Atmosphere (Joy Division song)

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"Licht und Blindheit"
2007 bootleg release
Single by Joy Division
A-side "Atmosphere"
B-side "Dead Souls"
Released 18 March 1980 (1980-03-18)
Format 7"
Genre Post-punk
Length 4:09
Label Sordide Sentimental
Writer(s) Bernard Sumner
Peter Hook
Stephen Morris
Ian Curtis
Producer(s) Martin Hannett
Joy Division singles chronology
"Transmission"
(1980)
"Licht und Blindheit"
(1980)
"Komakino"
(1980)
"Atmosphere"
1980 UK release
Single by Joy Division
B-side "She's Lost Control"
Released
  • August 1980 (1980-08) (US)
  • September 1980 (1980-09) (UK)
Format
Length 4:05
Label Factory
Writer(s) Bernard Sumner
Peter Hook
Stephen Morris
Ian Curtis
Producer(s) Martin Hannett
Joy Division singles chronology
"Licht und Blindheit"
(1980)
"Atmosphere"
(1980)
1988 release
Music video
"Atmosphere" on YouTube

"Atmosphere" is a song by English post-punk band Joy Division. It was originally released in March 1980 by record label Sordide Sentimental as "Licht und Blindheit", a France-only limited edition single featuring the track "Dead Souls" as the B-side. Following Ian Curtis's death two months later, it was re-released as a 12" single by record label Factory with "She's Lost Control" as the B-side.

The single was re-released in 1988 to coincide with the release of the compilation album Substance, and a music video was produced for the song.

Release[edit]

The song was originally released on 18 March 1980 by record label Sordide Sentimental as a France-only single under the title "Licht und Blindheit" (German for "Light and Blindness"). It was limited to 1578 copies[citation needed] and featured the track "Dead Souls" as the B-side. John Peel played "Atmosphere" for the first time on his show on 11 March 1980 and "Dead Souls" the following night.[1]

Following the death of lead singer Ian Curtis in May 1980, "Atmosphere" was released as a single with "She's Lost Control". "Atmosphere" was the A-side for the UK release but the B-side for the USA release. "She's Lost Control" is an alternative version of the one that appears on the band's début album Unknown Pleasures. The single peaked at number 1 in New Zealand in August 1981, and it would later re-chart there in July 1984 (number 17) and when it was reissued in August 1988 (number 5).[2] "Atmosphere" also hit number 34 in the UK Singles Chart during June 1988.[3]

The single was re-released in 1988 to coincide with the release of the compilation album Substance.

Music video[edit]

A music video was released for the song with the single's re-release in 1988.[4] It contains characters wearing black-hooded cloaks and white burial shrouds. It was directed by Anton Corbijn[4] (who later directed the Ian Curtis biopic Control; some home editions of the film contain the music video as an extra).

Reception[edit]

Ned Raggett of AllMusic wrote, "'Atmosphere' is another one of those prime Joy Division songs, like 'Transmission' or 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', where Martin Hannett's production becomes so essential to the end result that it couldn't have been heard otherwise", noting that, in regards to Ian Curtis's mental state and subsequent death, "there's a feeling of a requiem here, an awesome musical farewell."[5]

Joy Division bassist Peter Hook has said he regards the song as the band's greatest.[citation needed]

Legacy[edit]

NME voted the song number 1 in its list "The 20 Greatest Goth Tracks".[6]

The song featured in the film 24 Hour Party People just after Ian Curtis's suicide is portrayed.[7] The song is also used at the end of the Ian Curtis biopic Control.[7] It was also played at Tony Wilson's funeral.[8][9]

The song was used in Episode 4 of the Netflix series Stranger Things.[7]

Track listings[edit]

All songs written and composed by Joy Division (Ian Curtis, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner).

"Licht und Blindheit" (7")
Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Atmosphere"   4:10
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Dead Souls"   4:53
"Atmosphere" (12")
Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Atmosphere"   4:10
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "She's Lost Control"   4:45
1988 re-release
7"
12"
CD

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1981) Peak
position
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[10] 1
Chart (1984) Peak
position
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[10] 17
Chart (1988) Peak
position
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[10] 5
UK Singles Chart 34[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]