Love Will Tear Us Apart—a cynical and tongue in cheek retort to the Neil Sedaka song “Love Will Keep Us Together” made famous by Captain and Tennille, had it’s video shot 39 years ago today.
The inspiration for the track surely was the fact that Joy Division recorded in the same studio the Sedeka song was recorded in—Strawberry Studios n Stockport, England. The song’s lyrics, in retrospect, were an obvious reference to singer Ian Curtis’ failing marriage.
The members of Joy Division filmed the video themselves on April 28th, 1980 during a rehearsal at T.J. Davidson’s studio, where the band had previously rehearsed earlier in their career. In the intro to the video the door that opens and shuts has “Ian C” carved into it; reportedly this was the beginning of an abusive message (the rest later erased) carved into the door by a spurned ex-girlfriend of Curtis’ during the band’s earlier work at the studio.
The video for Love Will Tear Us Apart is browned out at points, unintentionally, but nevertheless a fitting aesthetic—along with the omission of Curtis’ trademark dancing, which instead is replaced with the frontman strumming on a Eko Vox VI Phantom guitar (the guitar on the audio track is an unspecified 12-string Eko Vox guitar played by Sumner).
This was the only promotional video Joy Division ever produced as Ian Curtis committed suicide less than three weeks after the video was filmed.
The video for Love Will Tear Us Apart was not, as referenced in the book Touching From A Distance, filmed on April 25th, as Ian Curtis, and the rest of Joy Division were in London that day, scheduled to make a surprise performance at the Factory Records/Final Solution concert night along with Section 25, Durutti Column, and A Certain Ratio. The gig was canceled due to Ian feeling unwell that night, despite this, however, the band still attended the show.