Joy Division were an English rock band formed in 1976 in Salford, Greater Manchester. Let’s see some amazing facts and trivia about them!
1. Originally named Warsaw, the band consisted of singer Ian Curtis, guitarist and keyboardist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook, and drummer Stephen Morris.
2. On 20 July 1976, childhood friends Sumner and Hook separately attended a Sex Pistols show at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall. The following day Hook borrowed £35 from his mother to buy his first bass guitar.
4. Sumner later said that he felt that the Pistols “destroyed the myth of being a pop star, of a musician being some kind of god that you had to worship”.
5. Inspired by the performance, Sumner and Hook formed a band with their friend Terry Mason, who had also attended the show. Sumner bought a guitar, and Mason a drum kit. They invited schoolfriend Martin Gresty to join as vocalist, but he turned them down after getting a job at a local factory.
6. An advertisement was placed in the Virgin Records store in Manchester for a vocalist. Ian Curtis, who knew them from earlier gigs, responded and was hired without audition. Sumner said that he “knew he was all right to get on with and that’s what we based the whole group on. If we liked someone, they were in
7. To avoid confusion with the London punk band Warsaw Pakt, the band renamed themselves Joy Division in early 1978, borrowing their new name from the prostitution wing of a Nazi concentration camp mentioned in the 1955 novel House of Dolls.
8. In December 1978, the group recorded what became their debut EP, An Ideal for Living, at Pennine Sound Studio and played their final gig as Warsaw on New Year’s Eve at The Swinging Apple in Liverpool.
9. Billed as Warsaw to ensure an audience, the band played their first gig as Joy Division on 25 January 1978 at Pip’s Disco in Manchester.
10. During the Stiff/Chiswick Challenge concert at Manchester’s Rafters Club on 14 April, the group caught the attention of Tony Wilson and Rob Gretton. Curtis berated Wilson for not putting the group on his Granada Television show So It Goes; Wilson responded that Joy Division would be the next band he would showcase on TV.
11. Joy Division took time to develop their style. As Warsaw, they played “fairly undistinguished punk-inflected hard-rock”. Critic Simon Reynolds wrote that their originality only “really became apparent as the songs got slower”. Their music took on a “sparse” quality; according to Reynolds, “Peter Hook’s bass carried the melody, Bernard Sumner’s guitar left gaps rather than filling up the group’s sound with dense riffage and Steve Morris’s drums seemed to circle the rim of a crater.” According to music critic Jon Savage, “Joy Division were not punk but they were directly inspired by its energy”.
12. Curtis was the group’s sole lyricist. He wrote frantically when the mood took him, and then listened to the band’s music (which was often arranged by Sumner) and chose lyrics most appropriate to the sound
13. In contrast to the sound of their studio recordings, Joy Division typically played loudly and aggressively during live performances.
14. The band were unhappy with Hannett’s mixing of Unknown Pleasures, which reduced the abrasiveness of their sound.
15. Despite their short career and cult status, Joy Division have exerted a wide-reaching influence. John Bush of AllMusic argues that Joy Division “became the first band in the post-punk movement by emphasizing not anger and energy but mood and expression, pointing ahead to the rise of melancholy alternative music in the ’80s.
16. Joy Division have been dramatised in two biopics. 24 Hour Party People (2002) presented a fictionalised account of the rise and fall of Factory Records, in which the band served as supporting characters
17. The 2007 film Control, directed by Anton Corbijn, is a biography of Ian Curtis (portrayed by Sam Riley) that uses Deborah Curtis’s biography of her late husband, Touching from a Distance(1995), as its basis.
20. The actors playing Joy Division learned how to play the songs themselves. So the scenes where the band is playing live is not from tape, but actually the actors playing live.
21. Curtis, who suffered from epilepsy and depression, killed himself on 18 May 1980, on the eve of Joy Division’s first North American tour, resulting in the band’s dissolution and the subsequent formation of New Order.
22. Ian Curtis was known for his bass-baritone voice, dance style, and songwriting filled with imagery of desolation, emptiness and alienation.
23. While performing for Joy Division, Ian Curtis became known for his quiet and awkward demeanour, as well as a unique dancing style reminiscent of the epileptic seizures he experienced, sometimes even on stage
24. Curtis was cremated at Macclesfield Crematorium and his ashes were buried. His memorial stone, inscribed with “Ian Curtis 18 – 5 – 80” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, was stolen in July 2008 from the grounds of Macclesfield Cemetery. The missing memorial stone was later replaced by a new stone with the same inscription but in a different typeface.
25. In 1985, New Order released the song “Elegia”, dedicated to Curtis.
26. The words “Ian Curtis Lives” are written on a wall in Wallace Street, Wellington, New Zealand. The message, which appeared shortly after the singer’s death in 1980, is repainted whenever it is painted over.
27. “Unknown Pleasures” was a big influence on U2, then just starting out. In fact, according to Peter Hook, Bono had a typically puffed-up vision about the band. Hook heard that “after Ian [Curtis] had died Tony [Wilson] met Bono somewhere, and Bono was telling Tony not to worry because he would take over from where Ian left off.”
28. There were no singles released from the album. Only ‘She’s Lost Control’ eventually emerged on 7-inch, as the AA-side to ‘Atmosphere’, released a few weeks after Ian Curtis’s death in 1980.
29. ‘She’s Lost Control’ was about a girl with epilepsy – an affliction Ian Curtis shared, of course – who used to come into the Job Centre where Curtis worked. “One day she just didn’t come in anymore,” said Bernard Sumner. “[Ian] assumed that she’d found a job, but found out later that she’d had a fit and died.”
30. A year after the release of ‘Unknown Pleasures’, disco/new-wave diva and early-80s style queen Grace Jones covered ‘She’s Lost Control’ in reggae style. It was released as the B-side of ‘Private Life’, her first UK hit.