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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

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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