Personalities | Joy Division | Seventies | Rock

(Vocal group, 1976–80)

One of the UK’s most important post-punk bands, Joy Division’s often bleak and claustrophobic music continues to inspire and influence. Enthused by The Sex Pistols’ legendary first Manchester gig in 1976, school friends Bernard Sumner (guitar) and Peter Hook (bass) formed Stiff Kittens, quickly renamed Warsaw. Recruiting Ian Curtis (vocals) and Steven Morris (drums), they became Joy Division in late 1977.

Working with maverick producer Martin Hannett for independent label Factory Records, they arrived at a unique sound that varied significantly from their live shows. Unknown Pleasures (1979) was immediately hailed as a classic by the British music press whilst Closer (1980) was richer in texture but no less austere in outlook. Standalone single ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ went Top 20 but only after Curtis, who suffered from epilepsy, hanged himself in May 1980, ending the band’s career. The others went on to form New Order.

Styles & Forms | Seventies | Rock
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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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