5 Things You Might Not Have Known About Ian Curtis

Monday, July 15, 2019
Joy Division UNKNOWN PLEASURES Album Cover

Today we celebrate the day that Ian Curtis, the late singer for Joy Division, was born, and although he’s no longer with us, that’s no reason to stop the celebration, especially considering how much wonderful music he provided in his short time on the planet. To commemorate the occasion, we’ve put together a list of five things that you may known have known about Curtis, so...let’s get started, shall we?

1.    During his teen years, he wasn’t above engaging in a bit of shoplifting.

Not that we’re excusing it, but when your soul tells you that you’ve got a life of music ahead of you... Well, let’s just say that we’re not entirely surprised that – per Factinate – Curtis had a tendency to shoplift “albums from the Macclesfield town center that he would hide underneath his long grey coat.” Again, we’re not endorsing this sort of behavior, but he must’ve been pretty good at it, given that he didn’t up behind bars for his trouble.

2.    He once secured a TV spot for Joy Division by writing a nasty letter.

According to Clash Music, Curtis wanted the band on TV and knew that Tony Wilson was the man who could make it happen, so when time passed and the band hadn’t yet gotten their shot, he wrote an angry missive to Tony. “He gave Tony the letter and called him a bastard for not having put them on,” said Clash Music. “It worked. Tony got them to perform ‘Shadowplay’ and again for ‘She’s Lost Control.’”

3.    He preferred to record songs with the lights off.

It stands to reason, frankly, given how dark Joy Division could be, but it’s been confirmed by engineer Chris Nagle. Per a piece in NME, Curtis would do his vocals in one take, and he’d have his lyric sheet with him, but he always had the lights off. Guess it’s a good thing he had a strong memory.

4.    He used to work at a job center.

In fact, it was his job there that technically led to the writing of “She’s Lost Control.” The story goes thusly: a girl with epilepsy – an affliction Curtis shared – worked in the office, and “one day she just didn't come in anymore," said Bernard Sumner in NME. "[Ian] assumed that she'd found a job, but found out later that she'd had a fit and died."

5.    He got his gig as Joy Division’s singer through a flyer at a record store.

The members of Warsaw – as the band was originally known – posted a flyer in the Virgin Record Store in Manchester, indicating that they were searching for a vocalist. Although Curtis didn’t even have to audition to get the job: everyone in the band had met him and liked him, so they just decided to give him a shot. (Good thing it worked out!)


For more information, click the buttons below: