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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 114
Thurs. May 23, 2013

“No Love Lost”
Joy Division

1978

“♫ I
need
it
♫”

Euphoria from a Joy Division song might be seen as unusual combination to some but sometimes inspiration hits you at the most intimate of times. All I remember were the shadows as I was reaching deeper, in my best Ian Curtis voice, I whispered—“I need it.” It seemed like ages since I even heard this song and just like that, “No Love Lost” came to me in the most beautiful of moments.


Unfortunately, Peter Hook bassist of Joy Division doesn’t have as joyful memory when the band first recorded “No Love Lost.” Initially released as one of the songs on Joy Division’s first ever releases, 1978’s An Ideal for Living EP, “No Love Lost” was Hooky’s out of tune guitar, as Peter admitted in his book Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division, “I’ve never been able to tune. I’m tone deaf. Barney [Sumner] always did it for me, much to his delight. […] But anyway, when we were recording the EP, I was greeted with the news that my guitar was out of tune, which immediately ruined it for me because I was shitting myself. But we struggled through. We did “No Love Lost,” with Barney going, “Ooh, it sounds a bit out, doesn’t it? Hooky’s guitar…” and me getting wound up but having to grit my teeth and let him retune it each time.”

I loved Hooky’s guitar eerie guitar sound on “No Love Lost.” It may have been slightly out of tune but maybe that’s what has this Joy Division original its “Lost” mystique. Even Peter Hook would admit it was lead singer Ian Curtis’ words that gave Joy Division the aura of lyrical immortality. Hook wrote about Curtis’s songwriting genius when he said, “Lyrically, I was struck by “No Love Lost,” especially the spoken-word verse, an extract from House of Dolls (not the last time Ian found inspiration in that book, of course…) I think you could point to that EP as beginning the moment that he truly began to find his feet in his writing and singing. […] It was shaping him into the writer he became, which he arguably one of the best lyricists ever. His songs from that point were like having a conversation with a genius, sort of profound and impenetrable at the same time. The songs seemed to flow out of him and he didn’t put a foot wrong after that point, didn’t write a single bad lyric after An Ideal for Living, right up until his death.”

One of the best parts of Hook’s book Unknown Pleasures is his witty Mancunian sense of humor that brims along with a sense of longing that’s honest, moving and reflective in the same breath. Peter thanked Ian for saving the band’s reputation in this revealing passage when he wrote, “Even though we’d been using the name Warsaw for longer, they’d effectively taken it over. During the usual band meeting in the pub we decided to change ours, and so began the long conversations about what we should be instead. Obviously Ian had read House of Dolls. He’d already pilfered it for the spoken-word but on “No Love Lost,” and now he took Joy Division from it too—and thank God he did, because he saved us from the shame of being called Boys of Bondage or Slaves of Venus. Barney went off and started going interesting typographical things to it. And that was it, we were Joy Division.”


From the book, House of Dolls that not only inspired the extended prose passage on “No Love Lost” also gave Joy Division its memorable band name. If you want to discover were the sound of Joy Division was born listen to the post punk perfection of “No Love Lost.” Who knows what Unknown Pleasures you will uncover when rediscovering this Joy Division cut? Let “No Love Lost” take you to that secret place. Listening to Joy Division’s An Ideal for Living EP proved sometimes you have to romance within shadows to feel the beauty of her eternal light.

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