Soon afterwards, the 21-year-old Curtis was diagnosed with epilepsy. Hook conjectures that Curtis suspected his condition when he wrote the lyrics, which may explain his empathy for the girl — though he kept it hidden from his bandmates. Curtis killed himself in 1980, an event that Hook blames in part on the stress of living with seizures. Weeks later 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' was a posthumous breakthrough hit.
Joy Division were broke. The band only afford to practise for a few hours a week, and songs, including 'She's Lost Control', were necessarily written in haste and existed only when all four members came together. Even a tape recorder was beyond their means. When Grace Jones covered the song in 1980, the bewildered band received £5000, which seemed to them a fortune.
Jones's version, with lyrics adjusted to a female perspective, was released in 1980 as a B-side to another cover, the Pretenders' 'Private Life'. She recorded her version in the Bahamas at Compass Point Studios, backed by the house band, which included production duo Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. Hook's desolate bassline remains, but is repurposed into a squelchy reggae riff. Jones remembers in her autobiography that the song was among several chosen by Chris Blackwell, owner of Island records, and his team; the covers were designed to redirect her career from New York disco to an international audience.
Jones recalls that she interpreted the song literally. "I lost control to such an extent that I scared myself.... As far as I was concerned it was a self-portrait." In contrast to Curtis's third-person narrative, Jones's version is about herself. While his performance is restrained, her vocals are deranged. The song was an ingenious choice for an artist whose persona is defined by control.
Since then there have been some less celebrated covers, including Greek new wave band Alive She Died, whose mid-1980s recording was used by Gucci in a recent advertising campaign, and by the group Shakespeare's Sister in 2004.