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Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  3,835 ratings  ·  354 reviews
Joy Division changed the face of music. Godfathers of alternative rock, they reinvented music in the post-punk era, creating a new sound—dark, hypnotic, and intense—that would influence U2, Morrissey, R.E.M., Radiohead, and numerous others. The story is now legendary: in 1980, on the heels of their groundbreaking debut, Unknown Pleasures, and on the eve of their first U.S. ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by It Books (first published September 2012)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  3,835 ratings  ·  354 reviews

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Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Rejoice! We are lucky, lovers of lit. You know what will never happen to us? We will never realize that the creator of the work of art we most adore is a dumb git. You just can't be one and write well. You can be one and paint. You can be one and dance. You can certainly be one and join a band. Even a fantastic band (like with so many 80's acts, it helps to ignore the vid and focus on the sound).

Because of this, it was ages ago I made the conscious resolution to avoid interviews with my favorit
Paul Gleason
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
“Demystify.” This word never appears in Peter Hook’s memoir of his former band, but it definitely describes the Joy Division bassist’s project. Hook’s raunchy and funny book demystifies Joy Division, presenting them as a postpunk Mötley Crüe, a band that partied hard and reveled in all the filth and the fury that the Sex Pistols left in the wake of their demise.

After finding out what Hook has to say, you’ll never stereotype Joy Division again. They’ll never only be the gothic and artsy band that
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw 'Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division' by Peter Hook in the library and got it out on a whim. Well, a whim informed by a teenage love of Joy Division, and having enjoyed another book by Peter Hook, the rip roaring 'The Haçienda: How Not to Run a Club' which I highly recommend - Click here to read my review

It’s another warts-and-all reminiscence of life, growing up in Salford, and being in Joy Division. Actually perhaps less warts and all, and more wart and warts, with just a bit of all.
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
Joy Division and New Order mean/meant a shit-ton to me. I can't imagine my life without them, and beyond hyperbole, only three or four other bands/musicians land in this personal category. Their history is so much bigger than the "Ian Curtis killed himself" mythology, and Peter Hook's (both bands' bass player, and don't think he was just a bass player, his sound was integral to their sounds) chatty, sitting-next-to-the-man-in-a-bar-while-he tells-story memoir fleshes out the picture in a heartfe ...more
Andy Wenman
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Brilliant! I read Hookys previous book about his disastrous experiences managing the Hacienda and was shocked to see this in my local bookshop. Didn't even know it was coming out. Ended up tearing through it in a couple of days. The great thing about Hooky is he has a workmanlike no bullshit approach to writing, much like the man himself, which provides a great antidote to all the pretentious pontificating and flat out nonsense that's been written about Joy Division and Ian Curtis in the past. T ...more
Steven Tomcavage
Apr 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
Peter Hook's "Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division" reads like a transcript of what you'd expect a conversation with Peter Hook at a pub to be, talking about Joy Division. This has its upsides and downsides. It makes the book, at times, a breeze to read, but other times, when Hook slips into colloquialisms that I, in Philadelphia, don't understand, the book is a bit disappointing. The structure of the book also seemed a bit off. There were sections where Hook would be telling the story, with o ...more
Satyros Brucato
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
An amazingly insightful book. Hook comes across as a bit a douche, but that's standard-issue for rock stars and he's at least honest about his obnoxiousness. Anyone interested in this era and its music MUST read this book.
Marc Nash
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Okay I'm a massive Joy Division fan and in the days before everyone around the band or in it rushed wrote a memoir, or made a film, I was scrabbling around for any little clue about the band from clippings in the music press or whatever. I bought all the bootleg tapes of live gigs and listened to them for hours on end drawing my own interpretation of what was going on psychologically between the band members. And now that I've only slightly less desperately devoured the films and the books that ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
Love a music memoir, even without being a fan of the band's music, and this story is one worth hearing. Benefits from being narrated by the author.
George Huxley
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really makes you appreciate the artistry that went into Joy Division, the gut-wrenching pain the magnificent Ian Curtis had to endure to craft such elegant and compelling lyricism. If you haven't listened to Joy Division, hop on youtube and give it a listen. If you have, but it's been a while do the same. If you're listening to it as you read this, stop reading this and listen harder! Ian Curtis rocks. So hard.
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 If you listen to Joy Division, you should read Peter Hook's book; he has a lot to share with us. I finished it this morning, cried for a while, reread the "Closer" chapter, and played all my albums and singles. After having read this book, their music sounds impossibly better, and feels even more special. I've been a huge fan for almost 30 years... ...more
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 80s People; Joy Division Fans
Shelves: music
When I found out that Peter Hook had written a book about Joy Division, I was as excited as any super fan ever is. An opportunity to learn more about my favorite band, hopefully see some new photos and reminisce about younger days spent beside the stereo making mix tapes and day dreaming. But, when the library called to tell me that my reserve on Unknown Pleasures had come in, I was not so sure that I was up for it. Joy Division is not exactly light and airy. And depressing material is not what ...more
Maria Felgueiras
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I really wanted to read Bernard Sumner's Chapter and Verse but I ended up buying Peter Hook's Unknown Pleasures. It's a good book with interesting accounts about Joy Division, many other punk and post punk bands and the Manchester music scene in the late 70s, beginning of the 80s. What a turmoil it must have been! Hook also gives us some insights on New Order and his book Substance on the band. Some bits of Unknown Pleasures are too technical and therefore of less interest to me but it still is ...more
Julie A.
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible and Devastating

A very thoughtful and well written book on what it was like to be Joy Division. My first college year was so influenced by this music. I still listen to it today. Ian Curtis would get more help now. It was simply different 40 years ago.
Nicole Perez
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I knew absolutely NOTHING about Joy Division before I read this book. I was familiar with New Order (which gets many references in this book but since it's not called "New Order," there's not a lot on their music). I do like a memoir, so I learned about the band as I read - getting angry when I'd tell people I was reading this and they'd tell me what happens to some of the band members. Instead of being super spoilery, I'll tell you the seven things I learned from this book that I will carry wit ...more
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
Ah, Joy Division. Dark, vulnerable, beautiful, immortal. Ian Curtis's lyrics still stand as daring, staring unflinchingly at the faces of life and death. Curtis has become synonymous with the tragic, romanticized mythical figure of rock & roll, as legend is wont to do, but bassist Peter Hook tears it down and gives us the band's story in a very candid, we're-just-normal-lads-from-the-North kind of way.

It was actually very funny and blunt, like sitting down to a solid conversation with a dude who
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love a good book where a band or music is the subject involved. This book did not disappoint. Already a fan of Joy Division and New Order, I was extremely excited to give this a go! Peter Hook(I'll refrain from calling him Hooky mainly because I am not his "mate") is a fun and honest story teller. Even when he thinks he is being honest in his accuracy, he is corrected in the truth. He obviously starts from the beginning. Upbringing, first musical influence, the band that set his sails of to se ...more
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Peter Hook, you are amazing. Hilarious, bawdy, and despite your self-deprecating description of yourself as a yobbo, quite brilliant and insightful. You also made me tear up for and ending I've known about for over three decades. You book on the Hacienda is next on my list, and I hope if I ever have the chance to meet you, you'll let me call you Hooky.
Feb 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Just like sitting down in the pub with a pint and having Peter Hook tell you the story of Joy Division, with all the resulting side stories and anecdotes you would expect. Great story about normal guys that did something amazing.
Brian Gruidl
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great and fun read. Definitely focuses just on Peter Hook's experience, which is great considering the fighting between he and Bernard. Fun to read about one member's perspective without throwing knives.
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Even better the second time (or third time or however many it's been now)! Hooky is a right good soul.
Dec 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's not often I'll read a book about a musician or band I'm not a massive fan of – but Joy Division hold an iconic place in British music history and all the reviews were glowing.
Oh, and it was two for £5 in HMV so, ya know...
Obviously, being there from the off bassist Peter Hook is perfectly placed to tell the story of one of the most influential bands of the last 40 years — and as with everything about the band, the book carries the long shadow of the late Ian Curtis.
And in may ways, that's
Katey Lovell
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a difficult one to review, because although I read the whole thing within 24 hours, I didn't find it easy.

The opening sections were probably my favourite, where he's going to punk gigs and first taking a serious interest in music. These sections also capture a sense of Manchester and the north in the late 1970s and make fascinating reading.

There was a lot of the dry humour I'd expected, and Hooky doesn't hold back with his opinions which makes it feel as though he's sharing his secrets
Colin Bardsley
Jul 09, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: music
Oh dear, oh dear! Total garbage. Love Joy Division and really, really like New Order. But I find it very difficult to like anything about Peter Hook. It was probably a mistake reading this. I thought I needed another perspective on the Joy Division story, to kind of complete the circle. But I was wrong. Long story short...
- Thick as pigshit scally forms a band to get girls
- Hits jackpot when talented guitarist mate from school has knack for great riffs
- Hits jackpot again when bonafide genius
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a must read for anyone interested in the punk and post-punk era of the 70's and very early 80's as well as those with any interest in what it was like to be in a band or the British music scene before social media, technology, hyper-commercialization and American Idol. While the focus is on the making of the band Joy Division into early New Order it provides a great foray into what it was like building a band and becoming a musician with nothing but a love for the music and scene an ...more
Kerry Dunn
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
I’m glad I listened to this on audio as read by Peter Hook. He is so natural. It never feels like he is “reading” but rather like you are sitting in a bar and he’s just telling you a bunch of stories about his time in Joy Division. This is a great intimate history of the band from the perspective of one of its more forthright members. Hooky doesn’t pull any punches and constantly reminds you this is HIS BOOK so he’ll say what he wants. My only slight critique of the book is about the countless r ...more
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have heard people describe this book as being like your drunk uncle telling you stories of his youth. Yep, that sounds about right. That said, the book was fun to read, and I will also read Peter Hook's book about New Order. I will also probably read Bernard Sumner's book, because of course I will. As gazillions of people have said, it's a shame they will never make music together again because they could be brilliant together at times. And apparently annoying as all get out together too, if t ...more
Really enjoyed this audiobook, read by the author.
Ever since the movie Control came out I've been a Joy Division fan.
This book satisfied my craving to know more about Joy Division and Ian Curtis. Problem now is, where can I find another book as good as this on the the band? Especially an audiobook.
Alex Bledsoe
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you're a hardcore fan, this is indispensable. If you're a casual fan, this is a great way to put the music in context. And even if you've never heard of Joy Division, this is a rollicking read that tours the original British punk years with a dry wit and appropriately snarky recollections. There's a lot of heart in this, too, as Hook reflects on the tragedy of Ian Curtis and what might have been.
Kyle Bateman
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best band history books ever written, in terms of the insight (heh) into the band and it’s members, pure entertainment value, this has yet to be surpassed by any other similar book I’ve read. HIGHLY recommend if you care about Joy Division or the years coming out of the initial punk scene in the UK even a little bit.
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“I suppose in the end it's almost too easy to look back and say what you should have done, how you might have changed things. What's harder - what's much, much harder - is to accept what you actually did do.” 8 likes
“Atmosphere" is a massive song. A lot of people say it's their favorite Joy Division song, but it's not mine; it reminds me too much of Ian, like it's his death march or something, and it figures that it's one of the most popular songs to play at funerals: Robbie Williams has got "Angels" for weddings and we've got "Atmosphere" for funerals.” 6 likes
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