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Song Stories

“Love Will Tear Us Apart”

Joy Division | 1980

This haunting ode to romantic melancholia was the crowning moment in Joy Division's brief career, but Ian Curtis wasn't around to savor its success. "Love Will Tear Us Apart" was released just prior to the British postpunk group's 23-year-old frontman hanging himself two days before the band's scheduled first U.S. tour. "Ian's influence seemed to be madness and insanity," said Joy Division guitarist Bernard Sumner -- who, with his surviving bandmates, carried on as the worldwide successful New Order.

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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