I can hardly believe that today marks the 35th anniversary of the death of Ian Curtis. In many ways it seems like yesterday. Joy Division where the band that kept me sane during the Falklands conflict in 1982. Their dark mournful post punk sound provided me with an anchor.
Whilst I didn’t really discover the band until after Curtis’s death I still love their albums and I was lucky enough to see Peter Hook and the Light perform a set consisting almost exclusively at last years Bearded Theory festival.
Tonight Peter Hook and the light are playing a show in an old Church in Macclesfield during which they will play Joy Divisions entire 48 song back catalogue in front of 500 people. Man how I would love to be there.
The proceeds from the gig will be donated to the The Epilepsy Society. Curtis was just 23 when he took his own life. I often wonder what the music industry would look like today if Curtis was still around. I have always been convinced that Joy Division were on their way to becoming one of the biggest bands in the world, they certainly left mark, but how much bigger would that mark had been if Curtis was still with us.
Here goes with day 12 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection. They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released. You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions. Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).
Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
Released in 1979 by factory records at the tail end of the punk rock revolution Unknown Pleasures is quite simply a masterpiece, It was a dark, threatening, disturbing angry masterpiece. I suspect that if Ian Curtis had not hanged himself in 1980 we would now be looking back on a vast cannon of work by one of the best bands ever to emerge in the UK. As it is Joy Divisions reputation has reached legendary status. I was lucky enough to catch Peter Hook and the Light earlier this year in a set consisting almost entirely of Joy Division songs. Whilst the exquisite torture of Ian Curtis’s vocal could never be replicated the gig was one of the highlights of my band watching career.
Unknown Pleasures is an intoxicating mixture of musical triumph and personal tragedy that just sweeps you away with its power and intensity. Hooks have thumping basslines, Sumners shrieking guitar and Curtis’s tortured vocals combine to create and atmosphere quite unlike anything I have experienced before or since. Whilst I was in the Navy I served in the South Atlantic and it is no exaggeration to say that losing myself in Joy Divisions Music saved my sanity.
The album’s raw power is still gripping, most notably on the haunting ‘Day Of The Lords’ and ‘She’s Lost Control’, which Curtis, who was epileptic, wrote in sympathy after hearing that a girl he knew with the same condition had died. Even the more upbeat moments on the album make you feel every pained thought in Curtis’s tortured mind.
This album really broke the mould. 40 minutes of pain filled torturous brilliance. I doubt we will ever see its like again.
Oops just realised I accidentally included a pingback to the daily post by accident. Sorry I was trying to do too many things at once.