Updated April 23. Britain's Queen Elizabeth announced today that she wishes to unite the nation in song. When she gives the cue between 1:00-1:30 p.m. on June 3, people all across the U.K. will join their monarch in huge singalong of the Beatles classic All You Need is Love. A spokesman for the event said: "We're still discussing how the Queen will begin it. It might be that she just gives permission for it to start, she may press a button, but it'll be dignified. We wanted a song that was appropriate and this just sprang out. It needed to be well-known and this just felt right."
For those who may not know all the words, five million balloons, printed with the lyrics will be distributed by National Lottery outlets. The singalong will be broadcast by BBC radio and TV. (You may recall that the Beatles sang this song on the BBC 35 years ago as part of the world's first global broadcast back in 1967.)
The last time All You Need Is Love was played in Britain to mark a major event was at the G8 conference in Birmingham in May, 1998. The tune caused a bit of confusion for the leaders of the Western world. When French president Jacques Chirac heard the trumpet introduction, he thought the French national anthem was being played, so he rose to his feet. Seeing this, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, and Boris Yeltsin also stood respectfully beside him. Once they realized it was not the anthem being played, but a Beatles tune, they started to dance to cover their misunderstanding.
This time, in honor of the Queen's Golden Jubilee, musicians in 21 locations across the UK will lead the nation in the huge singalong. "There will be a range of community musicians and some professionals," said the spokesman for the event. "We will have the cast of Evita in one location, African drumming, junk bands and the Turkish Beatles Orchestra at other points around the UK."
The Queen's subjects will again be invited to sing All You Need Is Love later in the day. This time, it will be Sir Paul himself leading them in song at the conclusion of the Queen's Buckingham Palace concert (see January 21).
The ticket ballot for invitations to the concerts at Buckingham Palace closed on March 18. The almost two million people who entered the lottery will learn this week whether or not they will have a ticket to the Queen's Jubilee concerts. Only 12,000 tickets are available for The Party at the Palace the pop concert during which Sir Paul will perform.
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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