Peter Hook talks + plays us through the iconic track
Andrew Trendell

12:45 15th July 2016

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Today marks what would have been the 60th birthday of the late, great Ian Curtis. As the frontman of Joy Division, his life and career may have been short-lived - but the impact and legacy of lyrics and work shall endure. 

Born on 15 July 1956 before tragically taking his own life on 18 May 1980, Curtis left behind a body of songs that would go on to inspire countless more artists and young minds than he could possibly have imagined. 

His dystopian view of a society decaying through the horror of the 20th Century, met with his own personal demons as he struggled to find his place in the world, made for some of the finest existential poetry of the era - and music has never seen his kind since. 

Their most seismic track is arguably the bittersweet 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'. We sat with bassist Peter Hook to play us the song, and tell us what went into writing it. Watch our video below. 

"I think 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' is a very poppy, very 'commercial' I suppose you'd say riff - it's very memorable," Hooky told Gigwise, while touring with The Light. "The thing is that allied to the very dark lyrics in the song, I suppose it makes it very bitter-sweet, it lasts longer than it would have done if it was just a 'normal' pop song.

"It's quite a frightening song lyrically. It's completely at odds with the music. I think that's very Joy Division actually - it sort of lulls you into a false sense of bonhomie and then rips your heart out."

Meanwhile, Peter Hook will be taking Hacienda Classical on the road for the following dates:

31/7/16 The Rainbow Open Air Arena, Birmingham
7/8/16 M25 Festival, Trent Park, London
19/8/16 Herrington Country Park, Sunderland

  • 12. 'The Eternal': This is suggestive of the musical direction that Joy Division were expanding towards. In this penultimate track on their second album, the band show a mature edge, and introduce unusual samples to create an other-worldly, but majestic cut.

  • 11. 'A Means To An End': Proof that Peter Hook's cyclical riffs have a trance-like quality that absorbs the listener, allowing us to meander closer to Ian Curtis' intriguing lyrics.

  • 10.'Twenty Four Hours': There's a desolate feel in this track, which alludes to the depression Curtis was experiencing. The melody that accompany his poetic and introspective lyrics is equally moving.

  • 9. 'New Dawn Fades': The same descending bass riff is looped throughout this track, while Curtis' vocals rise with a wide, expansive atmosphere. The guitar solo at the end has a majestic Led Zeppelin-esque power.

  • 8. 'Transmission': NME places this as No.20 of the greatest indie anthems of all time, and it shows the band at their most anthemic and danceable.

  • 7. 'Disorder': Taken from the 1979 debut album Unknown Pleasures, released via Factory Records, this is quintessential listening for anyone into post punk pioneers.

  • 6. 'Digital': This shows Joy Division at their punkiest. It's Buzzcocks-esque fun with such angular riffs that it's easy to imagine a room full of punks losing themselves and throwing each other around the room while this song plays.

  • 5. 'Shadowplay': A catchy repetitive bass riff, and occasional flashy solos on the lead guitar, interact to create a poignant sound that feels very informed by the post-industrial financial decay of Northern England in the time of Thatcher.

  • 4. 'Isolation': This is a highlight from their second album, Closer. The LP wasn't released until after Curtis passed away, but it showed the band hadn't succumbed to that difficult second album narrative that so many bands today appear to suffer, and ensured they'll be remembered as one of the greatest bands of all time.

  • 3. 'Candidate': A dark and experimental track that evokes Curtis' influence Jim Morrison at his angriest and bluesiest. It's got a slow tempo and has an intensely emotional bleak, Gothic, and psychedelic sound.

  • 2. 'She's Lost Control': Bassist Peter Hook's tendency to play high melodies on the bass informs a lot of Joy Division's sound and he's at his catchiest here. In combination with Curtis' simple lyrics (which document a girl having an epileptic seizure - a condition Curtis himself famously struggled with) it creates a powerful and ominous mood.

  • 1. 'Love Will Tear Us Apart': This is their most well-known and influential song, ranking among Echo And The Bunnymen's 'Killing Moon' as one of the greatest alternative pop songs ever. Its sheer, miserably majesty is unparalleled - setting the template for the dizzying heights that alternative pop was capable of reaching. A true masterpiece.

Grab your copy of the Gigwise print magazine here.

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