The Five Wierdest References to Joy Division in Pop Culture

The Five Wierdest References to Joy Division in Pop Culture
Photo by Flickr user Duncan "dullhunk" Hull

Last night, one of the most renowned post-punk bassists of all time sat in with The Roots on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. I can't think of a more random gathering of talents under one roof, though admittedly this sort of thing does seem to happen on Fallon.

When the little romantically subversive album that could, Unknown Pleasures, was released, it created a gradual snowball effect throughout the post-punk era and beyond that would eventually resurface as an obvious musical influence for countless current bands.The cover art alone became an icon unto itself, generating an internationally recognized badge, much like a Ramones or Run DMC t-shirt.

Joy Division's music will forever remain a post-punk staple among vinyl-enthusiasts, indie-purists and fans of dark, emotional music in general. However, the four young lads from Manchester breathed a unique air into pop music history, and being unique is timeless. Whatever it is about their music and its short period of time on this earth, their sparse and dusty live footage that lives few and far between old videos and YouTube, and their remarkably short discography, who knew it would eventually pop up in the weirdest facets throughout pop culture? Here are some great "What the hell?" moments of how Joy Division's legacy continues to live on and confuse their fans today.

5. Peter Hook Sitting in With The Roots

Questlove filling in for Stephen Morris' trademark rapid hi-hat action should be testament enough to how far the reach of Joy Division's sound can be measured. Now will someone please produce a "QuestLove Will Tear Us Apart" t-shirt?

The Five Wierdest References to Joy Division in Pop Culture
Photo by Flickr user Duncan "dullhunk" Hull

4. Street Art

"Love Will Tear Us Apart" has been covered and re-interpreted to the point of exhaustion. However, street art, being the little outsider of artistic subcategories that it is, has generated some interesting homages to the band's only chart-topping song. Also, Ian Curtis looks good in glossy black spray paint.


3. That Dude from One Direction Wears a Joy Division T-Shirt

Imagine Joey McIntyre sporting a Minor Threat t-shirt alongside his fellow New Kids on the Block, on the red carpet in front of thousands of adoring teeny boppers. Okay, that may be more offensive than when Louis Tomlinson wore a "Love Will Tear Us Apart" shirt at the 2013 MTV VMA's. But equally confusing.

The Five Wierdest References to Joy Division in Pop Culture
Advertisment for the since-discontinued T-Shirt.

2. Disney Sells (and Pulls) Unknown Pleasures Mashup Tee

The post-punk and indie music world community caused quite a ruckus over this one, almost to the point of musical Jihad. And who really knows how this marriage between loveable iconic cartoon character and loveable iconic post-punk/goth-dance innovators came to be? Whether it was a harmless and clueless mistake, or an attempt at flattery, Hooky himself took it as a compliment, sort of.

1. Steel Drum Band Performs "Transmission" on a Weird Moving Trailer Thing

In a bizarre blending of musical styles, cultures and conventions of live performances, this video captured one of the more peculiar yet genuine forms of appreciation of the spirit behind Joy Division's tragic yet forever influential music.

Keep up with DC9 at Night on Twitter or Facebook.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >