Our World – The World’s First Ever Live Satellite TV Broadcast (1967) Included The Beatles & Marshall McLuhan

30Aug14

 Two of the Beatles with Brian Epstein, June 25, 1967

“Our World” Satellite TV Broadcast, June 25, 1967

25th June 1967 is a monumental date in the history of television, both for Europe and the world. The Eurovision programme “Our World” was the first live international television production, and it was a two-hour broadcast, around the globe, between 9pm and 11pm CET on a warm Sunday evening, 47 years ago. 

It was an undertaking of incredible complexity, involving control rooms around the world, three geostationary communication satellites (Intelsat I, Intelsat II and ATS-1), over 1.5 million km of cable and ten thousand technicians and programme staff. The programme concept was to link up the world, to demonstrate that we are all part of “our world” – all brothers and sisters. The ground rules for the show included that everything had to be live, and that no politicians or heads of state must be seen.

Four days before the broadcast, five of the participating countries dropped out. The Eastern block countries were protesting at the West’s response to the “Six day War” in the Middle East. But the show went on, with an offer to do it again with them – if ever the Eastern block countries could agree to take part. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/qffhb4z )

*****

The show began with the Vienna Boys Choir singing its theme song in 22 different languages, then switched to Canada for a live interview with media pundit Marshall McLuhan. The program moved to the U.S. and Glassboro, New Jersey, where American and Soviet leaders were meeting, then back to Canada for a rancher and his cattle, followed by segments from a subway construction project in Tokyo, Japan, and a tram station in Melbourne, Australia.

Then the show returned to London for its final segment: Seated on stools were The Beatles, surrounded by a small orchestra and a group of friends and acquaintances sitting on the floor (including Mick Jagger and The Who’s Keith Moon). They sang All You Need Is Love to a prerecorded instrumental and percussion track. After some studio work thereafter — Lennon was never happy with his voice and re-recorded his verses while Ringo Starr overdubbed drums — the song was released as a single on July 7 and was number one on the UK charts for three weeks. It appeared on the albums Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine. Regular international satellite commercial TV broadcasts would become common in the 1970s. No subsequent special programs were conceived, let alone performed. But for two and a half hours one evening in 1967, it was a big deal. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/p3vx726 )

 *****

Rolling Stone has just published a detailed article about The Beatles’ remarkable performance on that first-ever live satellite broadcast:-

The Beatles agreed to perform a new song as the representatives of the United Kingdom. “It was the first worldwide satellite broadcast ever,” Ringo Starr said years later. “It’s a standard thing that people do now, but then, when we did it, it was a first. That was exciting – we were doing a lot of firsts.

Engineer Geoff Emerick remembered, “I don’t know if they had prepared any ideas, but they left it very late to write the song. John said, ‘Oh God, is it that close? I suppose we’d better write something.'” Paul McCartney proposed his composition Hello, Goodbye, which got released as a single five months later, but the group opted instead for John Lennon’s All You Need Is Love. They started recording the song on June 14th, with Lennon on harpsichord, McCartney on double bass with a bow, George Harrison on violin (for the first time in his life!) and Starr on drums.

The Beatles did 33 takes on June 14th, picked take 10 as the best, and in the following days, overdubbed vocals, piano (played by producer George Martin) and banjo (Lennon), plus guitar and some orchestral passages. Only on June 24th, the day before the broadcast, did they decide that they would release “All You Need Is Love” as a single – meaning that the world would be watching them cut their next record. Read the entire article here: http://tinyurl.com/mzb59tc . Here are The Beatles performing All You Need is Love for the first time ever on that historic occasion:-

 See over 1.5 hours of the full Our World program here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H9IhSJ6ZjA

Here is Part 1 of Marshall McLuhan being interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), giving his take on the significance of this historic TV transmission,  prior to the event:-

And here is Part 2 of that CBC interview:-

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4 Responses to “Our World – The World’s First Ever Live Satellite TV Broadcast (1967) Included The Beatles & Marshall McLuhan”

  1. 1 Olivia

    Our Romeo&Juliet was also in this show.. Very exciting moment in time🌹👏👍

    • All the world’s a stage and this must have been the biggest stage yet for R & J and all Shakespeare plays. TV transmitted by satellite led Marshall McLuhan to change his entire worldview and to declare the world a global village: “Ours is a brand-new world of allatonceness. ‘Time’ has ceased, ‘space’ has vanished. We now live in a global village…a simultaneous happening.”… “Electric circuitry profoundly involves men with one another. Information pours upon us, instantaneously and continuously. As soon as information is acquired, it is very rapidly replaced by still newer information. Our electrically-configured world has forced us to move from the habit of data classification to the mode of pattern recognition. We can no longer build serially, block-by-block, step-by-step, because instant communication insures that all factors of the environment and of experience co-exist in a state of active interplay.” McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage (1967, p. 63).


  1. 1 BREXIT AND “OUR WORLD” – MEMORIES OF WORLD’S FIRST LIVE TV SATELLITE BROADCAST | The Mojowire
  2. 2 Beatles cantam “All You Need is Love” ao mundo – efemérides do éfemello

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