Joy Division

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Joy Division (formed 1976 in Salford, Manchester).

Joy Division was a post-punk band, signed to Manchester-based Factory Records. The line-up of the band consisted of Ian Curtis on vocals, Bernard Sumner on keyboards and guitar, Stephen Morris on drums and Peter Hook on bass guitar. Following Ian Curtis' suicide in 1980, Joy Division was no more. The remaining members of the band went on to form New Order.

Joy Division: Formation

In 1976, Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook both went to see the Sex Pistols play at Manchester's Lesser Free Trade Hall. Inspired by the punk rockers, Hook went out the next day to buy a bass guitar. After placing an advert in the local Virgin Records shop, Ian Curtis was hired as the band's vocalist.

On the advice of the Buzzcocks' manager Richard Boon, the band was originally named The Stiff Kittens. They changed it to Warsaw and it was under this name that they played with Buzzcocks, John Cooper Clarke and Penetration. The drummer in the band at this time was Steve Brotherdale. The rest of the band was unhappy with Brotherdale's aggressive personality. They fired him by pulling over at the roadside after a gig and speeding off whilst he checked a tyre. Stephen Morris was his replacement.

In early 1978, the band changed its name to Joy Division. Their first gig using the name Joy Division was at Pip's Disco, Manchester, in January 1987.

Joy Division: Music Career

At the Stiff/Chiswick Challenge concert at Manchester's Rafters Club in April 1978, Joy Division caught the eye of Tony Wilson and Rob Gretton, partners of Factory Records. Ian Curtis criticised Wilson for not including Joy Division on his TV show So It Goes. Wilson soon included them on a TV show and Gretton took the band on, as their manager.

Joy Division's first EP was entitled An Ideal For Living, which received a favourable review in Melody Maker. September 1978 saw Joy Division appear on Tony Wilson's Granada Reports, and then recording two tracks with Martin Hannett for the compilation A Factory Sample. The band was soon added to Factory Records' roster, joining the likes of A Certain Ratio, Durutti Column and Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark. A couple of months later, Ian Curtis suffered his first of many epileptic seizures.

In early 1979, Joy Division were featured on the front cover of NME, mainly due to the persistent efforts of the journalist Paul Morley. Later that month, Joy Division recorded their first session for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show.

Joy Division's debut album, Unknown Pleasures, was recorded in April 1979 at Strawberry Studios in Stockport, with Martin Hannett at the helm once more as producer and with Peter Saville designing the artwork. The initial pressing of 10,000 copies sold out quickly and the success of the album helped turn Factory into a growing concern in the UK music business. Joy Division also released 'Transmission' as a single, though it was not included on the album.

The band set out on a European tour at the start of 1980, hampered by Curtis' increasingly frequent seizures. Upon their return, they began recording Closer, their second album. They also released 'Licht und Blindheit' on the French independent label Sordide Sentimental.

Ian Curtis unsuccessfully attempted suicide in April 1980 by overdosing on phenobarbitone. The band cancelled forthcoming shows but managed to film a video for their hit single 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', considered by many to be their signature tune. The band's final show was at University of Birmingham on 2nd May that year.

On 18th May 1980, Ian Curtis hanged himself in the kitchen of the home that he shared with his wife Deborah Curtis and their daughter Natalie. 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' was released one month later, followed by the album, Closer.

Joy Division's remaining members carried on as a three-piece, but under the name New Order. A compilation of rare Joy Division tracks was released, under the title Still, in 1981. In 1995, London Records acquired the rights to the band's material, after Factory Records went out of business. They then released Permanent, another compilation, followed by the 1997 box set, Heart and Soul.

Despite their brief existence, Joy Division's posthumous influence has been wide reaching, with bands such as U2, The Cure, Interpol, Editors and Bloc Party acknowledging Joy Division's importance.

In 2002, the film 24 Hour Party People portrayed the lived of a number of people involved in Factory Records. Tony Wilson was played by Steve Coogan and Happy Mondays were another of the Factory bands depicted in the film. In 2007, the film Control was released to great acclaim. The film was directed by Anton Corbjin, who had photographed the band early on in their career. Control was an adaptation of Deborah Curtis' biography of Ian, Touching From A Distance. Ian Curtis is played by Sam Riley, with his mistress, Annik Honore, played by Alexandra Maria Lara and Deborah herself being played by Samantha Morton.

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Seven Greatest British Music Films Of All Time

Queen JOY DIVISION Elton John Beatles

There's going to be a lot of movie nights over the coming weeks as the majority of us find ourselves lawfully confined to our homes. But with lists like this, we doubt you'll find too much to complain about...

1. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Continue reading: Seven Greatest British Music Films Of All Time

Stay In And Rock Out: A Playlist To Get You Through Quarantine

Disturbed My Chemical Romance Nine Inch Nails The Smiths JOY DIVISION REM Dead Kennedys

You're probably stuck at home with little to do, no gigs to go to and no parties to attend, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun. We've put together a completely inappropriate playlist of songs about self-isolation, sickness and the apocalypse so you can have your very own CORVID-19 party. On your own.

Photo Credit: PixabayPhoto Credit: Pixabay

Down with the Sickness - Disturbed

Continue reading: Stay In And Rock Out: A Playlist To Get You Through Quarantine

World Goth Day: Your Ultimate Dark Wave Playlist

Siouxsie And The Banshees The Cure Marilyn Manson JOY DIVISION

World Goth Day is a time to celebrate one of the most iconic music genre movements (and indeed fashion aesthetics) of the 20th century; a movement succeeding the rebellious punk scene, and one that incorporated both experimental and pop aspects to extremely dark effect. Read on for your ultimate goth-influenced playlist:

Arabian Knights - Siouxsie And The Banshees

Siouxsie Sioux was in the vanguard of post-punk, dropping the Banshee's debut album The Scream in 1978. By 1981's landmark record Juju, they had really come into their own, and second single Arabian Knights really highlighted their sensational pop-goth aesthetic.

Continue reading: World Goth Day: Your Ultimate Dark Wave Playlist

From Love & Mercy To Sid & Nancy: 7 Best Musical Biopics Of All Time

Brian Wilson Paul Dano Ice Cube Sam Riley JOY DIVISION Sex Pistols Johnny Cash Chadwick Boseman Bob Dylan

Here at Contactmusic, we can't get enough of a good musical biopic whether it's 'The Runaways', 'The Doors' or 'Nowhere Boy' - the list is endless. There are only a handful, however, that make for a truly evocative and memorable experience of some of the most influential artists in the world.

Here are our seven favourite musical biopics of all time:

Paul Dano in 'Love & Mercy'Paul Dano in 'Love & Mercy'

Continue reading: From Love & Mercy To Sid & Nancy: 7 Best Musical Biopics Of All Time

'Yesterday' Meets 'Gloomy Sunday': 15 Classic Tunes That Will Make You Cry

Nine Inch Nails JOY DIVISION Beatles Eminem

It's an interesting facet of the human condition that we can find beauty and, in some cases, solace in misery and heartbreak. Indeed, musicians have been doing it for years and made a lot of money doing so, simply because we love to wallow in sadness as people. We've put together a dramatic playlist that will no doubt cause you to shed a few tears.

Nine Inch Nails performing at Rock im ParkNine Inch Nails performing at Rock im Park

1. Hurt - Nine Inch Nails

Continue reading: 'Yesterday' Meets 'Gloomy Sunday': 15 Classic Tunes That Will Make You Cry

Album Of The Week: The Legacy Of Joy Division's 'Unknown Pleasures'


It was on this day (June 15th) in 1979 that JOY DIVISION unveiled their iconic debut album 'Unknown Pleasures' via Factory Records; an album that would go on to inspire thousands of musicians, and one with an artwork that has become one of the most famous music-themed T-shirt designs in history.

Joy Division - Unknown PleasuresJoy Division - Unknown Pleasures

Produced by Martin Hannett, 'Unknown Pleasures' unveiled a new sound to the mainstream. Joy Division were among the first post-punk bands to popularise the gothic rock genre and with songs like 'New Dawn Fades', 'She's Lost Control' and 'Shadowplay', the album still has a special place in the hearts of goths and post-punk fans everywhere.

Continue reading: Album Of The Week: The Legacy Of Joy Division's 'Unknown Pleasures'

New Order Album To Feature Guest Stars Including Brandon Flowers

New Order Brandon Flowers Iggy Pop La Roux JOY DIVISION

As well as announcing a short UK tour this autumn, the returning indie veterans New Order have revealed that their upcoming album will feature a number of guest stars from musical past and present.

Music Complete, their ninth studio album, will be coming out on September 25th, the band confirmed last month. On Tuesday (July 7th), however, they teased some more details about the album’s sound, and that it will contain appearances from Brandon Flowers, Iggy Pop and La Roux.

Iggy PopIggy Pop is one of the guest stars who'll appear on the upcoming New Order album 'Music Complete'

Continue reading: New Order Album To Feature Guest Stars Including Brandon Flowers

New Order Announces First Album In Ten Years

New Order Bernard Sumner Peter Hook JOY DIVISION

They’re the band that simply refused to die. Surviving inter-band disputes and departures, the death of singer Ian Curtis and any amount of hiatuses, British post-punk survivors New Order have announced plans for their first album in ten years.

The news follows in the wake of a sold-out tour last summer, and lead singer Bernard Sumner told Rolling Stone: “The shows were being well-received and we were enjoying it. It seemed like the logical thing to do.” Two songs have already been completed, ‘Plastic’ and ‘Restless’, which were debuted during that tour.

Bernard Sumner
New Order's lead singer Bernard Sumner spoke to Rolling Stone magazine

Continue reading: New Order Announces First Album In Ten Years

Peter Hook Blasts New Order For Setting Up Joy Division Twitter

Peter Hook New Order JOY DIVISION

Peter Hook, the original bass player with Joy Division, has blasted New Order for setting up an official Twitter page for the legendary group without his input. Depressingly, the Joy Division page was set up to help flog the newly released Lyrics & Notebooks of late singer Ian Curtis and Hook was understandably incensed. 

Peter HookPeter Hook is not happy

"@neworder Thanks for telling me.. As a member of @joydivision it would have been nice to have been informed" he said on Twitter.

Continue reading: Peter Hook Blasts New Order For Setting Up Joy Division Twitter

Iggy Pop Plays Joy Division Classics With New Order At Tibet Concert

Iggy Pop New Order JOY DIVISION

Iggy Pop was backed by New Order for a rendition of classic JOY DIVISION tracks including Love Will Tear Us Apart at the 24th Annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert at New York's Carnegie Hall on Tuesday night (March 11, 2014). 

Iggy PopIggy Pop Played 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' With New Order

New Order were always slated to appear at the concert, but gig-goers were treated to a surprise appearance from Iggy, who played frontman for the evening. Bernard Sumner and other members of the current New Order guise backed the punk legend through the set, which raised money for a charity that fights to preserve Tibetan culture.

Continue reading: Iggy Pop Plays Joy Division Classics With New Order At Tibet Concert

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