Joy Division rapidly evolved from their initial punk rock influences to develop a sound and style that made them one of the pioneers of the post-punk movement of the late 1970s. Their self-released 1978 debut EP, An Ideal for Living, drew the attention of the Manchester television personality Tony Wilson. Joy Division's debut album, Unknown Pleasures, was released in 1979 on Wilson's independent record label Factory Records, and drew critical acclaim from the British press. Despite the band's growing success, vocalist Ian Curtis was beset with depression and personal difficulties, including a dissolving marriage and his diagnosis of epilepsy. Curtis found it increasingly difficult to perform at live concerts, and often had seizures during performances.
On the eve of the band's first American tour in May 1980, Curtis committed suicide. Joy Division's posthumously released second album, Closer (1980), and the single "Love Will Tear Us Apart" became the band's highest charting releases. After the death of Curtis, the remaining members continued as New Order, achieving critical and commercial success.
The 2020 version has been reissued with remastered audio. The single has never been repressed or reissued before and is cut on 180g vinyl, featuring the original artwork on heavyweight board.