18 May 2006

Ian Curtis: July 15, 1956 – May 18, 1980

"Guess the dreams always end
They don't rise up just descend
But I don't care anymore
I've lost the will to want more
I'm not afraid - not at all
I watch them all as they fall
But I remember when we were young"
- from "Insight"

What would Ian Curtis be like today at nearly fifty years old? What would music be like if Ian hadn't touched the world ever so briefly with his genius artistic vision? Can you even imagine?

Twenty-six years ago today Ian Curtis committed suicide by hanging himself in the kitchen of his Macclesfield home. Ian was the lead singer of one of the most influential bands of the past thirty years, Joy Division. His suicide came on the eve of what was to be the band's first ever US tour. Their popularity would have surely changed immensely from such a tour. Their legacy perhaps would've been more immediate as well. Instead, Joy Division died with Ian (and was reborn later as New Order) and would eventually go on to impact countless musicians for decades, for they were a band well ahead of their time.

Joy Division also happen to be one of my very very most favorite bands of all time. When I first started listening to them sometime in 1992 they'd been defunct for twelve years. Music that was over a decade old at the time and yet they seemed so much more vital than anything else I was hearing. They digested the punk ethos and spit it right back in the face of those mohawk wearing Malcolm Mclaren devotees. Theirs was a brand of moody, dark, visceral, post-punk that cut right to the core of emotion. I love the music they made so much that I could listen to Joy Division, and ONLY Joy Division, for months. Here's to Ian's voice, his words, and his ability to touch from a distance.

Joy Division is dead. Long live Joy Division.

Listen:
"Shadowplay"
"Transmission"
"Insight"
"Atmosphere"

The songs above are available on the Joy Division box set Heart and Soul - buy it HERE.

Here's the IMDB page for Control, the soon to be released movie about Ian's life.

5 comments:

Daz said...

RIP Ian
26 years already. God, I feel old.

Sean said...

Nice post Matt. I love Joy Division as well.

Anonymous said...

Today is May 31st, 2006. It seems I've been living on the moon for the past 23 years, as I've never heard of any Joy Division song other than "Love Will Tear Us Apart"; but from the moment when I heard "Warsaw" and "No Love Lost" (this morning) I instantly went out to buy their two albums.

Amazing.


-JK

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