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Monday, 22 February 2010

Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart

'Love Will Tear Us Apart' is a song by the British post-punk band Joy Division. 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' was written in August and September 1979, and debuted when the band supported Buzzcocks on their UK tour in September and October 1979. It is one of the few songs in which singer Ian Curtis played guitar (albeit somewhat minimally). The lyrics ostensibly reflect the problems in Ian Curtis's marriage to Deborah Curtis, as well as his general frame of mind in the time leading up to his suicide in May 1980. Deborah Curtis had the phrase 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' inscribed on Ian Curtis's memorial stone.

The song was first released in April 1980 and, after Curtis's suicide that May, became the band's first chart hit, reaching number 13 in the UK. It also debuted at number 1 in New Zealand in June 1981. The band postponed their US tour after his death, performed a few short sets as The No-Names, then finally renamed the group as New Order.

'Love' was re-released in 1983 and reached number 19 on the UK charts and re-appeared at number 3 in New Zealand during March 1984. In November 1988, it made one more Top 40 appearance in New Zealand, peaking at number 39.

'Love Will Tear Us Apart' appears on the Substance compilation album. It was first recorded for a John Peel session in November 1979, then re-recorded in January 1980 and March 1980. It is the latter version that appears on Substance. The January 1980 version originally appeared as the single's B-side.

In 1995, to publicise the release of Permanent, the track was reissued, complete with a new remix done by Arthur Baker and a new radio edit, also known as the Permanent Mix. On September 24, 2007, the single was again reissued, in its original configuration. This time, it was to publicise the Collector's Edition re-issues of the band's three albums. Although the single was now issued on the Warner label, it retained all the classic Factory packaging, down to the FAC 23 catalogue number.

'Love Will Tear Us Apart' has remained popular and was listed by NME magazine as the best single of all time in 2002. The song was listed by Rolling Stone magazine at number 179 in its top 500 songs of all time. In May 2007, NME placed it at number 19 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever, one place ahead of another Joy Division song, 'Transmission'. The song reached number 1 in the inaugural Triple J Hottest 100 music poll of 1989 and again in 1990. When being interviewed for New Order Story, Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys stated that 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' was his favourite pop song of all time. He also mentioned several New Order songs in the same dialogue.

The song has also been used in television programs and in films, such as the 2001 film Donnie Darko, in a pivotal scene before Donnie has to leave his girlfriend in order to save her. The song is included in the indie film Wristcutters, which takes place in an afterlife for people who have committed suicide. It was also included in a film about the Manchester music scene, 24 Hour Party People, during several scenes about the band and Curtis's suicide. It is heard in the Doctor Who episode "School Reunion." The film Series 7: The Contenders features a music video for the song which characters explain as being part of a school project. Their homemade music video is in the style of a cheaply made '80s video with actors dressed in stereotypical goth fashion. In the sci-fi comedy radio series Undone, the song is performed as a chime on an ice cream van. On November 11, 2009 it was featured in the opening scene of the television series Criminal Minds, season 5 episode 7: "The Performer"

'Love Will Tear Us Apart' was eventually performed by New Order (though not for 18 years after Curtis's suicide) and has been covered by many artists including Mark Owen, Nerina Pallot, Hawksley Workman, Calexico, The Cure, Swans, Unbroken, Nouvelle Vague, Heavens, Fall Out Boy, José González, Red Mecca, Yat-Kha, Stanton Miranda, U2, Arcade Fire, REVERE, Squarepusher, Honeyroot, Chris Edwards, Susanna and the Magical Orchestra, Moonspell, The Blood Divine, Simple Minds, Oysterband with June Tabor, Paul Young, Jamie Cullum, Evelyn Evelyn and In the Nursery. The song 'Let's Dance to Joy Division' by UK act The Wombats was inspired by 'Love Will Tear Us Apart,' as is obvious from the parodied cover of The Wombats' single.

On the video for the song, at the very beginning, the door that swings open and shut has the initials of the band members carved into it. The video was shot by the band themselves as they recorded the song. It includes production errors with colour being 'browned out' at some points. Due to another production error the vocals as sung by Curtis during the video didn't come out as intended. The song as originally recorded in the video sounds much more like that in their Peel Session. Curtis re-recorded the vocals separately with the hint of melancholy that helps make it distinctive.

Click the link below to download the following:
Single Version
John Peel Session Version
These Days - B-Side


Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart

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