Joy Division

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Interesting facts and trivia about Joy Division. By Songfacts®.

Manchester, England in the 1970s had a rollicking music scene. In the wake of the gritty punk synonymous with the Sex Pistols, the late '70s ushered in a new era and genre: post-punk. Although still rooted in the earlier punk rock traditions, post-punk was more introverted, complex and instrumental, punk all grown up perhaps. The pioneers of this movement were arguably a couple of guys, Hook and Sumner, of Salford, Greater Manchester who, after seeing the Sex Pistols live, decided to form their own band in 1976. After Ian Curtis replied to an ad looking for a singer, the band finalized the line-up and became Joy Division.

Warsaw (as the band was originally known), with then drummer Steve Brotherdale, played their first gig on May 29, 1977 supporting the Buzzcocks, Penetration and John Cooper Clarke at the Electric Circus. Having garnered the attention of the national music industry, the band recorded a demo of five tracks at the Oldham, Pennine Sound Studios, later released as An Ideal for Living. But the demo recordings didn't go well due to Brotherdale, whom the band ditched on the side of the road after he tried to poach Curtis for his other band, Panik. Stephen Morris, who'd attended the same school as Curtis, soon joined the band as the new drummer. The band played their last gig as Warsaw on New Year's Eve 1977 at the Swinging Apple in Liverpool.

The name Warsaw, in reference to Bowie's song "Warszawa" was soon replaced to avoid confusion with another band called Warsaw Pakt. In keeping with the allusion to WWII, the band took the name Joy Division from a prostitution wing of a Nazi concentration camp as mentioned in the 1955 novel by holocaust survivor Ka-tzetnik 135633, The House of Dolls. The newly named Joy Division performed their first gig January 25, 1978 at Pip's Disco in Manchester.


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