Fans of Joy Division will recognize this awesome head tube as being inspired by the cover of the 1979 album, Unknown Pleasures. The original artwork was created by Peter Saville, and, strangely enough, had another reincarnation in the bike world last year with the U.K.’s Orange Bikes.
Saville took his inspiration from an illustration in the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy showing pulses from the first discovered pulsar, drawing the lines in black on white paper and then converting it to white on black. Orange was looking for concepts for the cover of its 2011 brochure and adapted the Saville art to represent both the Orange logo and the hills where they ride. At extra expense, they added metallic to the ink to give a shimmer and represent the aluminum in their frames. The cover was a winner, and so were the t-shirts they sold with the art on them.
And then, out of the blue came a phone call from Peter Hook, one of the founders of Joy Division. Ruh-roh.
“One day [we] took a phone call from Peter Hook asking about the shirts and the artwork copyright, and we sat discussing whether it could be the ‘real’ Peter Hook or a hoax phone call,” writes Michael Bonney from Orange. “I’m a big Joy Division/New Order fan, knew of the stories of Peter’s reputation and knew it was probably not a hoax, so nervously I returned the call.”
As it turns out, Hook was down with the art — but he asked that a portion of the profits from the t-shirts be donated to The Epilepsy Society, in memory of Ian Curtis, the Joy Division singer who had epilepsy and committed suicide in 1980. Orange donated more than a portion: All profits from the tees go to the society. (They cost £25 and can be ordered here.)
UPDATE: Sinuhe Xavier points us to one man’s dogged attempt to find the true copyright status of this image…the conclusion? It’s copyright-free. Read more here: http://adamcap.com/2011/05/history-of-joy-division-unknown-pleasures-album-art/