Recording and Release
Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty started working together early in 1987. They assumed alter egos — Kingboy D and Rockman Rock respectively — and adopted the name "The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu" (The JAMs), after the fictional conspiratorial group "The Justified Ancients of Mummu" from The Illuminatus! Trilogy. "All You Need Is Love" was their debut single.
Initially, the song was released as a limited edition one-sided white label promotional 12", on 9 March 1987, by The JAMs' own label The Sound Of Mu(sic). This version included a 15-second sample of The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love", as well as samples of the MC5's "Kick Out the Jams" and Samantha Fox's "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)". The song had been declined by distributors fearful of prosecution, but copies of the white label were sent to DJs and the music press. The identities of Drummond and Cauty were not made known to these recipients (Drummond was actually something of a music business veteran, and Cauty a former member of the much-hyped but unsuccessful band Brilliant). Underground Magazine speculated on this in March 1987: "The whole affair is mysterious, a telephone number only and a threat that the group will soon be releasing more material... 'No, we've not been in bands before, and yes, I suppose we were originally influenced by the Beastie Boys to actually get up and do something...' Too true, but these colonials seem a touch wiser, world weary a bit, but not angry...". In the 28 March 1987 edition, NME revealed King Boy D's identity as Bill Drummond.
The JAMs re-edited the single in such a way that — they hoped — "brought inside the "law" but still got up peoples noses", removing all but a snatch of The Beatles, replacing or doctoring the MC5 sample, and rerecording the Samantha Fox vocal. This new version — named "All You Need Is Love (106bpm)" — was released on 18 May 1987 as JAMS 23T, and was included on The JAMs debut album 1987 (What the Fuck Is Going On?). Indeed, according to Drummond, the recording of 1987 was funded by the sales of "All You Need Is Love (106bpm)".
Read more about this topic: All You Need Is Love (The JAMs Song)
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