Updated: Oct 7
Here we find the exhausted post-Pepper session Beatles knocking out a re-written children’s song to fill a two minute ten second hole in an animated children’s fantasy film about them that they don’t appear in...
...barring a stiff yet joyful cameo to introduce the sing-a-long appearance of All Together Now that presaged the film’s credits. This turned out to be the very last sighting of our funny, happy All Together Now Beatles, they giving way to a much more serious, grown up, final version of the band, All Over There, Separately, in opposing corners.
The song itself is Love Me Do-lite. Yellow Submarine’s simple twin brother that lives chained up in the attic. Except, as with much of this seemingly throwaway material it has, however accidental, more substance to it than that. Every good book or article written about the Beatles could be called All Together Now. All of their first three albums and clutch of singles could have been called All Together Now. The Beatle’s should be called the All Together Nows. Glad they weren’t though, for that’s a shit name for a band.
If nothing else, the Beatles unified; they brought the world together behind one unifying force for good and joy and truth. They stood in line, beside and behind each other and we all filed in, wearing the same uniform, whether it was a haircut, a pair of cuban heels, a song you’d written or just needing temporarily above all else, Love. For a short while there, we’d never had it so good. They, through the way in which their presence permeated every level of society, ushered in the modern age from the ravages of the post-war era, changing the way in which music was devoured, revered and the way in which creators were admired, they were never closer to the act of producing an act of creation again.
Here's Ringo for no reason whatsoever.
The people of the time, their contemporary audience, were either brought together as one in their love for the boys, or their disdain. There was something everyone could get behind. Teens that didn’t like them (they existed and still do) formed their own bands, or grew up to be Prime Ministers who tried to tear the country down in ice-cold revenge, never learning the lesson of peace and love. Perhaps never wanting it, except from all of us who vote and like good things that make us happy. Like the Beatles.
The Beatles, decades on from their short existence, have brought all kinds of people together in their wake. They played their part in bringing down the iron curtain, through brave black market defiance of the people behind it, they taught millions of people from far reaching corners of the globe, and America, how to speak Liverpool, uncountable numbers of guitars have been sold and sideburns grown in a direct response of their actions. They turned on the light that doesn’t go out.
Yet…All Together Now, the song, is slight. It’s more early evidence of that easy McCartney whimsy that is so often the stick that hits him during his solo years. It’s easy to ignore and easy to point to when wanting to argue that his lightweight tendencies outweigh his grit and insight. Except it doesn’t. Not even here. In a song that even small children can understand, it’s about love, togetherness, inclusion. It’s a Summer of Love for the youngsters too young to be the youngsters that are shaping that world but will shape the next.
A sneaky playgroup singalong that could indoctrinate, pied piper like, your children into Beatledom before they know what's happening.