We usually do these type of posts as “Happy Birthday ___” but to do that for Ian Curtis, the lead singer with Joy Division, who would have been 57-years-old today, seemed a bit much. A fragile and beautiful talent, Curtis was only 23, when he took his own life, in May 1980. His death came just before Joy Division were about to tour the States. Talk about bad timing.
I can still recall the first time I saw Curtis on TV, with his awkward, uncoordinated dancing, and his strange, resonate voice filled with loss, longing.
“You can’t listen to something without being able to, hopefully, put a feeling into the song…
...I think some of the things come out of confusion..But I’m not too sure what…exactly what or why.
When Joy Division finished recording their defining album, Closer, Curtis wrote to the band’s manager, Rob Gretton, expressing his dislike for the record:
Judged purely on my own terms, and not to be interpreted as an opinion or reflection of mass media or public taste but a criticism of my own esoteric and elitist mind of which the mysteries of life are very few and beside which the grace of God has deemed to indicate in a vision the true nature of all things, plus the fact that everyone else are a sneaky, japing load of tossers, I decree that this LP is a disaster.
I K Curtis
He was wrong. Closer is a work of brilliance, which now stands as testament to Ian Curtis’s talents.
H/T Letters of Note.