A Brief History of Joy Division

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Joy Division was perhaps one of the most promising bands in the English post-punk history. The band was formed in 1976 in Salford, Greater Manchester. The members of the band are Ian Curtis (singer), Bernard Sumner (guitarist and keyboardist), Peter Hook (bass player) and Stephen Morris (drummer). The band was originally called Warsaw. The band was funded by Sumner and Hook after they attended a Sex Pistols concerts. Inspired by their sounds they soon founded one of the most prolific post-punk bands.

They released their debut single in 1978. “An Ideal For Living” caught the attention of Tony Wilson, a Manchester TV personality that later helped the band to sign a contract with Factory Records. The debut album called “Unknown Pleasures” was released in 1979. Soon, the popularity of the band expanded, and their songs were heard at all radio stations.

Unfortunately, as the band gained popularity, the health status of Ian Curtis declined. He suffered from depression and epilepsy. His personal life was also suffering, facing a failed marriage. Soon, it became very difficult for him to perform due to his health condition. He sometimes experienced seizures during the shows. In May 1980, just before they were going to start the American tour, Ian Curtis committed suicide. He was only 23. A few months later the band released the final album called “Closer”. The song called “Love Will Tear Us Apart” from this album soon became a hit. The entire rock world mourned the premature death of Ian Curtis.

Following this tragic event, the band continued under the title of New Order. They were extremely successful and had many songs in the top 50 rankings. This new name was a choice of the entire band. They were all still mourning the premature death of their friend but know they had a huge fan base waiting for new singles and gigs. Ian Curtis was replaced with Morris’s girlfriend, Gillian Gilbert. She was a good friend of the band and used to replace Curtis during shows when his health wasn’t allowing him to perform. Being a former member of The Inadequates, Gilbert was familiar with the post-punk style and helped the band to remain in the top 50.

The debut single of New Oder, called “Ceremony” was released in 1981. The album was formed from the last two songs written together with Ian Curtis. Many critics consider this album as an official farewell from the former band colleagues to their dear friend.

Despite its short existence, Joy Division changed the world of rock forever. The influence they had can still be sensed in many rock songs. Their style was described as “dancing music with Gothic overtone” paved the way for the nowadays Gothic rock. U2 and The Cure declared that one of the most influential bands for their style was Joy Division.

In 2005 both Joy Division and New Order were introduced into the UK Music Hall of Fame.

Joy Division