Joy Division were an English rock band formed in Salford in 1976. The group consisted of vocalist Ian Curtis, guitarist/keyboardist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook and drummer Stephen Morris.
Sumner and Hook formed the band after attending a Sex Pistols concert. While Joy Division’s first recordings were heavily influenced by early punk, they soon developed a sound and style that made them one of the pioneers of the post-punk movement. Their self-released 1978 debut EP An Ideal for Living drew the attention of the Manchester television personality Tony Wilson, who signed them to his independent label Factory Records. Their debut album Unknown Pleasures, recorded with producer Martin Hannett, was released in 1979.
Curtis suffered from personal problems including a failing marriage, depression, and epilepsy. As the band’s popularity grew, Curtis’s condition made it increasingly difficult for him to perform; he occasionally experienced seizures on stage. He killed himself on the eve of the band’s first US/Canada tour in May 1980, aged 23. Joy Division’s second and final album, Closer, was released two months later; it and the single “Love Will Tear Us Apart” became their highest charting releases.
The remaining members regrouped under the name New Order. They were successful throughout the next decade, blending post-punk with electronic and dance music influences.