Joy Division

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Joy Division

Biography

Joy Division were an English rock band formed in 1976 in Salford, Greater Manchester. Originally named Warsaw, the band consisted of singer Ian Curtis, guitarist/keyboardist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook and drummer Stephen Morris.

Formed by Sumner and Hook right after they attended a Sex Pistols gig, Joy Division transcended their punk roots to pioneer a complex post-punk sound that incorporated synthesisers, dub-influenced production values, and haunting melodies. Their self-released 1978 debut EP, An Ideal for Living, drew the attention of the Manchester television personality Tony Wilson. The sleeve's Germanic imagery drew criticism and speculation on their politics, not helped by later name changes. Joy Division's debut album Unknown Pleasures was released in 1979 on Wilson's independent label Factory Records. Aided by Martin Hannett's sparse production, it was a critical success with the British music press.

Despite this early acclaim, Curtis suffered from severe depression and personal difficulties, including a broken marriage and epilepsy. In particular he found it increasingly difficult to perform at live concerts, during which he often suffered seizures. In May 1980, on the eve of the band's debut American tour, Curtis, aged 23, committed suicide. Closer, Joy Division's second and final album was released two months later; the album and preceding single "Love Will Tear Us Apart" became the band's highest charting releases. After Curtis's death, the remaining members continued as New Order, achieving critical and commercial success. Today Joy Division are seen as one of the most influential bands of the late 1970s.

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