Joy Division's Ian Curtis Died 40 Years Ago Today

Remembering the influential frontman

Ian Curtis, the massively influential frontman for Joy Division, died 40 years ago today.

Joy Division formed in 1976 amid the UK post-punk scene. The group stood out in large part thanks to Curtis' deep voice, lonely lyrics, and unique dance moves. Artists such as Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails,The CureU2The Killers and Interpol were greatly influenced by Joy Division's sound.

The first Joy Division album, Unknown Pleasures, was released in 1979. Aside from its sonic influences, the record's cover artwork, which features an image of radio pulses, became an iconic image in alternative music, adorning the t-shirts of concertgoers and dorm room walls the world over.

Following Unknown Pleasures, Joy Division recorded a follow-up album, Closer. Leading up to a tour in support of the album, Curtis, who battled epilepsy and depression throughout his life, died by suicide the early morning of May 18, 1980. He was just 23 years old.

In June of 1980, Joy Division released the single "Love Will Tear Us Apart," which became the band's biggest hit and signature song. Closer, which would turn into the final Joy Division album, was released the following month.

Following Curtis' death, the remainder of Joy Division - Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris - formed New Order, which added electronic and synth elements to their post-punk sound.

This afternoon at 3PM ET / 12PM PT, Sumner and Morris will take part in a livestream chat about Curtis' life and legacy. The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers will also join. You can tune in via UnitedWeStream.co.uk.

Meanwhile, Hook, who left New Order in 2007, is streaming a 2015 concert he played with his band The Light, during which he performed Joy Division's entire catalog, today at 12PM ET / 9AM PT via YouTube. The stream will benefit the Epilepsy Society.

RADIO.COM’s I’m Listening initiative aims to encourage those who are dealing with mental health issues to understand they are not alone. If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, know that someone is always there. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-8255.

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