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Joy Division's Ian Curtis: Gone 30 years today

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Image Credit: Paul Slattery/Retna UK/LandovRock history is littered with the names of superstars who died too soon, many at the peak of their fame. But Lancashire-born Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis is one of the rareified few, like Nick Drake or Arthur Russell, whose modest cult status transformed into something much larger and more influential after his death.

Bands ranging from the Cure and U2 to Radiohead, Interpol, and Bloc Party all owe some musical debt to the bleak, baritoned post-punk sound that Curtis, who took his own life two months shy of his 24th birthday, pioneered with Joy Division.

And countless artists (among them, U2 and Arcade Fire, Fall Out Boy, and of course New Order, the band that sprung from JD’s ashes) have covered the band’s signature song, “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” Still, no one else ever quite mastered his onstage trademark, the malfunctioning-robot dance:

Rest in peace, Ian, and thanks for what you gave us; we wish your time here could have lasted a little longer.