This Day In Music, May 18: The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love," Ian Curtis Dies

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The Beatles were selected to represent the UK for the first-ever global satellite broadcast, Our World. The event, which would cover five continents, asked The Beatles to come up with a song containing a "simple message" to be understood by all nationalities.  

This was at the height of the Vietnam War, and the group wanted to use the opportunity to convey a positive message expressing a philosophy of love. The group agreed to be shown in the studio recording a song written especially for the occasion. 

John Lennon wrote "All You Need is Love," which was thought to sum up the 1967 Summer of Love and The Beatles' sympathies. With the satellite broadcast being sent to many non-English-speaking countries, the BBC asked The Beatles to "keep it simple."

Watched by 400 million in 26 countries, the program was broadcast via satellite on 25 June 1967. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Graham Nash, Keith Moon, and Gary Leeds from The Walker Brothers all provided backing vocals. 

The track which open's with "La Marseillaise," the French national anthem, and saw John Lennon singing "She Loves You" as an ad lib over the fade-out, went to #1 on both sides of the Atlantic. 


Joy Division singer, songwriter and guitarist Ian Curtis hanged himself in the kitchen of his house in Macclesfield, England at the age of 23. Curtis had the Iggy Pop album The Idiot playing on his stereo and left a note that said, "At this very moment, I wish I were dead. I just can't cope anymore." 

Curtis had met his future band mates at the infamous Sex Pistols gig in Manchester, England during 1976 - a gig that inspired a generation to make their own music (out of the 30-odd people who attended were Morrissey, who formed The Smiths, and the guys who formed The Buzzcocks and The Fall).  

While performing in Joy Division, Curtis became known for his quiet and awkward demeanor, as well as a unique dancing style reminiscent of the epileptic seizures he experienced, sometimes even on stage. There were several incidents where he collapsed and had to be helped off stage. 

Joy Division released the critically acclaimed debut album Unknown Pleasures in 1979, and recorded their follow-up Closer in 1980. Suffering from epilepsy, a failing marriage, and bouts of depression, Curtis committed suicide on the eve of Joy Division's debut North American tour. 

In 1995, Curtis's widow Deborah published Touching from a Distance: Ian Curtis and Joy Division, a biography of the singer. His life and death was also dramatized in the 2007 film Control.  

Curtis's memorial stone, which is inscribed with "Ian Curtis 18 - 5 - 80" and "Love Will Tear Us Apart," was stolen in July 2008 from the grounds of Macclesfield Cemetery. A new stone later replaced the missing memorial stone. 

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A former musician, Neil was in the 80's group The Cheaters who were once signed to EMI's Parlophone label, and released three albums. He was also a radio presenter and is still a regular music pundit on various BBC stations. Neil is the founder of the award winning web site This Day in Music which is…

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