Ian Curtis 1980 in 2020

On May 18th 2020 Joy Division’s Ian Curtis has been gone for 40 years. The band’s most famous song, Love Will Tear Us Apart, has been remastered
Ian Curtis Grave

On May 18th 2020 Joy Division’s Ian Curtis has been gone for 40 years. The band’s most famous song, Love Will Tear Us Apart, has been remastered with Peter Saville’s original art work.

Ian Curtis Grave

On the anniversary of Ian’s passing, fans gathered online for the YouTube Premiere of a Peter Hook and the Light Concert – So This Is Permanent


D Major

Ian Curtis did not usually play guitar, but was taught to play a D major chord by the band – and does so, on a Vox Phantom 6, in Love Will Tear Us Apart.

The sheet music is here

The A Chord



The song was listed as the best single of all time by NME in 2002. It was number one in New Zealand in June 1981. Number one in the Triple J Hottest 100 poll in Australia in 1989 and again in 1990.

Single Sleeve

The famous stone angel on the cover is from the Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno in Genoa, Italy, where Constance Wilde (wife of Oscar Wilde) is buried.

Love Will Tear Us Apart

The Grieving Angel

The grieving angel is from the Ribaudo family tomb, sculpted by Onorato Toso in around 1910. Another sculpture from the same cemetery, used for the cover of Closer, can be seen on the Appiani family tomb, sculpted by Demetrio Paernio.

Both photographs were taken by Bernard Pierre Wolff in 1978.

The famous video was shot by the band themselves on 25th April 1980 in T.J. Davidson’s studio, where Joy Division rehearsed.

The Closing Door

At the start of the video, the door that famously opens and shuts is carved with Ian Curtis’ name.

Reign and Hail at John Lewis
Reign and Hail at John Lewis

The song has inspired art work ranging from a Reign and Hail print on sale at John Lewis to a Damien Hirst in the National Galleries of Scotland.

Joy Division on Radio and Film

Ian Curtis talks in his broad Manchester accent in a rare interview on Radio Blackburn BBC


The isolated vocal from Love Will Tear Us Apart sounds almost Irish here

The wonderful film 24 Hour Party People with Steve Coogan as Tony Wilson, shows a funny/tragic fictionalised version of Tony receiving the news of Ian’s sudden passing.

Tony Wilson and Kevin Cummins

Tony Wilson in the 2007 Joy Division documentary can be seen here

Iconic by Kevin Cummins is a fantastic film that not every fan knows about

From Noel Gallagher to the Joy Division Bridge, this is a different take on a well-documented life.

Kevin Cummins was working on the NME as a photographer with Paul Morley in Manchester (and playing in a band with Morley) while Joy Division were starting out.

The first time Cummins saw them, they were called  Stiff Kittens, then the name changed to Warsaw. “And they weren’t very good, really” Cummins remembers with characteristic honesty.

Natalie Curtis, Ian’s daughter appears in this documentary along with members of Joy Division, author and broadcaster Stuart Maconie and Cummins, together with Paul Morley – just some of the intriguing voices on the film.


Images: Wikimedia Commons and named website sources.



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