It was 34 years ago today that Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis tragically took his own life. The legacy the post-punk pioneer left behind is unmistakable, despite having only two full-length albums to his credit. His influence is evident in the sound of countless bands who continue to be inspired by his somber lyricism. The number of Unknown Pleasures wannabes is exhausting, but we’ve chosen ten of the best Joy Division covers by artists who uniquely transformed Curtis’ songbook.
The Swans — “Love Will Tear Us Apart”
The number of male-led Joy Division covers outweighs the women, so Jarboe’s hauntingly beautiful take on the ironic ballad is a welcome sound. Released as a B-side single with Michael Gira’s version (aka the “Red Version”) leading the way, the remake was the band’s attempt to shift from harsh noise to a more palatable sound. Gira regretted the decision, but the song became a college radio hit, leading to a major record deal in 1998. Here’s a music video version of Gira’s rendition.