Ian Curtis 15 July 1956 – 18 May 1980

Ian Kevin Curtis was the songwriter and lyricist of the British post-punk Manchester band Joy Division.He grew up in Hurdsfield, an area of Macclesfield, and from a young age he exhibited talent as a poet. Proof of his ability was his admission at the age of eleven to The King’s School, Macclesfield with a scholarship. Despite this, he was not a devout student and did not further his education after receiving his O-levels Curtis married Deborah Woodruff, whom he met while still at school, on 23 August 1975, when he was 19 and she was 18. Their only daughter, Natalie, was born on 16 April 1979.

In 1976, Curtis met two young musicians, Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook, at a Sex Pistols gig, who told him they were trying to form a band; he immediately put himself forward as a vocalist and lyricist. The three of them recruited and sacked a number of drummers before settling on Stephen Morris as their final member. Initially, the band was called Warsaw before changing its name to Joy Division in 1978, due to conflicts with the name of another band,

While performing for Joy Division, Curtis became known for his quiet and awkward demeanour, as well as a unique dancing style reminiscent of the epileptic seizures he experienced, sometimes even on stage.

In an interview for Northern Lights cassette magazine in November 1979 Ian Curtis made his only public comment on his dancing and performance. He explained the motivation as: “Instead of just singing about something you could show it as well, put it over in the way that it is, if you were totally involved in what you were doing”.

Curtis’s writing was filled with imagery of emotional isolation, death, alienation, and urban decay. He once commented in an interview that he wrote about “the different ways different people can cope with certain problems, how they might or might not adapt.”

Curtis’s last live performance was on 2 May 1980 at Birmingham University, a show that included Joy Division’s first and only performance of the song “Ceremony”, later recorded by New Order and released as their first single

Ian committed suicide in May 1980, on the eve of Joy Division’s first North American tour.

He was staying at his parents’ house at this time and attempted to talk his wife into staying with him on 17 May 1980, to no avail. He told her to leave him alone in the house until he caught his train to Manchester the next morning. In the early hours of 18 May 1980, he hanged himself in the kitchen of his house in Macclesfield. He had just viewed Werner Herzog’s film Stroszek and listened to Iggy Pop’s The Idiot. At the time of his death, his health was failing as a result of the epilepsy and attempting to balance his musical ambitions with his marriage, which was foundering in the aftermath of his affair with journalist Annik Honoré. His wife found his body the next morning.

Deborah Curtis wrote Touching from a Distance, published in 1995, a biographical account of their marriage, detailing in part his infidelity with Annik Honoré.

Curtis was portrayed by Sean Harris in the 2002 film 24 Hour Party People, which dramatized the rise and fall of Factory Records from the 1970s to the 1990s.

In 2007 a British Ian Curtis biopic called Control was released, based on material from Deborah Curtis’ book Touching from a Distance

Now you know about Ian go and hear his songs is all ask

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