While they came out of the vibrant UK punk scene, the band quickly migrated to a different sound that was moody, dark and atmospheric; the band was one of the originators of goth. Their innovative approach earned them the respect of several industry insiders and critics, including the influential John Peel of the BBC. Although their first LP only reached #71 on the UK charts, they were a band on the rise.
Unfortunately, their growing success and touring schedule was placing a strain on lead singer Ian Curtis. In particular, Curtis' epileptic seizures became difficult to control and his marriage was failing. In May 1980, just before the band was to leave for their first American tour, Curtis committed suicide. He was 23.
"Love Will Tear Us Apart" was written as an ironic response to "Love Will Keep Us Together," a 1975 hit for Captain & Tennille. In retrospect, the lyrics seem autobiographical, as the song was written during a difficult time in Curtis' life. The video was shot by the band themselves, during the recording of the song.
As many readers will know, the remaining members of Joy Division stayed together and renamed themselves New Order. They would go on to have significant success, and were featured on ERV last December for "Bizarre Love Triangle."
Rolling Stone ranked the Closer LP as the 56th best album of the 1980's.
The song has charted 3 separate times in the UK -- in 1980 (#13), 1983 (#19) and 1995 (#19). It never charted in the U.S.
The title of this song is inscribed on Ian Curtis' tombstone.