Friday, March 18, 2011


One era/genre of music that has been ignored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, more than heavy metal, arguably more than prog rock, is the post-punk era. It spawned U2 and R.E.M., but hasn't gotten much attention from the voters, which is a shame.

Joy Division kind of started post-punk and symbolized it. They weren't punk, but were definitely inspired by it. I've read stories where bassist Peter Hook said he was inspired to buy a bass after seeing The Sex Pistols.

Joy Division resembled rock bands, but didn't really sound like much that had come before them. A bit of Bowie, a bit of The Velvets.  They had little or no traces of blues, or really anything else.  I hesitate to say they were "totally original" (because no one is), but even today, you listen to those records, and they are so unique. I think they sort of pioneered the idea of actual "alternative" rock. I mean "alternative" in the classic sense of the word, the dictionary definition.  Not the marketing term that was beaten into the ground in the '90s. Once you had alternative bands who didn't know about Joy Division (or The Velvet Underground), it was kind of a signal that they were full of shit.

Yes, they had a short career because frontman Ian Curtis committed suicide in 1980, at age 23. But their impact was immense: U2, R.E.M., The Cure and pretty much any goth band that came afterwards, Jane's Addiction, Nine Inch Nails, Bjork... lots of artists who worked outside the mainstream and had ravenous followings, so many of them were inspired by Joy Division. This isn't the type of band who the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers tend to pay much attention to, but they should.

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