1001 Songs Challenge,  1980s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #541: Love Will Tear Us Apart (1980)

On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.

My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.

I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.

So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!


Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart (1980)

We’re back to the UK, dear reader, and heading north to Salford in the north of England, close to Manchester. Joy Division have made two prior appearances on our list and here we have them completing a hat-trick of song entries on our prestigious list. It’s 1980 and the group are close to the end. A fledgling Irish band by the name of U2 are in the studio to bear witness to the recording of our chosen song today – Love Will Tear Us Apart.

The lyrics to Love Will Tear Us Apart were inspired by the breakdown of Ian Curtis’ marriage with his wife, Deborah. They had married young when Ian was 19 and Deborah 18 and by this time had a young daughter, Natalie. It is well documented that Curtis was said to have been unfaithful to his wife, having fallen in love with a Belgian journalist, Annik Honore. Overcome with guilt at this betrayal to his wife and daughter, Curtis unburdens in Love Will Tear Us Apart, which captures not just his own anguish at the void between himself and Deborah, but it carries a universal message of love breaking down and the increasing gulf that can occur between two people. 

When one thinks of Joy Division then Love Will Tear Us Apart is often one of the first songs that springs to mind. It is the group’s best known track and has found its way into films and TV shows as part of soundtracks. It was released along with the album, Closer, after Ian’s death at the age of 23. Both single and album would be the group’s highest charting in the UK. The song has endured in the decades that have followed but its most moving testament is that the title is inscribed on Curtis’ memorial stone.


Favourite songs so far:

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)

The Doors – The End (1967)

The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)

Rod Stewart – Maggie May (1971)

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)

Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)

Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)

The Police – Message in a Bottle (1979)

Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart (1980)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

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1001 Songs Challenge #540: Guilty (1980)

#540 of the 1001 Songs Challenge is Guilty by Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb ...

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