30 years ago saw the nationwide debut of one of the most startling and original British bands ever. Even though they stopped when their singer died 8 months later, their influence is growing.
Joy Division were made up of Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Steven Morris and the late Ian Curtis. Bernard, Steven and Peter would go on and reform weeks later under the name New Order.
I had heard “Love Will Tear Us Apart” on the radio a couple of times, but the first time I had come across them was when I bought Substance 1987, which included a couple of songs credited to Joy Division – "Ceremony" and "In A Lonely Place". By the time I tried to get a hold of a Joy Division album, I had bought 2 other New Order albums, "Technique" and "Brotherhood". This brings me to the clip below.
A week after I bought Substance 1988, there was an episode of Sounds of the 70’s which should clearly be subtitled the “punk episode”. Towards the end came this clip, without the John Cooper Clark bit…
The band performed on a programme called “Something Else” on September 15th 1979, and played “Transmission”, their debut single and “She’s Lost Control”. The appearance didn’t really do very much for sales of the single or the album “Unknown Pleasures”, but it did set a benchmark. There was a buzz surrounding “Love will…” even before Curtis’ suicide. However the melodic bass, the digital delay drums pushed to the forefront of the mix and those strange off kilter sounds (the album was recorded in 10cc’s studio in Stockport) makes “Unknown Pleasures” the last great innovative rock record in the British rock cannon.