No Love Lost (as made famous by Joy Division)

On 20 July 1976, childhood friends Sumner and Hook separately attended a Sex Pistols show at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall. The following day Hook borrowed £35 from his mother to buy his first bass guitar.[1] Sumner later said that he felt that the Pistols “destroyed the myth of being a pop star, of a musician being some kind of god that you had to worship”.[2] Inspired by the performance, Sumner and Hook formed a band with their friend Terry Mason, who had also attended the show. Sumner bought a guitar, and Mason a drum kit. They invited schoolfriend Martin Gresty to join as vocalist, but he turned them down after getting a job at a local factory.[3] An advertisement was placed in the Virgin Records shop in Manchester for a vocalist. Ian Curtis, who knew them from earlier gigs, responded and was hired without audition.[2] Sumner said that he “knew he was all right to get on with and that’s what we based the whole group on. If we liked someone, they were in”.[4]

Buzzcocks manager Richard Boon and frontman Pete Shelley have both been credited with suggesting the band name “Stiff Kittens”, but settled on “Warsaw” shortly before their first gig, referencing David Bowie’s song “Warszawa”.[5][6][7] Warsaw debuted on 29 May 1977 at the Electric Circus, supporting the Buzzcocks, Penetration and John Cooper Clarke.[7] They received immediate national exposure due to reviews of the gig in the NME by Paul Morley and in Sounds by Ian Wood.[8][9] Tony Tabac played drums that night after joining the band two days earlier.[7][10] Mason was soon made the band’s manager and Tabac was replaced on drums in June 1977 by Steve Brotherdale, who also played in the punk band Panik.[11] During his tenure with Warsaw, Brotherdale tried to get Curtis to leave the band and join Panik and even got Curtis to audition for the band.[12][13] In July 1977, Warsaw recorded a set of five demo tracks at Pennine Sound Studios, Oldham.[14] Uneasy with Brotherdale’s aggressive personality, the band fired him soon after the demo sessions. Driving home from the studio, they pulled over and asked Brotherdale to check on a flat tyre; when he got out of the car, they sped off.[15]

In August 1977, the band placed an advertisement in a music shop window seeking a replacement drummer. Stephen Morris, who had attended the same school as Curtis, was the sole respondent. Deborah Curtis, Ian’s wife, stated that Morris “fitted perfectly” with the other men, and that with his addition Warsaw became a “complete ‘family'”.[16] To avoid confusion with the London punk band Warsaw Pakt, the band renamed themselves Joy Division in early 1978, borrowing their new name from the sexual slavery wing of a Nazi concentration camp mentioned in the 1955 novel House of Dolls.[13][17] In December, the group recorded what became their debut EP, An Ideal for Living, at Pennine Sound Studio and played their final gig as Warsaw on New Year’s Eve at The Swinging Apple in Liverpool.[18] Billed as Warsaw to ensure an audience, the band played their first gig as Joy Division on 25 January 1978 at Pip’s Disco in Manchester.[19]

Joy Division were approached by RCA Records to record a cover of Nolan “N.F.” Porter’s “Keep on Keepin’ On” and were afforded recording time at a professional Manchester studio in return. Joy Division spent late March and April 1978 writing and rehearsing material.[20] During the Stiff/Chiswick Challenge concert at Manchester’s Rafters Club on 14 April, the group caught the attention of Tony Wilson and Rob Gretton. Curtis berated Wilson for not putting the group on his Granada Television show So It Goes; Wilson responded that Joy Division would be the next band he would showcase on TV.[21] Gretton, the venue’s resident DJ, was so impressed by the band’s performance that he convinced them to take him on as their manager.[1] Gretton, whose “dogged determination” would later be credited for much of the band’s public success, contributed the business skills that Joy Division lacked to provide them with a better foundation for creativity.[22][23] Joy Division spent the first week of May 1978 recording at Manchester’s Arrow Studios. The band were unhappy with the Grapevine Records head John Anderson’s insistence on adding synthesiser into the mix to soften the sound, and asked to be dropped from the contract that they had recently signed with RCA.[24][25]

Joy Division made their recorded debut in June 1978 when the band self-released An Ideal for Living, and two weeks later a track of theirs, “At a Later Date”, was featured on the compilation album Short Circuit: Live at the Electric Circus (which had been recorded live in October 1977).[26][27] In the Melody Maker review of the EP, Chris Brazier said that it “has the familiar rough-hewn nature of home-produced records, but they’re no mere drone-vendors—there are a lot of good ideas here, and they could be a very interesting band by now, seven months on”.[28] The packaging of An Ideal for Living—which featured a drawing of a Hitler Youth member on the cover—coupled with the nature of the band’s name, fuelled speculation about their political affiliations.[29] While Hook and Sumner later admitted to being intrigued by fascism at the time, Morris insisted that the group’s obsession with Nazi imagery came from a desire to keep memories of the sacrifices of their parents and grandparents during World War II alive. He argued that accusations of neo-Nazi sympathies merely provoked the band “to keep on doing it, because that’s the kind of people we are”.[17]

In September 1978, Joy Division made their television debut performing “Shadowplay” on So It Goes, with an introduction by Wilson in which he misidentified Sumner, and not Hook, as being from Salford.[30] In October,[31] Joy Division contributed two tracks recorded with producer Martin Hannett to the compilation double-7″ EP A Factory Sample, the first release by Tony Wilson’s record label, Factory Records. In the NME review of the EP, Paul Morley hailed the band as “the missing link between Elvis Presley and [Siouxsie and] the Banshees”.[32] Joy Division joined Factory’s roster, after buying themselves out of the deal with RCA.[33][34] Rob Gretton was made a partner of the label so as to represent the interests of the band.[35] On 27 December, Ian Curtis had his first recognisable epileptic episode. During the ride home after a show at the Hope and Anchor pub in London, Curtis experienced an epileptic seizure and was taken to a hospital.[36] In spite of his illness, Joy Division’s career progressed. He appeared on the cover of 13 January 1979 issue of the NME following the persistence of music journalist Paul Morley. That month the band recorded their first session for BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel. According to Deborah Curtis, “Sandwiched in between these two important landmarks was the realization that Ian’s illness was something we would have to learn to accommodate”.[37]

Dead Souls (as made famous by Joy Division)

Substance is a singles compilation album by English rock band Joy Division. It was released on 11 July 1988 by Factory Records. It is the companion to a similar singles compilation by their subsequent band New Order, also entitled Substance. It peaked at number 7 on the UK Albums Chart[4] and 146 on the Billboard 200, the band’s only chart appearance in the United States. It also reached number 15 in New Zealand and number 53 in Australia in August 1988.

Substance compiles the four singles released by the band that did not appear on albums — “Transmission”, “Komakino”, “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, and “Atmosphere” — as well as most of their B-sides. It also collects tracks released on extended play singles, the band’s first release An Ideal for Living, and two samplers issued by Factory Records, A Factory Sample and Earcom 2: Contradiction. The single “Atmosphere” had been originally issued in France as “Licht und Blindheit” with “Dead Souls” on the B-side. Following the death of Ian Curtis, it was reissued as a posthumous B-side of the “She’s Lost Control” single in an alternate version from the track that had previously appeared on Unknown Pleasures. The vinyl version omits the single “Komakino” and does not include the complete titles from the extended plays.

Later CD pressings issued by London Records contain a previously unreleased mix of “She’s Lost Control” that is slightly different from the original single release. More guitar is mixed within the song, the synthesizer melody is shortened and starts at a later point, and the ending of the song is extended by 15 seconds and does not fade out.

Substance was digitally remastered in 2015 containing the alternate mix of “She’s Lost Control” and two additional tracks: “As You Said” (the second b-side of Komakino) and the “Pennine version” of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (originally released on the B-side of the original single).

The cover features Wim Crouwel’s New Alphabet typeface. The letters used actually spell “Subst1mce”, rather than “Substance”. Brett Wickens, who worked on this cover whilst a partner at Saville Associates, claims this was for aesthetic reasons.[5] The 1991 cover was different, featuring new art.

Disorder (as made famous by Joy Division)

Unknown Pleasures is the debut studio album by English rock band Joy Division, released on 15 June 1979 on Tony Wilson’s Factory Records label.[1] The album was recorded and mixed over three successive weekends at Stockport’s Strawberry Studios in April 1979 and was produced by Martin Hannett,[1] who incorporated a number of unconventional recording and production techniques into the group’s sound. The cover artwork was designed by artist Peter Saville. It is the only Joy Division album released during lead singer Ian Curtis’s lifetime.

Factory Records did not release any singles from Unknown Pleasures, and the album did not chart despite the relative success of the group’s non-album debut single “Transmission”. It has since received sustained critical acclaim as an influential post-punk album, and has been named as one of the best albums of all-time by publications such as NME, AllMusic, Select and Spin.

Joy Division formed in Salford, Greater Manchester in 1976 during the first wave of punk rock. Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook had separately attended a Sex Pistols show at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall on 4 June 1976 and both embraced that band’s simplicity, speed and aggression.[2] Forming a band with their friend Terry Mason on drums, Sumner on guitar and Hook on bass, they advertised for a singer. Ian Curtis, who Sumner and Hook already knew, applied and, without having to audition, was taken on.[3] After a number of changes of drummer, Stephen Morris joined the band—at that time called Warsaw—in August 1977. To avoid confusion with the London punk band Warsaw Pakt, they renamed themselves Joy Division in late 1977.[4]

After signing a recording contract with RCA Records in early 1978, Joy Division recorded some demos; however, they were unhappy with the way their music was mixed and asked to be released from their contract.[5][6] The band’s first release was the self-produced extended play (EP), An Ideal for Living, which was released in June 1978. They made their television debut on Tony Wilson’s local news show Granada Reports in September 1978.[7] According to Hook, the band received a £70,000 offer from Genetic Records in London.[8] However, the band’s manager, Rob Gretton, approached Wilson about releasing an album on his Factory Records label.[9] Wilson explained that Gretton had calculated that given Factory’s 50/50 split of profits, the band could make as much money with the indie label as it could by signing to a major. Wilson added that one of Gretton’s main reasons for approaching Factory was so “he wouldn’t have to get on a train to London every week and ‘talk to nuggets’. No one could use the word ‘cockney’ with as much contempt as Rob”.[9] Gretton estimated that the album would cost £8,000 to produce; however Wilson said in 2006 that the up-front cost ended at £18,000.[9]

Unknown Pleasures was recorded at Strawberry Studios in Stockport over three weekends between 1 and 17 April 1979, with Martin Hannett producing.[1] Hannett, who believed that punk rock was sonically conservative because of its refusal to use studio technology to create sonic space,[10] used a number of unusual production techniques and sound effects on the album, including several AMS 15-80s digital delays, Marshall Time Modulators, tape echo and bounce,[11] as well as the sound of a bottle smashing, someone eating crisps, backwards guitar and the sound of the Strawberry Studios lift with a Leslie speaker “whirring inside”.[12] He also used the sound of a basement toilet.[13] Hannett recorded Curtis’s vocals for “Insight” down a telephone line so he could achieve the “requisite distance”. Hannett later said, “[Joy Division] were a gift to a producer, because they didn’t have a clue. They didn’t argue”.[3] Referring to the recording sessions, Hook remembered, “Sumner started using a kit-built Powertran Transcendent 2000 synthesiser, most notably on ‘I Remember Nothing’, where it vied with the sound of Rob Gretton smashing bottles with Steve and his Walther replica pistol.”[12] During the recording, Morris invested in a syndrum because he thought he saw one on the cover of Can’s 1971 album Tago Mago.[12]

AllMusic wrote that Hannett’s production on Unknown Pleasures was “as much a hallmark as the music itself,” describing it as “emphasizing space in the most revelatory way since the dawn of dub.”[14] Describing Hannett’s production techniques, Hook said, “[He] didn’t think straight, he thought sideways. He confused you and made you do something you didn’t expect.”[15] Hook went on to say, “Derek Bramwood of Strawberry Studios said that you can take a group that have got on brilliantly for 20 years, put them in a studio with Martin and within five minutes, they’ll be trying to slash each other’s throats.” However, Hook went on to say that Hannett was only as good as the material he had to work with, “We gave him great songs, and like a top chef, he added some salt and pepper and some herbs and served up the dish. But he needed our ingredients.”[15] The band members’ opinions differed on the “spacious, atmospheric sound” of the album, which did not reflect their more aggressive live sound. Sumner said, “The music was loud and heavy, and we felt that Martin had toned it down, especially with the guitars. The production inflicted this dark, doomy mood over the album: we’d drawn this picture in black and white, and Martin had coloured it in for us. We resented it…”[3] Hook said, “I couldn’t hide my disappointment then, it sounded like Pink Floyd.”[12]

Morris disagreed, saying, “I was happy with Unknown Pleasures. My theory on things at the time was that the two things—listening to a record and going to a gig—were quite different. You don’t want to hear a record when you go to a gig: you want something with a bit of energy.”[12] Curtis was also happy with the production of the album and was impressed with Hannett’s work.[16] Hook conceded in 2006, “It definitely didn’t turn out sounding the way I wanted it … But now I can see that Martin did a good job on it … There’s no two ways about it, Martin Hannett created the Joy Division sound.” Hook also noted that he was able to hear Curtis’s lyrics and Sumner’s guitar parts for the first time on the record, because during gigs the band played too loudly.[9]

Peter Saville, who had previously designed posters for Manchester’s Factory club in 1978, designed the cover of the album.[17] Sumner[18] chose the image used on the cover, which is based on an image of radio waves from pulsar CP 1919, from The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Astronomy. Saville reversed the image from black-on-white to white-on-black and printed it on textured card for the original version of the album.[12] It is not a Fourier analysis, but rather an image of the intensity of successive radio pulses, as stated in the Cambridge Encyclopaedia. The image was originally created by radio astronomer Harold Craft at the Arecibo Observatory for his 1970 PhD thesis.[19]

This image became well-known, featuring on T-shirts (even parodied by a quickly-withdrawn Disney shirt[20]). When reviewing the 2007 remastered version of Unknown Pleasures, Pitchfork critic Joshua Klein described the cover art as “iconic”.[21] Susie Goldring, reviewing the album for BBC Online said, “The duochrome Peter Saville cover of this first Joy Division album speaks volumes. Its white on black lines reflect a pulse of power, a surge of bass, and raw angst. If the cover doesn’t draw you in, the music will.”[22]

In April 2017, the term “joyplot” was coined [23] as a series of statistical data graphed in such a way that they resemble the album cover artwork.[24]

The inner sleeve features a black-and-white photograph of a door with a hand near the handle. It was some years later before Saville discovered that the photograph was Hand Through a Doorway, a well-known picture by Ralph Gibson.[17] Author Chris Ott suggests that the album title was probably a reference to Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past.[25]

Unknown Pleasures was initially printed in a run of 10,000 copies,[16] with 5,000 copies being sold within the first two weeks of release,[26] and a further 10,000 copies being sold over the following six months. Initially, sales of Unknown Pleasures were slow until the release of the non-LP single, “Transmission”, and unsold copies occupied the Factory Records office in the flat of label co-founder Alan Erasmus.

Following the release of “Transmission”, Unknown Pleasures sold out of its initial pressing, with this prompting further pressings. Unknown Pleasures created approximately £50,000 in profit, to be shared between Factory Records and the band; however, Tony Wilson spent most of these profits on Factory projects.[27] By the conclusion of a critically acclaimed promotional tour supporting Buzzcocks in November 1979, Unknown Pleasures had neared 15,000 copies sold.[28]

Unknown Pleasures failed to chart on the UK Albums Chart. However, following Curtis’s suicide in May 1980 and the release of their second album, Closer, in July, it was reissued and reached number seventy-one that August.[29] It fared better on the UK Indie Chart, placing at number two on the first chart to be published in January 1980 and going on to top the chart following its reissue, spending 136 weeks on the chart in total.[30]

In 2007, remastered versions of both Unknown Pleasures and the posthumous studio album Closer—plus the 1981 compilation album Still—were re-released, with the remastered version of Unknown Pleasures including a bonus disc of a live recording of the band playing at The Factory in Manchester on 13 July 1979.[1] The album was also re-released on 180-gram vinyl with the original track listing in 2007, with this version also being available in a limited edition box set with Closer and Still.[31]

Reviewing the album for Melody Maker, Jon Savage called Unknown Pleasures an “opaque manifesto” and declared “[leaving] the twentieth century is difficult; most people prefer to go back and nostalgise, Oh boy. Joy Division at least set a course in the present with contrails for the future—perhaps you can’t ask for much more. Indeed, Unknown Pleasures may very well be one of the best, white, English, debut LPs of the year.”[32] Max Bell of NME described the record as “extraordinary,” writing that “without trying to baffle or overreach itself, this outfit step into a labyrinth that is rarely explored with any smidgeon of real conviction.”[33] He positively compared it to the work of Strange Days-era Doors and “German experimentalists” such as Can and Neu!.[33] In Rolling Stone, music journalist Mikal Gilmore described the album as having “a doleful, deep-toned sound that often suggested an elaborate version of the Velvet Underground or an orderly Public Image Ltd.”[34] By August of that year the album’s stature as a favourite of critics for the year was established.[35]

Other writers were less enthusiastic. Red Starr, writing for Smash Hits, gave the album a generally positive review, describing it as a “bleak nightmare soundtrack”.[36] Starr described the lyrics as “mysterious” and “doomy” which were “amidst intense music of urgent guitar, eerie effects and driving rhythms”. However, Starr tempered his review by saying not to “expect too much” as the album was “still pretty raw”.[36] Writing about Factory for Melody Maker in September 1979, Mary Harron was less impressed: “I found at least half of [Unknown Pleasures] to be turgid and monotonous, and the vocals heavy and melodramatic—Jim Morrison without flair.”[37] She went on to say the lyrics and the atmosphere of the album “seemed to hearken back to the late Sixties” and the songs were “a series of disconnected images”.[37]

Ian Curtis – lead vocals
Bernard Sumner – guitar; keyboards
Peter Hook – bass guitar
Stephen Morris – drums; percussion

Martin Hannett – producer; synthesizer; sound effects
Chris Nagle – engineer
Peter Saville – design
Chris Mathan – design

Transmission (as made famous by Joy Division)

“Transmission” is a song by English post-punk band Joy Division. It was released in 1979 by record label Factory as the band’s debut single.

“Transmission” was released on 7″ vinyl in October 1979[3] by record label Factory. It was re-released as a 12″ single with a different sleeve in December 1980. The single charted twice in New Zealand, debuting at number 2 in September 1981 and re-appearing again at number 24 in July 1984.

Greil Marcus has a chapter on this song in his book The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs.[4] According to Marcus, “‘Transmission’ is not an argument. It’s a dramatization of the realization that the act of listening to the radio is a suicidal gesture. It will kill your mind. It will rob your soul.”[5] Marcus also quotes the band’s bassist Peter Hook about the importance of this song: “We were doing a soundcheck at the Mayflower, in May, and we played ‘Transmission’: people had been moving around, and they all stopped to listen. I realized that was our first great song.”[6]

Love Will Tear Us Apart (as made famous by Joy Division)

“Love Will Tear Us Apart” is a song by English post-punk band Joy Division. It was written in August 1979, and debuted when the band supported Buzzcocks on their UK tour from September to November of that same year. It is one of the few songs in which singer Ian Curtis played guitar (albeit somewhat minimally) on live versions. His lyrics ostensibly reflect the problems in his marriage to Deborah Curtis, as well as his general frame of mind in the time leading up to his suicide in May 1980.[5] The title is an ironic reference to “Love Will Keep Us Together”. Deborah had the phrase “Love Will Tear Us Apart” inscribed on Ian’s memorial stone.

The song was first released as a single in June 1980 and became the band’s first chart hit, reaching number 13 in the UK Singles Chart.[6] That October, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” peaked at number 42 on the Billboard disco chart.[7] It also reached number 1 in New Zealand in June 1981.[8] The band postponed their US tour after Curtis’ death, performed a few short sets as The No-Names, then finally renamed the group as New Order. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was re-released in 1983 and reached number 19 on the UK charts[6] and re-appeared at number 3 in New Zealand during March 1984.[8] In 1985, the 7″ single was released in Poland by Tonpress in different sleeve under license from Factory and sold over 20,000 copies.[9] In November 1988, it made one more Top 40 appearance in New Zealand, peaking at number 39.[8] “Love Will Tear Us Apart” appears on the Substance compilation album. It was first recorded for a John Peel session in November 1979, then re-recorded in January 1980 and March 1980. It is the latter version that appears on Substance. The January 1980 version, which has since become known as the “Pennine version”, originally appeared as one of the single’s B-sides.

In 1995, to publicise the release of Permanent, the track was reissued, complete with a new remix by Arthur Baker and a new radio edit, also known as the “Permanent Mix”. On 24 September 2007, the single was again reissued, in its original configuration. This time, it was to publicise the Collector’s Edition re-issues of the band’s three albums. Although the single was now issued on the Warner label, it retained the classic Factory packaging, including the FAC 23 catalogue number.

The song was originally recorded at Pennine Studios, Oldham on 8 January 1980 along with the B-side, “These Days”. This version was similar to the version the band played live. Ian Curtis and Martin Hannett, however, disliked this version, which has since become known as the “Pennine version”, and, as a consequence, the band reconvened at Strawberry Studios, Stockport in March to re-record it.[2] Whilst Curtis, who generally did not play guitar at all, played guitar on the song live – the band taught him D major specifically – the guitar on the recording was a 12-string Eko guitar played by Sumner.[10] Sumner recalls:

Ian didn’t really want to play guitar, but for some reason we wanted him to play it. I can’t remember the reason now … I think Ian used to play only on “Love Will Tear Us Apart” … no I’m wrong, there was another track too. Maybe “Heart and Soul”? I do remember Ian used to play just one chord, which was D. We showed him how to play D and we wrote a song. I wonder if that’s why we wrote “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, you could drone a D through it. I think he played it live because I was playing keyboards. On the record I played guitar, a twelve string Eko guitar, an Italian guitar that actually sounded pretty good.[10]

Stephen Morris disliked the re-recorded version:

The version that everyone knows, I actually hate … Martin Hannett played one of his mind games when we were recording it – it sounds like he was a tyrant, but he wasn’t, he was nice. We had this one battle where it was nearly midnight and I said, “Is it all right if I go home, Martin – it’s been a long day?” And he said [whispers], “OK … you go home”. So I went back to the flat. Just got to sleep and the phone rings. “Martin wants you to come back and do the snare drum”. At four in the morning! I said, “What’s wrong with the snare drum!?” So every time I hear “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, I grit my teeth and remember myself shouting down the phone, “YOU BASTARD!” [smashes up imaginary phone]. I can feel the anger in it even now. It’s a great song and it’s a great production, but I do get anguished every time I hear it.[11]

The video was shot by the band themselves on 25 April 1980[13] as they rehearsed the song at T.J. Davidson’s studio, where the band had previously rehearsed during the early days of their career. At the start of the video, the door that opens and shuts is carved with Ian Curtis’ name; reportedly this was the beginning of an abusive message (the rest later erased) carved into the door.

Due to poor production, the video’s colour is ‘browned out’ at some points. Also, as the track recorded during the recording of the video was poor, it was replaced with the single-edit recording of the song by the band’s record company in Australia, leading to problems with the synchronisation of music and video. This edited version of the music video would later become the official version due to the improvement of sound quality.

This was the only promotional video the band ever produced as Ian Curtis committed suicide less than three weeks after the video was recorded.[14]