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"She's Lost Control"
Song by Joy Division
from the album Unknown Pleasures
Released15 June 1979
Recorded1–17 April 1979 at Strawberry Studios, Stockport
LabelFactory Records
Songwriter(s)Bernard Sumner
Peter Hook
Stephen Morris
Ian Curtis [1]
Producer(s)Martin Hannett, Joy Division

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"She's Lost Control"
File:JoyDivision Atmosphere.jpg
Song by Joy Division
ReleasedAugust 1980 (US)
September 1980 (UK)
LabelFactory Records
Songwriter(s)Joy Division
Producer(s)Martin Hannett

"She's Lost Control" is a song by British post-punk band Joy Division. It was first introduced in a concert in June 1978. Two separate single recordings have been released: the version appearing on the band's 1979 debut album Unknown Pleasures, and a more electronic version first released in 1980 on a 12" single, coupled with "Atmosphere". This version has an additional verse, not present in the earlier one, and was recorded in March 1980 at Strawberry Studios, Stockport, making it one of the last Joy Division studio recordings. There are also a number of live versions appearing on the bonus discs of the re-issues of the band's albums.


The song centres on Peter Hook's bassline played high up on the neck, and a mechanistic drum beat played by Stephen Morris. Each drum was recorded completely separately, as producer Martin Hannett obsessively pursued clean drum sounds with no "bleed through" (when one drum's sound is added to the signal of another drum unintentionally) on songs he considered potential singles. Lead singer Ian Curtis's lyrics concern a girl having an epileptic seizure (i.e. "losing control"); a condition which Curtis himself later suffered from. Many indie bands have covered it, as well as Siobhan Fahey and Grace Jones. The song is about a girl who Ian Curtis met when she came to claim benefits at the Labour Exchange where he worked. One day she didn't come to the centre. Ian later learned that she died from a epileptic seizure.

Live, the song would be played at a faster pace, and much more aggressively, Curtis often shouting the lyrics before the bridge sections. The syndrum used would often be more abrasive and louder in the mix than it was in the studio recordings. On later live recordings, Curtis would play a keyboard line during the coda, one of only a few songs on which he would play an instrument.

In other media[]

A very loose cover of the song by Alive She Died featured prominently in a late-2015 advertising campaign for the cruise/resort collection of the Italian fashion house, Gucci.

The name of the song is referenced in the title of the Ian Curtis biopic Control, which includes the incident inspiring the song, and also the recording of the song, showing Morris using an aerosol can sprayed into a microphone as percussion.

The guitar riff for "She's Lost Control" was sampled by 808 State for their single "Contrique" in 1993.[2]

The film 24 Hour Party People includes a scene dramatizing the recording of the song, and suggests that Morris recorded the drum beat on the roof of the studio, as well as continuing to play the beat long after the other band members had left the studio.

The song appears in Skins in the series 3 episode "Effy".


  1. Ascap entry
  2. Carlson, Dean. "808 State - Statetostate - Review". Retrieved 13 March 2013.

External links[]

  • Template:MetroLyrics song

Template:Joy Division