She's Lost Control

Album: Unknown Pleasures (1979)

Songfacts®:

  • A track from Joy Division's first album, the lyric was written by lead singer Ian Curtis, who killed himself the following year. The song sounds like it is about a girl engaging is self-destructive behavior, but it is actually about an epileptic. Speaking with Q magazine, Joy Division guitarist Bernard Sumner explained: "'She's Lost Control' was about a girl who used to come into the rehab center where Ian worked, to try and find work. She had epilepsy and lost more and more time through it and then one day she just didn't come in any more. He assumed that she'd found a job, but found out later she'd had a fit and died."

    Around the time the band started recording Unknown Pleasures, Ian Curtis began having epileptic seizures, which got progressively worse until his death.
  • Songs like this one gave the impression that Joy Division was a rather morose lot, but according to Tony Wilson, who owned the group's record label, they actually had a lot of fun around this time, often playing pranks on each other.
  • Stephen Morris admitted in Joy Division: The Oral History by Jon Savage that his drumming on "She's Lost Control" was inspired by Phil Spector. "The same beat, but played with different sounds," he said. "It's just a classic Phil Spector beat. If you listen to it and imagine it played on a big drum kit, it's the same thing really. See, I'm not original at all."
  • Martin Hannett's creepy production included getting Morris in a vocal booth doing the hi-hat pattern with an aerosol spray. Bernard Sumner recalled, "Unfortunately, I think it was fly spray or something, it's nearly killed Steve - you know, psssst, psssst all the way through the track."

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