1. says

    Great band and a great song.

  2. says

    Not my favourite version, but definitely one of my favourite songs.

    I prefer this one

  3. FossilFishy says

    Thanks for this.

    Joy Division was one of those bands that both inspired me and made me want to give up making music. Try as I might, I could never produce anything as original as JD’s music.

    They’re also a band that makes me profoundly uncomfortable. Their music was deeply informed by the suffering that Ian Curtis felt, a suffering that he succumbed to in the end. Part of me feels that I should not be entertained by another’s pain. Then again, part of me realizes that hearing that pain expressed in such a moving manner helped me deal with my own suffering. Complicated feelings for a complicated band.

  4. AnthonyK says

    Meh, never really did it for me. He couldn’t sing (not in itself a disqualification) was an utter miserabalist (ditto) and well..give me, oh, I don’t know madness, or, better,
    the clash.
    Ian Curtis, joyless twat, IMO. And I saw the Clash, on that tour, performing that song (in a hail of spit) – one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen.

  5. AnthonyK says

    Also, he killed himself. Rarely a monument to a great life, well lived.

  6. bdobbsthepipe says

    “Also, he killed himself. Rarely a monument to a great life, well lived.”

    Like Vincent van gogh, David foster wallace and Alan turing, What useless human being they were. Unlike you!

  7. FossilFishy says

    Rarely a monument to a great life, well lived.

    Since when has a “great life, well lived” been a requirement for great art?

    Oh, and as much as I love The Clash, Joe Strummer was ,IMO, a self-righteous windbag.

    To be clear, I’m not trying to justify my admiration for Joy Division’s music, or convince you that I’m right by stating these things. My point is that the personalities and personal lives of the people making the music are a pretty minor consideration in whether or not I enjoy a band.

  8. 86Gator says

    Thanks PZ! I am huge JD fan — discovered them at 19 in college. Instantly became my favorite band — 27 years later, they are still my favorite band. That’s also the same time I ditched all pretense about thinking that God may exist. Good times…

  9. epicureanparadox says

    I like the song, but I have to agree with AnthonyK, yikes! A joyless twat indeed. I’ll take the more upbeat music of Madness, Bad Manners, or my all time fave, Big Country! Like this one.I love how the ENTIRE crowd start jumping at the 1min mark
    Stuart Adamson killed himself too. What a waste.

  10. WowbaggerOM says

    Amazing, amazing song. I saw New Order play live a few years back and I was surprised – but also pleased – to hear them do a version of this.

  11. DeadGuyKai says

    Judging from what I’ve read about him, Ian was not a miserable person. Recently I read an interview with Hooky where he said that looking back at it, doctors now say the drug regimen he was taking for his epilepsy was “guaranteed to kill him.” His personal life was also a mess – he was in love with a woman other than his wife, with whom he’d had just had a daughter.

    Barney has said that they had no clue that Ian was in bad shape until his first attempt to kill himself a few weeks before he succeeded with attempt #2. Apparently they weren’t really paying much attention to the lyrics he was writing for Closer or for “In a Lonely Place”.

    Personally, when you read what they’re saying, I think you can almost taste the guilt the three of them are still carrying around about Ian.

  12. under.neon.loneliness says

    Oh man if I’d known I’da thrown Woychek in the DVD player.

  13. Alex P. says

    An excellent band, and this is coming from a guy who usually listens to death metal. If he could sing, the band would have been worse for it. His voice gave the band an ethereal, creepy feel. You might as well replace Thom Yorke with Brandon Flowers.

  14. salon_1928 says

    I love Joy Division. When I listen to them I always get the sense that it was 4 guys who were really clueless about making music. Sometimes a shambles, usually interesting, occasionally brilliant.

  15. quickstep911 says

    I’ve read this blog for more than a few years. Wanted to post many times but get intimidated because I’m just an armchair scientist. I’m lucky to have had the right influences (a great husband #1), the right books at the right age (Demon Haunted World)and the right family (a non-preachy, mellow materialist dad and grandpa). On music I feel less intimidated to add my 2 cents. I saw this post and my heart sank. I love Ian Curtis/Joy Division music. It might seem overrated or ‘what’s the big deal’ 30 years later but try to hear this music and his delivery from the ears of a 1978er. Imagine the music at the time. Hipsters are still trying to be this cutting edge, talented and cool….and oh. religion is b.s. it’s not about rebellion against god. there just is no god to rebel against. it would be nice & sooooo much easier to know that if i act like at modest little good girl, eternal life will be my reward. but, that just isn’t so. all we have is now. be nice to people. fight fundamentalism and superstition. as a lefty i am so glad that Christians have made some been some progress!

  16. mirroreyes says

    I’m happily surprised to see this posted here. Also a little drunk on single malts (in honor of Ian of course).

    Discovering this music when I was a wee thing is perhaps the primary moment that got me thinking outside the tiny little box that most people grow up in. So different, simple and powerful.

    I see Joe Strummer mentioned above as well, he’s another of my significant influences. Thanks much for being fallible and human Joe and Ian, you put a light on things that most people are afraid to even hint at, and never tried to look the hero.

    Also thanks to PZ for posting it, you just got a notch cooler than atheist superhero in my book :)

  17. Wormman says

    And thanks to Mikey Robbins I can no longer hear this song without thinking “Dogs . . . Dogs will tear us apart . . . again”

  18. 86Gator says

    It would be folly to try and list my favorite JD songs but Wanderfound @ #17 is on the right track for sure! But, can’t leave out Decades, Isolation, Dead Souls, These Days, Disorder, … ,well, like I said, too difficult a task to put them in any kind of order! I am just all giddy that there appears to be more than few JD on here — that pleases me to no end :)

  19. pinkboi says

    I never would expect a biology professor to have good taste in music. Wow. JD is what kept me alive back in high school (even though Ian Curtis died several years before I was born).

    Tragically, none of his friends were there for him except perhaps G.P.O., everyone being at the same funeral (according to G.P.O.).

  20. hermetically sealed says

    Here’s a tribute to Ian Curtis: A cover of “Atmosphere” with photos of Banksy’s graffiti art:

  21. Alex P. says

    @23 Why would a biology professor not have good taste in music? There’s lots of great music that draws its inspiration from the realm of science.

  22. Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM says

    Here is there earliest single Warsaw from when they were called Warsaw. It was rather rare for a long time until the EP was made part of the Heart Ans Soul box set. The EP shows off just how much they were influence by VU in their early days.

    Just for the hell of it, here is Leaders Of Men.

  23. Brownian, OM says

    I just saw the Absolut Vodka commercial with “Ceremony” for the first time tonight.

    How unlikely.

  24. TrineBM says

    Brings back memories. Thank you PZ.
    And reminds me of an old LP I’ve got at home, with a rare print of some outtakes and stuff. Must dig in LP-stash

  25. says

    I discovered Joy Division (about whom I had heard quite a lot before) while on holidays in the UK. And learned about Ian Curtis’ death just after that. Quite a shock, actually. And “Love will tear us apart” was in the charts, which was rather unlikely for this ethereal song.

    And there was another good singer who died almost at the same time as Curtis: Malcolm Owen, of the Ruts. Largely and rather unfairly forgotten today.

  26. Georgia says

    Awww.. PZ, here I was thinking you would be talking about David A. Johnston and Reid Blackburn.

  27. FossilFishy says

    Janine, there are two Warsaw tracks on the Substance compilation. Mind you, I suspect that the CD version of Substance has been re-mixed. It sounds a bit different from the original album versions.

  28. TimKO,,.,, says

    My opinion of you, PZ has changed!

    It would’ve made sense to rename St Helens after Curtis, since he hung himself the day the mtn changed (the peak is already named for a brit, Alleyne Fitzherbert, Lord St Helens).

    I was also wondering when you were going to post the lyrics to the Damned’s 1979 classic Antipope:

    There’s gonna be some fun tonight,
    spreading news around the town
    that the vicar’s a transvestite
    with a fetish for robes and gowns.

    I’ve got nothing against church
    or any people who go there and show they’re
    plain ignorant and don’t understand;
    a congregation that at weekends
    will change their behaviour.
    So many people are weak enough
    to have to seek answers from pedlars of hope.
    I should know, I used to go there myself –
    that’s ’til the day I became antipope.

    Religion doesn’t mean a thing,
    it’s just another way of being right wing.
    I think sex films are okay.
    I don’t dig that pope, no way!

  29. Bernard Bumner says

    I’m going to see Peter Hook and his band perform the entire of Unknown Pleasures tonight at Fac-251, the old Factory offices in Manchester.

    It should be a pretty moving event.

  30. Jason in Poland says

    Supposedly, Iggy Pop’s The Idiot was left on Ian Curtis’ turntable when he killed himself. So, this may be the last song he listened to before he did it:

    I happen to love Joy Division. But I don’t think they were as good as this. I wonder what Ian thought.

  31. Donf says

    To say The Clash were a better band than Joy Division?!
    You might just as well tattoo “Kvnt” on your forehead.

    “Joyless twat” ?! Shallow moron.

  32. RichardF says

    Love this song, and for me, JD’s version is the best.

    And if you don’t like Joy Division, heck that’s fine. Each to their own. Me, I like The Clash and Joy Division. No need to be particular, one way or the other. Just a matter of moods.

  33. black-wolf72 says

    OT: I just read that Pakistan has severed the internet connection to Facebook. Some lawyers got a judge to order the disconnect because there was drawing contest for pictures of Muhammad on FB.

    Gotta love our brave allies. Get shot up and bombed by the Taliban and other medieval-minded primitivists in their own country but cave in at every twitch by some deranged censorship masturbator. They just don’t get it.

    The first comment on my local discussion forum (translated): “oh, they should have seen that coming. They knew there was a picture prohibition, and they’re just provoking the extremists. You must have appropriate respect for their deep faith.”

    I pondered going to the bathroom to puke at so much nonsense, but I rather chose to write a poignant response. If it gets posted, I expect the commenter not to get my point. I also don’t really expect him to be able to explain why we must have respect for deep faith. Especially when it’s about everyone else’s freedom to view what they like or don’t like. Facebook didn’t force anybody to draw Muhammad, and they didn’t force a single person to view the drawings either. This is precisely what sectarian Islamic “law” specifies as forbidden, and yet these pathetic apologists for censorship jump at the first cue.

  34. Ol'Greg says

    I love Joy Division.

    I would never have know who they were if it weren’t for a joke in some movie poking fun at some depressed looking person and I though “Hey, I’m depressed maybe I should check them out!”

  35. Donf says

    I like both The Clash and Joy Division, too. But I wouldn’t say judging the quality of music was simply a matter of moods.
    No problem people not liking Joy Division, either, but to dismiss them as miserabilist is pig ignorant.

  36. bbgunn071679 says

    I guess I’m officially a geezer. I never really acquired a taste for the 80’s British punk and pop stuff.

    Give me the Kinks and I’ll be fine.

  37. naddyfive says

    If you think JD’s music is too miserable, don’t listen to PiL!

    That era was great, there was good stuff coming out of America at that time, too. Especially NYC. D.N.A., for one. The Y Band. Dinosaur L. Teenage Jesus and the Jerks. I could go on all day…

  38. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Joy Division were okay. If they’d had a lead singer who could actually sing they’d have been better, but other than that they were okay. Not great, not bad, just okay.

  39. mikerattlesnake says

    Ooh, a No-Wave fan! Hooray!

    I’ve never really liked Joy Division but Love Will Tear Us Apart is a fantastic song.

  40. Wyrm says

    The Clash and Joy Division were both great. Not just “okay” to my ears. Singing, schminging, Emotion counts too.

    The Clash made several more albums than Joy Division, so it’s hard to compare them based on “quality”. There are great bootlegs from both bands too.



  41. ross.p.kettle says

    @hermetically sealed

    The wall at the start of the video is just around the corner from my home. The “Ian Curtis Wall” has been there as long as i can remember. It did move once, to a different wall on the same street. It used to just say “Ian Curtis”. It was painted over regularly and was replaced with the words every time. Eventually it moved and acquired some more biographical details and is now on a wall that isn’t privately owned and seems to be static now.

  42. stevieinthecity#9dac9 says

    One of the best bands ever. And they became New Order after his death. Also one of the best bands ever.

    Almost named my son Ian.

    When I saw U2, at the beginning of their epic Joshua Tree tour, they covered this song.

    There’s a great series of Radiohead videos on youtube of them covering Joy Division and other. They’re fantastic.

  43. Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM says

    FossilFishy, for a long time, the copy of the Warsaw EP I had was a cassette copy from a friend. His EP had the same wood carving that Joy Division used for Closer. I know the EP was included in Substance but I had to go with Heart And Soul.

    I will stop geeking out now.

  44. Ol'Greg says

    Something about Curtis’s lyrics reached me in a way The Clash never did. Somehow I also feel more connected to his poor singing. As if he really meant for you to listen even if it sounds like crap, listen anyway.


    But I have weird taste. Hell, I listened to Christian Death too so what do I know.

  45. Brownian, OM says

    There’s a great series of Radiohead videos on youtube of them covering Joy Division and other. They’re fantastic.

    I like that cover. It’s truer to the Joy Division version than the New Order one on the Substance compilation. I can honestly say that “Ceremony” is probably my favourite song (or at the least tied with “Music for a Found Harmonium” by Penguin Cafe Orchestra), as I can listen to it on repeat for lengths of time and not get bored. (An aside: it was on an iPod playlist that I’d listen to while on the elliptical at the gym. The problem was that I’d get way too into it and air-drum the fill just before the outro, which I needed my hands for, and so I’d lose my balance and fall off the machine. I had to start going to the gym when no-one else was around just so I could air-guitar my ass off and not injure anyone else with my joyously wild flailing.)

    Since we’re on the topic of 80’s New Wave, I’d been meaning to ask tutone21 if s/he takes the handle from music like The Beat.

  46. Dust says

    Anthony K @5

    “Also, he killed himself. Rarely a monument to a great life, well lived.”

    Hey Anthony K…..FUCK YOU!

    Suicidal behaviour happens to people who are suffering from depression–and many suicides had lived “great lives”.

    Just fuck off.

  47. docrick11 says

    Dammit PZ-just when I thought you and the others here couldn’t get any cooler……….