Joy Division rapidly evolved from their initialpunk rockinfluences to develop a sound and style that made them one of the pioneers of thepost-punkmovement of the late 1970s. Their self-released 1978 debutEP, An Ideal for Living, drew the attention of the Manchester television personalityTony Wilson. Joy Division's debut album,Unknown Pleasures, was released in 1979 on Wilson'sindependent record label Factory Records, and drew critical acclaim from the British press. Despite the band's growing success, vocalist Ian Curtis was beset with depression and personal difficulties, including a dissolving marriage and his diagnosis ofepilepsy. Curtis found it increasingly difficult to perform at live concerts, and often hadseizuresduring performances.
On the eve of the band's first American tour in May 1980, Curtis committed suicide. Joy Division's posthumously released second album,Closer(1980), and the single "Love Will Tear Us Apart" became the band's highest charting releases. After the death of Curtis, the remaining members continued as New Order, achieving critical and commercial success.