On May 25th, 1984, Morrissey, George Michael, & Tony Blackburn (did Tony steal his hair from a box of legos? …wanker!) appeared on Eight Days a Week, a 1980s UK music discussion TV programme presented by Robin Denselow. Topics ranged from discussing Everything But the Girl (who had just released their first album “Eden”), mutual loathing for the original Breakin’ film ( here blandly called “Break Dancing”), Soul Music, and Joy Division.
The Joy Division bit was a review of An Ideal for Living: A History of Joy Division by Mark Johnson.
Morrissey made his typically oblique and perhaps envious jabs at the mythos of Joy Division, making a clever joke referencing New Order by stating that he endorsed Joy Division—albeit with “confusion”. Despite Morrissey’s comments, to the real surprise of everyone, especially Denselow, George Michael revealed that he was indeed a true Joy Division fan:
Denselow: George, I wouldn’t imagine you as a Joy Division fan, maybe I’m wrong?
George: Ah, you might be wrong! This book, just became incredibly suspect for me, the minute I saw…
Denselow: You do like them?
George: I do like them, yeah. It became very suspect when I saw that it was partially, a lot of the conributions were from a gentleman called Paul Morley.
Denselow: You don’t approve of Paul Morley?
George: You’d need a book a lot thicker than that to list that man’s ideas or hangups, whatever you’d like to call it.
It became very very pretentious, in so many areas, I actually didn’t finish it, I did not get anywhere near finishing it. And I actually really liked Joy Division, or particular their second album “Closer”. I thought “Closer”, the second side of “Closer”…it’s one of my favorite albums, It’s just beautiful.
As stated above, George Michael is indeed a Joy Division Fan, However he went on to say—seemingly in agreement with Morrissey, that the band’s status was posthumously elevated, in an almost engineered fashion, after the suicide of singer Ian Curtis.
h/t William Kilby