.1 for the group, staying in the charts for several weeks.

Derek Burrell-Davis was very appreciative of the Bristol OB crews efforts and shortly afterwards wrote to the BBC Head of Programmes-West:

“The Beatles item, in particular, has received a substantial amount of praise both in the press and the BBC. At a time when we are becoming increasingly used to recording most of our programmes, the Beatles’ item has been singled out as a good example of live outside broadcasting.
As members of the unit may have told you, it was not possible to rehearse in detail since the actual transmission was based on a once-off “happening”. One, therefore,
leaned heavily on the enthusiasm and artistic skills of the unit, and both were there in abundance.” [1]

As you can see in this short 1977 clip, Derek Burrell-Davis regarded this OB, because of it’s enormous world audience, as one of his most significant in a very long TV directing and producing career.

PRESS PLAY (possibly hidden in the bottom left corner)

1977 interview by Felicity Goodey with Derek Burrell-Davis at the BBC Manchester Studios, that he was running at that time.


References and Credits:

[1] From documents held at the BBC Written Archives, Caversham.
[2]: “Geoff Emerick complimented Swettenham’s board after hearing Keith Grant’s recording of the Beatles song ‘Baby, You’re A Rich Man’ (done in Olympic Studio One), saying. [It] was a totally different design than [EMI’s consoles] and was capable of passing lower frequencies so there was quite a smooth bass sound.” –“The Great British Recording Studios“-page 160: Howard Massey- Hal Leonard Books 2015.
[3]: Eddie Kramer interview: www.guitarworld.com/magazine/interview-engineer-eddie-kramer-recording-beatles-all-you-need-love

[4]: “That Magic Feeling” by John C.Winn Published by Three Rivers Press, New York 2009. See also:
“The Complete Beatles Chronicle(Bounty Books 1996) and “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story Abbey Road 1962 – 1970(Hamlyn 2004) both by Mark Lewisohn.
Mark Lewisohn produced his definitive records of The Beatles recording sessions first, and John Winn followed with his summary of all the Beatles ‘media’ involvements.
These two books, the result of years of remarkable research by both Lewisohn and Winn, and tell you everything there is to know about The Beatles recordings, broadcasts and interviews.
[5:]: I guess a ‘fresh reel of EMITape’ would then match the record settings on the Abbey Road Studer J37’s, as Olympic was using 4-track Ampex AG330’s and AG350’s at this time, and I doubt if they wouldn’t be using EMITape and were almost certainly on NAB Eq.
[6]: “Here, There and Everywhere” by Geoff Emerick and Howard Massey. Published by Avery 2007. An invaluable book for anyone interested in sound recording technology in the ’60’s and 70’s. Alas you have to regard the quoted conversations in this book with a certain amount of ‘licence’, courtesy of biographer Howard Massey. Nobody would remember so many perfectly spoken conversations as they appear here, not after so many years!
[7] My own interview with Bristol OB cameraman Sandy Tristem and his further conversations with other members of the crew on the shoot.
[8] From: “All You Need Is Ears”, by George Martin Published by St.Martin’s Press, NY 1979
[9]: Interviews and copyright photos from David Magnus’s book of the Our World studio- “All You Need Is Love – The Beatles Dress Rehearsal”. Published in 1997 by Tracks Ltd. Copies are still available through his website : www.davidmagnus.com/
[10]: It was Brian Summers who pointed out that the photo of the Beatles in the car park was with the Bristol-based MCR28, which was confirmed from BBC documents via Nick Gilbey and in my conversations with some ex-crew members from Bristol. Many thanks to Brian and Nick for their considerable help.
Brian and Nick, along with others, are involved in a wonderful reconstruction of the first of these important BBC ‘Main Fleet Scanners’ OB Scanners, MCR21.

Do visit their website to follow the progress as MCR21 comes back to life: www.MCR21.org.uk
[11] The Beatles 1995 Anthology DVD is still available…11 hours and 12 mins of ‘non-stop Beatles’ material for under £49…on Amazon of course. (Health note: As avoiding taxes is harmful to the progress of ‘equality’…it can also be obtained from other, more ‘socially responsible’ retailers!)