Meaning of “She’s Lost Control” by Joy Division

She’s Lost Control is a song by the English post-punk band Joy Division. The lyrics of the song were inspired by the life of a young woman suffering from epilepsy. In the late 1970s (precisely between 1978 and 1979), Ian Curtis, the singer and lyricist of Joy Division worked as a civil servant at an occupational rehabilitation center in the market town of Macclesfield in Cheshire, England, where he met a young epileptic woman seriously looking for a job despite her severe epilepsy. She often suffered epileptic seizures during her appointments at the centre. At some point, the young woman stopped coming to the center, making Curtis to assume that she had finally found a job. However, this wasn’t the case. To Curtis’ greatest shock, the woman had died after experiencing a severe epileptic seizure.

The woman’s life, coupled with Curtis’ own lifelong battle with severe epilepsy led to the birth of the lyrics of She’s Lost Control.

In an interview with Q magazine, Bernard Sumner of Joy Division stated the following about the meaning of the song:

She's Lost Control

It is noteworthy that since the woman choked to death in her sleep during an epileptic fit, Curtis began to harbor fears that he might also die in his sleep in a similar way the woman died. He therefore took a number of precautions to try to prevent that from happening to him. One such precaution involved Curtis and his wife Deborah coming up with a nightly ritual that saw Curtis waiting to have an epileptic seizure in front of his wife (that is providing he didn’t have one during the day) before going to sleep.

Facts about “She’s Lost Control”

  • The song was written by all four members of Joy Division (Bernard Sumner, Ian Curtis, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris).
  • The song’s lyrics were penned by Curtis.
  • She’s Lost Control was produced by Joy Division and Martin Zero (Martin Hannett).
  • The title of the 2007 biographical film Control, which is about Ian Curtis’ life, was derived from the song’s title.
  • The song was released on June 15th, 1979 as the 6th track on Joy Division’s critically acclaimed debut studio album Unknown Pleasures.
  • The band never made an official music video for She’s Lost Control.

Which artists have covered “She’s Lost Control”?

Since the song’s release in 1979, it has been covered by such artists as Jamaican singer and songwriter Grace Jones in 1980, Greek minimal wave band Alive She Died in 1985, and the English rock band Peter Hook and The Light (formed by Peter Hook of Joy Division) in 2010.

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