Joy Division

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Joy Division
Also known as Stiff Kittens, Warsaw
Origin Salford, Greater Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Genres Post-punk
Years active 1976–1980
Labels Factory
Associated acts New Order, Peter Hook & The Light
Past members
Ian Curtis
Peter Hook
Stephen Morris
Bernard Sumner

Joy Division were an English punk band. It was made up of Ian Curtis (vocals), Peter Hook (bass guitar), Stephen Morris (drums) and Bernard Albrecht (AKA Sumner, guitar). They came out of the punk music scene around 1976, and in three years time became a band that inspired musicians from bands such as U2, Nine Inch Nails, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Cure.

During the Anarchy in the UK tour, the Sex Pistols played in Manchester on June 4. In the audience that night were three young men living around Manchester: school mates Peter Hook and Bernard Albrecht, and Ian Curtis. A few days later, Hook and Albrecht decided to start up a band, with Hook on bass and Albrecht on guitar. They got Terry Mason as a drummer, but still needed a singer. They placed an ad in the Virgin record shop in Manchester. Curtis answered it and became the singer of the band, called at the time the Stiff Kittens. He would also write the lyrics.

They practiced a lot during a few months, and wrote their first songs. In May of 1977, the band's name was changed to Warsaw and Mason was replaced on drums by Tony Tabac. Just a month later, Tabac left and Steve Brotherdale was hired as new drummer. It was at the same time that Paul Morley of the NME and DJ Rob Gretton found out about the band and saw its potential. Warsaw made a demo tape with five songs in the Pennine Sound Studios in July, but Brotherdale quit the group a few days later.

Finally, Stephen Morris joined the band. In October, they played at the Electric Circus, which was due to close down, along with The Fall and The Buzzcocks.

In December, they recorded four songs, which were to appear later as "An Ideal For Living". In January of 1978 the band changed its name to Joy Division to avoid any confusion with another group. They practised a lot and wrote new songs. On April 14 1978, they played along with 16 bands in a contest. Tony Wilson, who worked for Granada TV, and Rob Gretton liked their performance very much.

In 1979 Joy Division released their first album Unknown Pleasures which was well received by critics. During 1979 and early 1980 their popularity increased. Also in this period lead singer Ian Curtis suffered worsening bouts of illness caused by epilepsy.

The band returned to the studio in 1980 to record their second album Closer and a single "Love Will Tear Us Apart". Before these recordings were released Curtis committed suicide. The unreleased album and single were subsequently released to critical acclaim. The remaining members of Joy Division reformed in 1980 as New Order and enjoyed considerable worldwide success during the 1980s and 1990s.

Many musicians and bands have acknowledged their appreciation of the work of Joy Division including U2 frontman Bono, Moby, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Killers and the song Love Will Tear Us Apart has been covered by many artists from different musical backgrounds and genres.

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