Album: Sawdust (2007)
Charted: 68
Play Video


  • This was originally recorded by Joy Division on their 1979 debut album Unknown Pleasures. The Killers covered it for the soundtrack to Control, the 2007 British movie about the Manchester band's lead singer and songwriter Ian Curtis.
  • In Rolling Stone magazine the director of Control, Anton Corbjin, explained why he used this song at the closing credits: "The end scenes are very strong and very beautiful. There's also the reason why over the credits I put on a poppy version of 'Shadow Play' that The Killers had made for the film, because it helps you lift the mood a bit."
  • Frontman Brandon Flowers told the Daily Mail December 7, 2007 about the way they decided to cover this song: "We wanted to give the song an emotional uplift. It actually sounds more like New Order than Joy Division."
  • Ian Curtis of Joy Division wrote the original lyrics, which include a reference to suicide: "In the shadowplay acting out your own death, knowing no more." Curtis hanged himself just over a year after Joy Division recorded this.

Comments: 3

  • Paris from Cardiff, United Kingdomwell done on The Killers for not corrupting this song. i love Joy Division aswell, and when i heard they were covering it i was so excited- i had all right to! it turned out great!
  • Kylie from Ventura, CaSorry, but I think The Killers version is better. Joy Division gets big props for writing it though.
  • Ruby from San Francisco, CaLOVE Joy Division!!! Ian Curtis is one lyrical genius...but umm the name of the album "Shadowplay" appears on is called "UNKNOWN Pleasures" :-)
    And I LOVE The Killers' version, I love both versions the same and the Killers did a good job no corrupting the song, in my opinion at least.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Dwight Twilley

Dwight TwilleySongwriter Interviews

Since his debut single "I'm On Fire" in 1975, Dwight has been providing Spinal-Tap moments and misadventure.

Daryl Hall

Daryl HallSongwriter Interviews

Daryl Hall's TV show is a hit, and he's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - only one of these developments excites him.

90s Music Quiz 1

90s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

First question: Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson appeared in videos for what artist?

Trans Soul Rebels: Songs About Transgenderism

Trans Soul Rebels: Songs About TransgenderismSong Writing

A history of songs dealing with transgender issues, featuring Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Morrissey and Green Day.

Director Wes Edwards ("Drunk on a Plane")

Director Wes Edwards ("Drunk on a Plane")Song Writing

Wes Edwards takes us behind the scenes of videos he shot for Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley and Chase Bryant. The train was real - the airplane was not.

Did They Really Sing In That Movie?

Did They Really Sing In That Movie?Fact or Fiction

Bradley Cooper, Michael J. Fox, Rami Malek, Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow and George Clooney: Which actors really sang in their movies?