Album: Substance (1980)
Charted: 34


  • In 2000, "Atmosphere" was voted the greatest song of the millennium by listeners of John Peel's BBC Radio 1 program. John Peel chose this song as the one to play on the air after announcing the death of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis.
  • This was not a hit when it was first released, following the death of lead singer Ian Curtis. It only entered the UK charts when it was re-released eight years later.
  • This was played near the end of the 2007 Ian Curtis biopic Control.
  • The song was played at the funeral of Factory Records founder Tony Wilson, who worked with Joy Division.
  • The song was written in two halves, with Peter Hook penning the bass written alone, then Bernard Sumner coming up with the keyboards afterwards.

    Hook commented to TeamRock: "The brainwave of putting them together was absolutely amazing. It is very moving and very melancholic, which Ian capitalized on with the vocal line and the lyrics."
  • This was used on Stranger Things in the season 1 episode "The Body." It plays at the beginning of the episode as the characters grieve the loss of a loved one.

Comments: 2

  • Steven from Wakefield, United KingdomThis is one of the most powerful songs I have ever heard, it's a very haunting song . The lyrics take you to the darkest thoughts in your mind! I am a joy division fan there isn't one of these songs I don't like but atmosphere is one of there best! Brilliant song there isn't many songs that can beat it!
  • Mike182 from Pittsburgh, PaBeautiful song....Ian Curtis was a poetic genius. He could sum up his emotions and thoughts in a few words and the listener would feel a personal connection with the song. This song reminds me of a time when things were not going so well in my life. I felt contempt for people that seemed like they had it better off than me. Yet despite this, I wanted their help to break me out of my funk.
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