Ian Curtis

Ian Curtis
As vocalist and lyricist of the British band Joy Division, Ian Curtis made a name for himself as a morose songwriter with an eerily deep voice. He received great critical acclaim for his few albums, and he is often credited with creating the gothic rock genre.

Joy Division's first album, Unknown Pleasures, was released in 1979 to an enthusiastic response from critics. Emotional suffering, violence, and urban blight were some of the most common topics in Curtis' lyrics, and many fans and relatives believed that he was often singing about his own life.

In the album Closer, released in 1980, Curtis sang lyrics full of hopelessness and despair. At the same time that he was writing these lyrics, various personal problems and illness were causing him to fall into a state of depression and despair from which he would never emerge.

He committed suicide in 1980 at the age of 23. Many have speculated that Curtis had always wished to die young, as he had always been obsessed with the standard story of the short and tumultuous rock star life.

Whether this was the reason he took his life or not, he certainly did live out the stereotypically short and tormented life of the rock artist, and his influence on rock and roll has been substantial. His songs, filled with his grim view of the world as well as depictions of his own despair, have lived on, providing inspiration for countless rock acts in the years since.

  • Curtis was an intense performer, with an unusual style of dancing that resembled the violent shaking fits that his epilepsy often caused. Occasionally audiences were unsure whether Curtis was dancing or having a seizure onstage.

  • Early in 2005 plans were made for a biopic on Ian Curtis, tentatively titled Control. It will be based mainly on Touching From a Distance, the biography of Curtis written by his widow. Jude Law has been mentioned as a possible candidate to portray Curtis.

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