Bono recalls the “very special moment” he met Ian Curtis for the first time
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  • Post published:12/04/2021
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Bono recalls the “very special moment” he met Ian Curtis for the first time

The U2 frontman recounted the meeting on the ongoing Joy Division and New Order podcast, ‘Transmissions: The Definitive Story’

By Sam Moore

Bono / Ian Curtis
Bono in 1980 / Ian Curtis (Picture: Getty)

Bono has recalled his first meeting with the late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis during a guest appearance on the Joy Division and New Order podcast Transmissions: The Definitive Story.

The U2 frontman features on the latest episode of the eight-part series, which includes interviews with members of the two bands and a number of special guests, such as Johnny Marr, Liam Gallagher and Radiohead‘s Jonny Greenwood.

  • READ MORE: “It felt like we were changing the world”: inside New Order’s seminal ‘Power, Corruption & Lies’

The new episode of Transmissions focuses largely on the writing and recording of Joy Division’s seminal song ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ in 1980, with drummer Stephen Morris recalling how U2 turned up at the studio he was working at during the “torturous drummerthon” recording sessions.


“A bunch of very young Irish boys turned up, who announced themselves as the band U2,” he said. “Martin [Hannett] was being touted as the producer for their album.

“I remember them filing into the studio while I was doing the tom break on ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ for the gazillionth time. The young lad with the strange name ‘Bono’ listened to what I was doing and he seemed rather taken with it.

“He said: ‘I don’t know what it is that you’re doing, but it adds a lot to the track’, which I thought was very nice of him. Martin took it as an indication that what I was doing was actually shit and binned it.”

Bono gave his side of the story, recalling how he and his U2 bandmates were “waiting in the green room and I remember just looking at all their stuff” while Joy Division were recording.

“They had a lot of vinyl out: there was things like Frank Sinatra, Kraftwerk and Bartók,” he remembered. “There was classical music, electronic music, Frank-fucking-Sinatra. Who are these people?”


Bono said that the members of Joy Division “were very kind, they came out to say hello to the band. We shook their hands”.

“Then this man with the weight of the whole universe in his voice, this crooner from some black hole — the dark lord — stepped forward and I was like: ‘Oh my god, I’m going to meet Ian Curtis’,” he continued. “I put my hand out and he went ‘Alright?’ And I couldn’t believe the sound he made.

“It was just this sweet, sweet sound. He was this beautiful soul but he sang from this other place…. Just the most gentle conversation and it was a very special moment.”

The ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ episode of Transmissions: The Definitive Story is out now, and you can catch up on the podcast here.

Last month, U2’s ‘The Joshua Tree’ was voted as the greatest album of the 1980s in a poll conducted by BBC Radio 2.

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  • Bono
  • Joy Division
  • Rock
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