Joy Division were an English rock band formed in 1976 in Salford, Greater Manchester. Originally named Warsaw, the band primarily consisted of Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals) and Stephen Morris (drums and percussion).
The bands history is a long and interesting one.
- On the 21st of July 1976 Terry Manson, Sumner and Hook started a bank and placed a ad for a vocalist, Ian responded and was hired without audition.
- They played their first gig under the name Warsaw on the 29th May 1977 in support of Buzzcocks, which The band received national exposure due to reviews of the gig in the NME.
- After going through another two drummers in August 1977 they placed a ad in a local newsagent looking for a new drummer in which Stephen Morris responded, With this addition Warsaw become a "complete family" and decided to change their name to avoid confusion with London punk band Warsaw Pakt and renamed themselves Joy Division.
- Billed as Warsaw to ensure an audience, the band played their first gig as Joy Division on 25 January 1978 at Pip's Disco in Manchester.
- From here Joy Division went from strength to strength touring and writing two albums "Unknown Pleasures (1979 through Factory Records)" and Closer (1980 also through Factory Records at first) though this was released after a major event in Joy Division's short life span. In this time they also released some major singles such as "Love Will Tear Us Apart" which was named NME's top single of all time in 2002.
- From here things started to go downhill, During January 1980 during touring Curtis found out that touring was becoming a problem and he suffered two breakdowns and was diagnoses as having epilepsy. He then managed to recorded Closer but lack of sleep and long hours destabilised Curtis's epilepsy and his seizures became almost uncontrollable.
- The band tried to continue with touring but Ian's illness was uncrontroable and he often had seizures during shows which left him depressed and ashamed. This led to Ian attempting suicide by overdose on the 7th April.
- Joy Division were due to begin their first American tour in May 1980. Ian feigned excitement about the tour around the band because he did not want to disappoint his band mates or Factory Records
- At the time, Curtis's relationship with his wife, Deborah Curtis was collapsing. Contributing factors were his ill health, her being mostly excluded from his life with the band, and his relationship with a young Belgian woman named Annik Honoré whom he had met on a European tour.
- The evening before Joy Division were to embark on the American tour, Curtis returned to his home in Macclesfield in order to talk to his estranged wife. He asked her to drop the divorce suit she had filed; later, he told her to leave him alone in the house until he caught his train to Manchester the next morning. Early on the morning of 18 May 1980, Curtis hanged himself in his kitchen.
- The aftermath of Ian's death had its ups and downs, Factory Records released their single "Love Will Tear Us Apart" which hit 13 of the Uk singles charts and "Closer" which peaked at 6th on the UK albums chart.
- The members of Joy Division had made a pact long before Curtis's death that, should any member leave, the remaining members would change the name of the group and with that, started a new band "New Order" which went on to achieve commercial success.
- Joy Division managed to progress their sound throughout their career. At the start when they were still named Warsaw they were classified as "fairly undistinguished punk-inflected hard-rock".
- Critic Simon Reynolds asserted that "Joy Division's originality really became apparent as the songs got slower." The group's music took on a "sparse" quality.
- Sumner described the band's characteristic sound in 1994: "It came out naturally: I'm more rhythm and chords, and Hooky was melody. He used to play high lead bass because I liked my guitar to sound distorted, and the amplifier I had would only work when it was at full volume. When Hooky played low, he couldn't hear himself. Steve has his own style which is different to other drummers. To me, a drummer in the band is the clock, but Steve wouldn't be the clock, because he's passive: he would follow the rhythm of the band, which gave us our own edge."[Over time, Ian Curtis began to sing in a low, baritone voice, which often drew comparisons to Jim Morrison of The Doors (one of Curtis's favourite bands). - Quoted from Wikipedia.
- During the recording sessions for Closer, Sumner began using self-built synthesizers and Hook used a six-string bass for more melody.
- Producer Martin Hannett "dedicated himself to capturing and intensifying Joy Division's eerie spatiality.
- In the end they were classified as Post Punk but people argue that they really had their own musical style.
- Similar bands in terms of style and sound are Human League, when they still had band members Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory and The Sound also New Order though New Order is all the members of JD except from Ian Curtis.
Below is a song by The Sound.
Joy Division were around during the early wave of music videos, Only two official music videos were produced by the band and their record label with a lot of fan videos and live performance videos released on a series of formats such as live DVD's and Youtube videos.
So far JD has only released a video for their songs "Atmosphere" which was directed by Anton Corbijn and "Love Will Tear Us Apart" which was directed by the band themselves.
These are link's to the video for Love Will Tear Us Apart embedding is disabled for the video.
Both these videos are quite different as one is a performance video and the other is a concept video.
- Love Will Tear Us Apart - This video features a opening of a POV shot of someone walking up some stairs to a door, a hand opens the door from the other side and the door jumps between opening and closing as well as the colour changes from red to white. After this the rest of the video is a simple performance video focusing mainly on the different band members with close ups of instruments. They is a part in the video where the colour go brown, though the band released that this wasn't intentional and was a problem with the footage.
- Atmosphere - This video i shot entirely in black and white and is a concept video. It is a series of shots of different events that don't seem to relate to the lyrics at all. It follows a group of monds with robes coloured black and white, at some points it looks like they are children in the robes. They are a few shots of the band but are only stills and at some points these stills are embossed on black objects carried by people.
- This is a extract from the book "Money for Nothing" by Saul Austerlitz. "Corbijn's mystical side found a fitting client in the mournful posthumous video he shot for Joy Division's "Atmosphere" in 1988. In a landscape of dead trees and heavy shadows, the remaining members of the group watch as diminutive monks trudge through the desert, marching in packs while bearing their burdens through the still wilderness. the monks carry large-then-life photographs of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis (Who committed suicide in 1980). "Atmosphere" is a belated funeral procession, its medieval religious feeling a fitting tribute to the austerity and high moral purpose of post punk heroes Joy Division. Curtis is designated a monk of pain himself there, trudging through the desert of whos own aching psyche, and the relative disparity in size between Curtis and those who honor him is no accident; by "Atmosphere's" dint, Curtis was a giant among midgets"