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Studio version

Atrocity exhibition

Asylums with doors open wide
Where people could pay to see inside
For entertainment they watch his body twist
Behind his eyes he says I still exist
This is the way, step inside

In arenas he kills for a prize
Wins a minute to add to his life
But the sickness is drowned by cries for more
Pray to God, make it quick, watch him fall
This is the way, step inside

You'll see the horrors of a faraway place
Meet the architects of law face to face
See mass murder on a scale you've never seen
And all the ones who try hard to succeed
This is the way, step inside

And I picked on the whims of a thousand more
Still pursuing the path that's been buried for years
All the dead wood from jungles and cities on fire
Can't replace or relate, can't release or repair
Take my hand, and
I'll show you what was and will be



Concert version

Translations: Español | Français | Italiano | Português



Line-up: Ian Curtis | Peter Hook | Stephen Morris | Bernard Sumner
Peter Hook played the guitar, and Bernard Sumner the bass



Title for this song is the same as one book by James Graham Ballard, one of Ian Curtis' favourite writers
When asked whether this novel influenced his lyrics,
Ian Curtis replied: "Actually no, I'd written the lyrics way before I read Atrocity Exhibition and I was looking for a title because sometimes I just can't think up a good title. Anyway I just saw this title at the beginning of one of his books and I thought that it just fitted with the ideas of the lyrics. Sometime after I wrote the lyrics and the song had been established in our set, I read the book and it is by pure coincidence that some of the ideas in the book are similar to some of the ideas in the lyrics"

Also called Welcome to the atrocity exhibition on bootlegs



Live recordings

Date: Monday 4 June 1979
Studio: Pennine Sound Studios – Oldham (UK)
Duration: 4.14

Availability on record:

Date: Monday 18–Sunday 30 March 1980
Studio: Britannia Row Studios – London (UK)
Duration: 6.03

Availability on record: Closer | Heart And Soul