The Beatles were changing at the time mostly because John Lennon was changing his focus. Legend has it that Bob Dylan was very critical of John Lennon and the Beatles when he first met them. Dylan was very entrenched in the hippie culture and the message of peace, love and drugs they were espousing, and Dylan had invested a huge part of himself and his music towards forwarding these messages of political change. Meanwhile The Beatles were singing songs about holding hands and being in love, but to be fair the Beatles were writing amazing songs that happened to be about holding hands and being in love.
Supposedly Bob Dylan has these choice words for John Lennon when they met:
“Yo John... Enough of this teenybopper crap! ‘Help!’ is a real cry for help! Show me you have a pure heart, show me you have something to say.”
This quote comes from the fine people at: http://thoughtcatalog.com/chris-castiglione/2015/01/what-bob-dylan-said-to-john-lennon-that-changed-his-career/
I highly doubt that the above quote is accurate, but I have always been told that Dylan said something to that affect to the Beatles, and more specifically Lennon, however the above quote was the best representation I could find online. Regardless the point is Dylan had a huge affect on Lennon and afterward a more serious and sage like Lennon began to send many an important message to the world, and among his first bits of wisdom he would share is “All We Need Is Love.”
So the scene was set, The Beatles had such a huge audience what they said in their songs could change the world, and with the opportunity to perform on international live television their audience would not only broaden even further but their words could reach many listeners. John Lennon knew what the world needed to hear, a simple but universal truth “All You Need Is Love.” Later that year the hit song would be included on “The Magical Mystery Tour” album and would later appear on “The Yellow Submarine” album/soundtrack.
But perhaps we should give some credit to Bob Dylan.
If Bob Dylan had not provoked/shamed John into trying to make a difference, or prove he had a “pure heart,” the high lord of hippies may never had made such a strong effort to do so much with his music to encourage peaceful revolution.
It is one of the often overlooked charms of The Beatles how they managed to write so many upbeat songs while living through such political charged challenging times, all the more so, while they, especially Lennon, actively engaged in the turmoil of many potentially ugly debates. It is easy to criticize, and it would have been easy for The Beatles to present a song on the “Our World” broadcast denouncing the political rivals of the UK or some of the long lived backward ideas still held by the populous. It would have been even easier to write and perform another fluff pop rock song. However they did something else entirely, they told the world what it needed to hear and reminded everyone who listened something they had always known, but easily taken for granted, that all we really need is to love one another.
This is where credit to Dylan should be halted, because the key difference between Lennon and Dylan is cynicism. While both men are clearly politically aligned, and have many similar messages and philosophies they share with us via their music Lennon is so much more embracing of the world and its people. No meaningful slight is intended toward Dylan in this remark, it is just amazing how positive Lennon could always be, maybe it was from years of hanging out with McCartney, I do not know.
I have always found it difficult to write about The Beatles, because their history and influence is so huge, and so well documented and discussed, that it is nearly impossible to add anything. It is possible that I am way off the mark connecting various Beatles tales and events together to accumulate to the creation of the great song “All You Need Is Love,” and maybe I am overselling the importance of that track. It is always possible that The Beatles and songs like “All You Need Is Love” had a subtle rippling effect on all of us that ultimately changed the world is many positive ways that no one could ever hope to connect all the dots.
Anyway long story short, Beatles theories are numerous, the importance of The Beatles cannot be overstated, and yeah... all you need is love.
- King of Braves.