It’s too easy, really, to connect Joy Division to The Smiths. You could start in Salford, home of Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and the Salford Lads Club, which The Smiths posed rather iconically in front of for the sleeve of The Queen is Dead. From Salford, you could head about three miles south-east to The Hacienda, which for years was practically bankrolled by the profits from New Order’s Blue Monday - the band having been born out of the ashes of Joy Division after the death of lead singer Ian Curtis - and which saw a triumphant homecoming gig in November 1983 by The Smiths, who earlier in the day had confused the hell out of pretty much everyone in the Top of the Pops studio, gatecrashing the cosy, cheesy atmosphere with their performance of This Charming Man.
There is another connection I’d like to make, however. This one’s for anyone who remembers Ted Rogers and 3-2-1. Earlier, Joy Division played Love Will Tear Us Apart. You’ll remember I told you that Paul Young covered Joy Division, and that he also covered Crowded House. Well, in March 1992, Crowded House reached their highest UK singles chart placing when Weather With You reached number 7. What was number one that week? It was, of course, Stay, by Shakespear’s Sister, who, that’s right, took their name from a song by The Smiths. The Smiths, you know, had a single called Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, which is how you’ll be feeling in a moment when I tell you, yes, you’ve worked it out now, haven’t you?. Bring him on. Here he is - I’m afraid you’ve won Paul Young.
And if that’s not enough cosmic linkage, consider this. When The Smiths performed This Charming Man on TOTP, Morrissey with his gladioli, and drummer Mike Joyce being asked before the band’s appearance when he was going to get changed (His answer: “I’m not. This is it” - the response: “But you’re going to be on TV!”), the opening song on that evening’s show was… Love of the Common People. By Paul Young.