She's Lost Control

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For the film, see She's Lost Control (film).
"She's Lost Control"
Song by Joy Division from the album Unknown Pleasures
Released 15 June 1979
Recorded 1–17 April 1979 at Strawberry Studios, Stockport
Genre Post-punk
Length 3:57
Label Factory Records
Writer Bernard Sumner
Peter Hook
Stephen Morris
Ian Curtis [1]
Producer Martin Hannett, Joy Division
Unknown Pleasures track listing
"New Dawn Fades"
"She's Lost Control"
"She's Lost Control"
Single by Joy Division
A-side "Atmosphere"
Released August 1980 (US)
September 1980 (UK)
Format 7", 12", CDS
Genre Post-punk
Length 4:56
Label Factory Records
Writer(s) Joy Division
Producer(s) Martin Hannett
Joy Division singles and EPs chronology
"Love Will Tear Us Apart"
"Atmosphere" / "She's Lost Control"
The Peel Sessions

"She's Lost Control" is a song by British post-punk band Joy Division. It was first introduced in a concert in June 1978. Two separate single recordings have been released: the version appearing on the band's 1979 debut album Unknown Pleasures, and a more electronic version first released in 1980 on a 12" single, coupled with "Atmosphere". This version has an additional verse, not present in the earlier one, and was recorded in March 1980 at Strawberry Studios, Stockport, making it one of the last Joy Division studio recordings. There are also a number of live versions appearing on the bonus discs of the re-issues of the band's albums.


The song centres on Peter Hook's bassline played high up on the neck, and a mechanistic drum beat, courtesy of Stephen Morris. Each drum was recorded completely separately, as producer Martin Hannett obsessively pursued clean drum sounds with no "bleed through" (when one drum's sound is added to the signal of another drum unintentionally) on songs he considered potential singles. Lead singer Ian Curtis's lyrics concern a girl having an epileptic seizure (i.e. "losing control"); a condition which Curtis himself later suffered from. Many indie bands have covered it, as well as Siobhan Fahey and Grace Jones. The song is about a girl who Ian Curtis met when she came to claim benefits at the Labour Exchange where he worked. One day she didn't come to the centre. Ian later learned that she died from a epileptic seizure.

Live, the song would be played at a faster pace, and much more aggressively, Curtis often shouting the lyrics before the bridge sections. The syndrum used would often be more abrasive and louder in the mix than it was in the studio recordings. On later live recordings, Curtis would play a keyboard line during the coda, one of only a few songs on which he would play an instrument.

In other media[edit]

A recent cover of this song by Alive She Died features prominently in the advertising campaign for the cruise/resort collection of the Italian fashion house, Gucci. In a video shot by photographer Glen Luchford, an array of bright young things dance around in the widely-praised designs of recently-appointed Gucci creative director, Alessandro Michele. The song perfectly captures the energy and the edge he has brought to that brand and that house.

The name of the song is referenced in the title of the Ian Curtis biopic Control, which includes the incident inspiring the song, and also the recording of the song, showing Morris using an aerosol can sprayed into a microphone as percussion.

The guitar riff for "She's Lost Control" was sampled by 808 State for their single "Contrique" in 1993.[2]

The film 24 Hour Party People includes a scene dramatizing the recording of the song, and suggests that Morris recorded the drum beat on the roof of the studio, as well as continuing to play the beat long after the other band members recorded their parts and left the studio.

The song appears in Skins in the series 3 episode "Effy".


  1. ^ Ascap entry
  2. ^ Carlson, Dean. "808 State - Statetostate - Review". Retrieved 13 March 2013. 

External links[edit]