Peter Hook Remembers Ian Curtis' Suicide, Suffers Feelings Of Guilt

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Ian Curtis famously sang "Love Will Tear Us Apart," his voice haunting through radios as he rested, finally, in a grave of his own tragic making. The lead singer of Joy Division, the 1980 single became the band's biggest hit, a post-humous reminder of what could have, should have been.

Curtis' bandmates, Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris, would go on to form mega-success and pioneering band New Order, but the memory of their friend, an epileptic and tortured soul who took his own life at the age of 23, has always haunted and inspired them.

The death of the icon checked in at number 22 on The Guardian's list of the 50 biggest events in the history of indie music, a sad distinction for which Hook, the band's bassist, penned a wistful article to commemorate.

"Ian was very ill with epilepsy when we were recording the 'Closer' album. He was having a lot of blackouts," Hook writes, remembering Curtis' progressing illness. "There was one horrible occasion where he was missing for two hours in the studio. I went in the toilet and there he was spark out on the floor - he'd had a fit and split his head open on the sink."

Hook remembers the mistreatment the band's management put Curtis through, bringing him to concerts after he fell ill and making him record through the night. Much of that, though, was done at Curtis' insistence, as he hated to disappoint, and, after working so hard, didn't want to give up his burgeoning success.

"He made two unsuccessful attempts. First, when he was really drunk, he self-harmed - chopped himself up with a kitchen knife, which I think was an Iggy Pop moment out of sheer frustration," Hook remembers. "Then he took an overdose. Tony Wilson, the boss of our label, Factory Records, brought him to rehearsal - straight from the hospital, I think. We'd ask: 'Is everything all right, mate?' and he'd reply: 'Yeah, fine, let's carry on.'

"As an adult and a father now, I feel guiltier than I ever did then," Hook continues. "If that had been my son, I'd have gone round there and headbutted Rob Gretton, our manager, and taken him home. But there were doctors, consultants, psychiatrists, and not one of them was able to sort it out. Unbelievable."

New Order would go on to create 8 albums and a number of compilations between 1980 and 2005, though they took half a decade off in the 90s to do their own solo projects. They had six number one singles in the US, and two of their compilations went platinum in the UK. Their megahit single "Blue Monday" was the biggest selling 12 record of all time.

For the rest of Hook's tribute to Curtis, click over to The Guardian.

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