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Saturday, 18 December, 1999, 00:49 GMT
Beatles anthem is millennium song

The Beatles: Double bill of talent

The Beatles classic All You Need is Love has been chosen as the anthem to herald the new millennium in Britain.

It expresses the sentiment we all share for the future of the planet, our children and ourselves
Dome creative director Mark Fisher
The song was picked after weeks of deliberation and speculation over which song would scoop the honour of being played at the Millennium Dome opening celebrations on New Year's Eve.

The tune will be sung and played by all the performers gathered at the site in Greenwich, London, shortly before 2345 GMT on the night, just before the Queen opens the dome.

A panel of experts finally slimmed the selection down to a double bill of Beatles talent last week and were then forced to decide between All You Need Is Love and Let It Be as the song to be played on the big night.

The panel was led by Mark Fisher, the dome's creative director who has also designed stage shows for bands like Pink Floyd.

Into 2000
He said: "In the end All You Need Is Love was the only song to pick.

"It expresses the sentiment we all share for the future of the planet, our children and ourselves."

He added: "We have assembled a wonderful night of British and international classical and popular music which will climax with All You Need Is Love just before the opening of the dome".

John Lennon's All You Need Is Love was the only Beatles song on the original shortlist, but the panel was persuaded to add the Sir Paul McCartney-written Let It Be.

Mr Fisher said: "Ever since we asked the question 'what is the greatest rock classic of the century?' we have been bombarded with letters, e-mails, abuse, praise and debate.

Jools Holland Dome performer Jools Holland helped pick the winner
"The British don't hold back on this thorny question. But we have got out alive - so far.

"The Beatles' pre-eminent place in the popular culture of the last 100 years is assured."

Both of the shortlisted Beatles classics come from the latter half of their career, characterised by experimentation and introspection.

All You Need Is Love reached an audience of 400 million when it was broadcast in 1967 as part of the first global TV link-up.

More recent songs by Oasis, Pulp and Robbie Williams all fell by the wayside as the shortlist of eight was whittled down, as did John Lennon's Imagine which was re-released last weekend.

Judges on the four-man panel choosing the song included musician and TV presenter Jools Holland, who will be performing on the night with a new version of the National Anthem.

Also charged with the task were Paul Daniel, director of the English National Opera, and the opening night's project director, Michael Lockett.

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See also:
16 Sep 99 |  Entertainment
Gabriel rocks the Dome
04 Nov 99 |  UK
'Cookin' new anthem' to greet millennium
08 Sep 99 |  UK
Prayers to start millennium party

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