A well-known English Post-Punk band.Joy Division was formed after guitarist Bernard Sumner and bassist Peter Hook attended a Sex Pistols concert in Manchester on 4 June 1976, and were inspired to form a band. The additions of vocalist Ian Curtis and drummer Stephen Morris completed the line-up. Initially named Warsaw (under which name they recorded an unreleased album, later bootlegged), the band changed its name to Joy Division in late 1977, which got them in trouble at first because of its fascist overtones.As Joy Division, they recorded an EP which was basically punk with literary lyrics. This and playing around Manchester brought the group to the attention of Tony Wilson, and they joined his record label Factory Records. After a month in the studio with producer Martin Hannett, who completely changed their sound, their debut album Unknown Pleasures was released in 1979. In between touring, their second album Closer was released in 1980. Both were critically acclaimed.However, the relentless touring was having a negative effect on the band. Vocalist Ian Curtis was an epileptic who sometimes suffered seizures during concerts, leading to their cancellation. His lack of sleep and alcohol abuse only added to his severe depression, and he committed suicide on 18 May 1980 (supposedly after watching Stroszek on the TV and listening to Iggy Pop's The Idiot).Since they had a made a pact to change their name if anyone left, the rest of the band members renamed themselves New Order, alongside Morris' girlfriend (now wife), keyboardist and guitarist Gillian Gilbert.The band are portrayed by actors in the movies 24 Hour Party People and Control. The former is a biopic of Factory Records' head Tony Wilson, with Joy Division playing a major role in the first part of the film. The latter is a biopic of Ian Curtis himself.
Principal Members (Founding members in bold):
Ian Curtis - lead vocals, guitar, melodica (1976-1980, died 1980)
Peter Hook - bass, backing and lead vocals, guitar (1976-1980)
Cloudcuckoolander: Producer Martin Hannett. Various legends state that Hannett forced drummer Stephen Morris to take apart his drumkit and reassemble it with toilet parts, made Morris continue recording for an hour after the rest of the band finished a song, set up his drumkit on the studio's first-floor roof, and once went on a hill to record "silence" for an extended period of time.
So that's why Jello Biafra said in the beginning of the Dead Kennedys track 'Nazi Punks Fuck Off' "Nazi Punks Fuck Off overproduced by Martin Hannett take 4".
Hannett's heroin addiction is often cited as either crucial to his signature sound, or mysteriously irrelevant. Joy Division's legend nurtures profuse theories: among the more popular is that epilepsy somehow kindled Ian Curtis' songwriting prowess (in this instance, the Trope Name might seem apropos: until you give it a bit more thought, and realize it's irrelevant).
Even before he started seriously using heroin in the early '80s, Hannett was known to indulge in large quantities of hash, though his stoned behavior was pretty much identical to his sober behavior.
Intentionally Awkward Title: The band's name comes from the prostitution wing of a Nazi concentration camp from the 1955 novel The House of Dolls.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: If 24 Hour Party People and Control are any indication, the band's manager Rob Gretton seemed to have been one of these. He had an abrasive, aggressive personality, but also had his bands'/record labels' best interests at heart.
Lyrical Dissonance: "Isolation" is quite a bouncy synth-pop tune really, as is "Love Will Tear Us Apart."
Madness Mantra: "Day in, day out, day in, day out, day in, day out..."
Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: usually 6-7, sometimes up to an 8. Their songs pretty much all had lyrics that were... less than happy, but the level varied somewhat. However, a general lack of profanity or EXPLICIT references to sex or violence (not to mention the poetic nature of the lyrics) keeps them from reaching the highest end of the scale.
Talent Double: Averted by the actors in Control; they played the songs themselves, helped by there being plenty of Three Chords and the Truth songs. Sam Riley (who portrayed Curtis) having been the lead singer of a rock band once beforehand may have helped also.
Those Wacky Nazis: An Ideal for Living's artwork, deliberately intended to create controversy over whether the band was a Nazi band, which they weren't (this is referenced in 24 Hour Party People as well). Also, 'Warsaw', one of the songs from this EP, is about Rudolf Hess.
Vocal Evolution: Compare Ian's voice on the "Ideal For Living" EP to when the band starting recording with Martin Hannett. Ian's voice lowers dramatically.
Worst Aid: Allegedly a contributing factor in Curtis' demise. Sumner has stated that he thinks the inadequate treatment given to Curtis for his epilepsy led to his suicide. Plus the scenes of Ian being dragged back stage while having a fit in 24 Hour Party People aren't far from the truth.
Adequate treatment would have entailed Ian refraining from live performance. He must have felt obligated to continue, regardless of whether he'd been explicitly pressured. For the still-developing band, not touring was not an option.
Also, much less was known about epilepsy back in The Seventies. All taken into account, Ian was probably lucky to a certain extent.
Control endorses this view as well, showing both Curtis being given phenobarbital for his epilepsy, which even by the 1970s was considered a less-then-ideal treatment option.