All You Need Is Love (The JAMs Song) - Reviews


The original white label release of "All You Need Is Love" was made "single of the week" in Sounds magazine, who announced that The JAMs had "produced the first single to capture realistically the musical and social climate of 1987". Calling the result "a seething terror ridden pulp", Sounds elaborated: "How have produced a record more powerful than Lydon/Bambaataa's "World Destruction" without laying a finger on a synthesiser or guitar? THEFT! By stealing all the various beats, noises and sounds they've wanted, and building it into their own stunning audio collage, are making a direct assault on the way records are put together."

Underground magazine were also enthusiastic: "This month I'm pleased to say, what's really moving is entirely British. The best groove so far this year is from Scotland and it shows London and New York exactly how it should be done, a one-sided, one-track 12 inch (it doesn't need any dub or instrumentals). 'All You Need Is Love' by The Jamms is more than rife with a bit of The Beatles (with a dash of MC5 and Samantha Fox). It seems to be anti-AIDS, but as I know nothing about the band it could easily be a piss take. Either way this is a superb jam, if you can find it, buy it (it's so dodgily constructed in legal terms that no distributor info is given)."

In a July 1987 review of 1987 (What the Fuck Is Going On?), Q Magazine recalled that the original release of "All You Need Is Love" "seemed an inspired moment of pure wildness. Here were Red Clydeside beatbox rappers pointing a finger at society, putting their record together from samples pirated directly from other people's recordings, while at the same time crossing almost all contemporary music tribal boundaries by including everyone from Samantha Fox to The MC5 among their victims." This was contrasted with 1987 which the reviewer felt was a "disappointment" with "too few ideas being spread too thin".

The re-release of "All You Need Is Love" rewarded The JAMs with further praise, including NME "single of the week", in which Danny Kelly thought that "its maverick requisition of the hip-hop idiom, its fanatical confrontation of copyright laws overrun by music's new technologies, its central subject matters and its termination with the year's most incisively searching question — '1987: what the f**k's going on?' — combine to make 'All You Need Is Love' a triumph of nowness over mere newness" . Reviewing 1987 later in the year, the same writer described "All You Need Is Love" as "mighty" but he was unable to hide his disappointment in the album as a whole: "is it the runaway juggernaut hyperbrill monster crack that the outriding 45 threatened? No."

A retrospective piece in The Guardian called "All You Need Is Love" a "jagged slice of agit-prop" and "shockingly effective", adding that " was a club hit (i.e. everybody danced to it though nobody bought it), and after being re-edited to avoid copyright restrictions, it reached number three in the Indie chart".

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