Music has always been in the presence of tragic cases. Today (18th May 2015) marks the 35th anniversary of Ian Curtis’ suicide after a long battle with depression and epilepsy. His legacy is widely acknowledged and his work as the frontman of Joy Division led to two critically acclaimed albums: Unknown Pleasures (1979) and Closer (1980) along with several singles.
Ian Curtis’ life has featured in such biopics as 24 Hour Party People (2002) and Control (2007) and each depicted a man who constantly internalised his demons. His life struggles were depicted in the poetic lyrics he wrote for such classic songs as “She’s Lost Control”, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and “Atmosphere” and while his on-stage demeanour was always that of a showman, his private life was littered with issues.
As one of indie music’s most influential figures, it’s only fitting that we form a tribute to the 35th year since his passing. In his honour, plasticmag’s staff selected their favourite tracks!
“She’s Lost Control” (12″ version) the b-side to “Atmosphere” (picked by Laura Dean)
One of Joy Division’s most well known tracks was picked by our Reviews Editor, Laura. The song was influenced by Curtis’ experience of meeting a girl with epilepsy (before he was diagnosed with the condition) and features prominently the imitable bass playing of Peter Hook.
“Ice Age” from Heart and Soul (picked by Peter Lawson)
Joy Division’s recordings were incredibly extensive and Peter has chosen one track that wasn’t featured on any of their studio albums: “Ice Age”. The track is a heavy one that packs a punchy drum part, coupled with a doubled-up bass and guitar riff.
“Atrocity Exhibition” from Closer (picked by Matt Hoyle)
“Atrocity Exhibition” was selected as a Closer highlight and is one of Joy Division’s longer pieces. One of the band’s more experimental songs, it includes an undisclosed sound that rattles the teeth and ear-drums and has a rolling drum part to open the album that was released just weeks after Ian Curtis committed suicide.
“Digital” from Still (picked by Jade Collier)
An early live staple, “Digital” features the signature work of Bernard Sumner on guitar and Curtis’ dismal view of the world. The band played this regularly live but it didn’t make it onto their debut album, Unknown Pleasures. Definitely a highlight of the band’s career.
“Day of the Lords” from Unknown Pleasures (picked by Laurence Jones)
Chosen for this article for it’s heavy sound, Laurence has picked “Days of the Lords” – an Unknown Pleasures track that packs a guitar-sized punch with a distorted riff and Curtis’ unmistakable baritone vocals.