Early on the morning of May 18, 1980, Joy Division singer Ian Curtis committed suicide by hanging himself in the kitchen of his Macclesfield, England home. Despite the short body of work he produced (one full-length album plus a clutch of singles and EPs by the time of his death at age 23, soon followed by a second album and other posthumous releases), Ian Curtis’ music with Joy Division has gained a legendary stature in the subsequent decades. Noted for his frenzied performance style, his dark, literate lyrics, and his doomy proto-goth baritone, in death Curtis has become an icon of the post-punk movement in particular and underground rock music in general, continuing to influence scores of artists to this day.
In honor of Curtis’ legacy, here are a pair of videos that showcase his indomitable stage presence in life, followed by Anton Corbijn’s 1988 music video for the Joy Division song “Atmosphere”, quite possibly the most exquisite and beautifully-crafted posthumous tribute the medium has ever produced. As a bonus, also included is Radiohead’s cover of “Ceremony” (originally released as the debut single by Joy Division’s successor group New Order), one of the last songs Curtis ever wrote.