Joy Division’s Ian Curtis Lives On In These Covers of “Love Will Tear Us Apart”

David Bowie, U2, the Cure, Iggy Pop and more take on the post-punk classic.

On May 18, 1980, Ian Curtis, lead singer and chief songwriter of Joy Division, committed suicide by hanging. He was 23 years old.

As post-punk’s premiere powerhouse, Joy Division were poised to embark on their first North American tour the very next day. Alas, on top of musical and business pressures, Curtis battled epilepsy and a crumbling marriage, thus prompting him to make the ultimate tragic choice. While nothing makes up for so heartbreaking a loss, Ian Curtis lives on through the continuing impact and influence of Joy Division in both music and our culture at large.

Even the cover art for their 1979 masterwork Unknown Pleasureswhite radio pulses depicted against a stark black background—has become one of the great icons in all of rock in recent times, to the point that in 2012 Disney issued its own parody shirt!

Above all there is the music, and of Joy Division’s sadly limited number of releases, one anthem unquestionably looms largest: “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”

“Love Will Tear Us Apart” – Joy Division

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