40 years of Joy Division

On January 25th, 1978, Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris made their live debut as Joy Division at Pips Disco in Manchester, initially being billed as Warsaw for the performance.

The band’s previous name Warsaw was inspired by the track Warszawa off of David Bowie’s Low—an album that was treasured by frontman Ian Curtis.

However, this name was too similar to another band being booked at the time called Warsaw Pakt, so the 4 Mancunian lads chose another name suggested by Curtis.

The new name, Joy Division, was named after a brothel containing Jewish prostitutes in a Nazi concentration camp featured in the book House of Dolls, by Ka-Tsetnik 135633 (yes, that’s the real pen name of Holocaust survivor and author Yehiel De-Nur).


Note that House Of Dolls is also referenced on the Warsaw track No Love Lost, that was later released on Joy Division’s debut Ideal For A Living EP.

Set List from Joy Division’s debut gig January 25th, 1978:

  1. Exercise One
  2. Leaders of Men
  3. Warsaw
  4. Failures
  5. Reaction
  6. Inside the Line
  7. Ice Age
  8. Day of the Lords
  9. Novelty