The One Song Keanu Reeves Could Listen to the Rest of His Life

In 2019, Stephen Colbert asked Keanu Reeves what happens to us when we die. His response:  “I know that the ones who love us will miss us.” The viral response prompted the host to run another series of questions by Reeves during his appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert in 2022.

During the follow-up, Colbert Questionert Reeves was asked what song he could listen to for the rest of his life. After a brief pause, Reeves answered “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division.

For Reeves, who grew up glued to bands like Fugazi, The Clash, Violent Femmes, and The Ramones, it was Joy Division that left a deeper branding on him. Buying his first bass in 1987, Reeves started playing with his band Dogstar in the early ’90s. The band released their third album Somewhere Between the Power Lines and Palm Trees in 2023.

“I wanted to learn to play bass,” said Reeves in 2000. “I liked the sound of the bass. I found my ear following it in music.”

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[RELATED: 4 Songs You Didn’t Know Keanu Reeves Wrote]

It was also Joy Division’s Peter Hook who had the most influence on Reeves as a musician. “It’s kind of a bass line but a melody line,” said Reeves of Hook’s playing, “and kind of romantically epic, in a gothic kind of way.”

Reeves also revealed some of his favorite Joy Division songs, including “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” “Atmosphere,” and “Ceremony.”

[RELATED: American Songwriter 2023 Interview with Dogstar Members Bret Domrose, Keanu Reeves, and Robert Mailhouse ]

In a 2014 Reddit Ask Me Anything interview session, Reeves circled back to the 1980 Joy Division song. “Today I am going to pick ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ by Joy Division,” said Reeves of his favorite song.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 22: Keanu Reeves of Dogstar performs at SiriusXM Studios on September 22, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images for ABA)

Ian Curtis’ ‘Love’ Song

Written by late Joy Division vocalist Ian Curtis, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was a response to Captain & Tenille’s No. 1 pop hit “Love Will Keep Us Together” from 1975.

Lyrically, at the time of writing the song the singer’s marriage to Deborah Curtis was deteriorating as he was struggling with severe seizures linked to his epilepsy, and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was the narrative he wrote.

When routine bites hard and ambitions are low
And resentment rides high but emotions won’t grow
And we’re changing our ways, taking different roads

Then love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

Why is the bedroom so cold? You’ve turned away on your side
Is my timing that flawed? Our respect runs so dry
Yet there’s still this appeal that we’ve kept through our lives

But love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

“Love Will Tear Us Apart” was released a month after Curtis’ death on May 18, 1980, at age 23.

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Dogstar

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