Joy Division - Love Will Tear us Apart - 1980


Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" - A Deep Dive into the 1980 Classic

"Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division, released in 1980, is not just a song; it's a piece of musical and cultural history. Let's delve into its background, influence, and the story behind its creation.


Joy Division, an English rock band formed in 1976 in Salford, Greater Manchester, became pioneers of the post-punk movement. Their music was characterized by its dark and introspective sound. "Love Will Tear Us Apart" stands out as their most recognizable song, often seen as an anthem of the post-punk era.

Creation and Meaning

The song was written by the band's members: Ian Curtis, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, and Bernard Sumner. The lyrics, penned by Curtis, are emotional and poignant, reflecting his troubled personal life and marital problems. The title was inspired by a caption 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' in the novel "Kafka's 'The Trial'", reflecting Curtis's literary influences.

Musical Style and Reception

Musically, "Love Will Tear Us Apart" is known for its melancholic melody, Ian Curtis's haunting vocals, and the use of synthesizers, which was somewhat unusual in rock music at the time. The song received critical acclaim and has been covered by numerous artists, influencing a wide range of music genres.


Despite Joy Division's brief existence (the band ended following Curtis's death in 1980), their music, especially this song, has left an indelible mark on music history. It's frequently listed in 'greatest songs' lists and continues to resonate with new generations of music fans.

For a comprehensive understanding of Joy Division and their music, visit their Wikipedia page: Wikipedia.

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

In which year was "Love Will Tear Us Apart" released? (1980) (!1979) (!1981) (!1982)

What movement is Joy Division often associated with? (Post-punk) (!Punk) (!New Wave) (!Gothic Rock)

What personal issues influenced Ian Curtis's lyrics for the song? (Marital problems) (!Band conflicts) (!Political views) (!His love for literature)

What instrument was distinctively used in "Love Will Tear Us Apart"? (Synthesizers) (!Acoustic guitar) (!Saxophone) (!Violin)

What literary work influenced the title of the song? (Kafka's 'The Trial') (!Orwell's '1984') (!Huxley's 'Brave New World') (!Joyce's 'Ulysses')

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

What city was Joy Division formed in? (Salford, Greater Manchester) (!London) (!Birmingham) (!Liverpool)

Who was the lead vocalist of Joy Division? (Ian Curtis) (!Peter Hook) (!Stephen Morris) (!Bernard Sumner)

What was Joy Division's original band name? (Warsaw) (!The Frantic) (!Manchester Moods) (!The Outsiders)

Which band did the remaining members of Joy Division form after Curtis's death? (New Order) (!The Smiths) (!Echo and the Bunnymen) (!The Cure)

In which year did Joy Division form? (1976) (!1975) (!1977) (!1978)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

Which line follows "Love Will Tear Us Apart"? (Why is the bedroom so cold?) (!You've turned away on your side) (!Our respect runs so dry) (!Yet there's still this appeal)

What does Curtis compare their relationship to in the lyrics? (A worn-out script of a play) (!A broken record) (!A fading photograph) (!A sinking ship)

How does Curtis describe their communication in the song? (Speeches are useless) (!Words fall on deaf ears) (!Talk is cheap) (!Our voices are lost)

What emotion is predominantly conveyed through the lyrics? (Melancholy) (!Anger) (!Joy) (!Indifference)

Which phrase indicates the inevitability of separation in the song? (And we're changing our ways) (!As we rise above the lies) (!We're too young to fall apart) (!Our love is growing cold)


Joy Division Formed in 1976
Ian Curtis Lead vocalist
"Love Will Tear Us Apart" Released in 1980
Post-punk Musical movement
New Order Band formed after Curtis's death

Open Tasks


  1. Create a Playlist: Create a playlist of songs that share a similar mood or theme to "Love Will Tear Us Apart".
  2. Draw a Song: Illustrate your interpretation of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" through a drawing or painting.
  3. Music Influences: Research and list other bands influenced by Joy Division's sound.


  1. Cover the Song: Record your own cover version of "Love Will Tear Us Apart".
  2. Write a Review: Write a music review of "Love Will Tear Us Apart", discussing its musical style, lyrics, and impact.
  3. Explore Post-Punk: Explore other post-punk bands from the late 1970s and early 1980s and compare their music to Joy Division's style.


  1. Analyze the Lyrics: Write a detailed analysis of the lyrics of "Love Will Tear Us Apart", discussing the themes and emotions conveyed.
  2. Joy Division's Influence: Write an essay on how Joy Division influenced modern music genres.
  3. Documentary Project: Create a short documentary about Joy Division, focusing on their music, history, and legacy.

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Oral Exam

  1. Comparative Analysis: Compare and contrast Joy Division's music with another band from the same era.
  2. Music and Emotion: Discuss how "Love Will Tear Us Apart" evokes emotions and the techniques used to achieve this.
  3. Cultural Impact: Explain the cultural significance of Joy Division in the context of the 1980s music scene.
  4. Legacy Discussion: Discuss the legacy of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" and how it remains relevant today.
  5. Personal Interpretation: Share your personal interpretation of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" and why it resonates with you.

OERs on the Topic


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