Friday, May 29, 2009

Retrovideo Friday: " to the radio..."

After taking a break last week, we're back with an all new Retrovideo Friday, going farther back than we ever have before.

This Week's Pick: "Transmission" by Joy Division (Year: 1979; Year of Video: Uncertain)

Joy Division, quite possibly the quintessential band of the post-punk era, has a legacy that's lasted longer than the group itself actually did. While they're probably most famous for the song, "Love Will Tear Us Apart," the band's influence can be heard in much of today's popular music. Bands like Interpol, The Editors, and hell — even The Killers — have all put out material featuring very Joy Division-esque sounds.

One of my personal favorite Joy Division songs is "Transmission," a 1979 non-album single with the memorable "Dance dance dance dance dance to the radio" line. A little dark and a little dangerous, it really is a bit of a dance song. Every single component, from the tight drumming to singer Ian Curtis's increasingly urgent-sounding vocals, has a way of drilling itself into the listener's mind... making the song ridiculously catchy.

The video below is a live performance of "Transmission." I'm not sure of the exact date it aired, but it does seem to be from a BBC program (and there's a bit of poetry at the beginning and end of this particular video). The performance is classic Joy Division — a stoic-looking band, fronted by an equally stoic lead singer with a propensity for thrashing his arms around whenever he was in a mood to dance. It's songs and performances like these that make me wish Curtis hadn't taken his life (he committed suicide just months after this single was released). Because even though we eventually got New Order, it would have been exciting to see what the band — as Joy Division — could have accomplished if they'd had more time.

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