So I haven't done a big discography post for quite a while so I thought this would be a good one.
Joy Division were undoubtedly one of THE most important bands of the 20th century I can't claim to be their longest standing fan but since their music came into my life I have been profoundly effected by it. I came to Joy Division in the late 90's after reading an interview with Neurosis preceding the release of their album "Times Of Grace" in it they listed the bands that were the most important to them in the forming of their band, their sound and the creation of their music and among those were Joy Division. Now I was not completely unaware of them I mean who hasn't heard "Love Will Tear Us Apart" ? But I had always put them down as being music for goths and in the same vein as The Mission or Sisters Of Mercy and left them there, but after the Neurosis piece I decided they bore some investigation and just so happened that I was working in an HMV store at the time and there were a TON of copies of their "Heart And Soul" 4CD boxset on sale dirt cheap (I think I ended up paying about £7 or £8 with my staff discount) so I thought in for a penny might as well get the whole works in one go! I got home put the first CD on and the opening track "Digital" started and my mind was blown that bass line those glacial guitars those rich deep and urgent vocals... I could spend a paragraph or more just describing the beauty of their music but if you're new to this band I will leave you to experience it for your self if you are not then YOU get it....From then on in I was a HUGE fan Subsequently I've done Joy Division covers in bands I have been in and they are most definitely one of my biggest musical influences and one of my favorite bands.
I have resisted doing a post on Joy Division because such a great and tragic story deserves better literary dexterity than I can muster plus their enduring popularity ensures that every inch of their recorded works has been explored to death however I wanted to this post for several reasons not only because they are a great band but also because I just really wanted to a Joy Division post of my own! However let's do a very quick potted history although I find it hard to believe that anyone coming to this blog would be unaware of this band and their story, however, stranger things have happened..
Joy Division began life in the Manchester area as Stiff Kittens briefly, before changing the name to Warsaw then assuming the Joy Division name in 1977, the line up was, from Stiff Kittens through to the end of Joy Division....
Ian Curtis - Vocals (And occasional guitar)
Stephen Morris - Drums & Percussion
Bernard Sumner - Guitar (and occasional keyboards)
Peter Hook - Bass
Warsaw recorded one demo in 1977 and it gets a little confusing here because Joy Division's vinyl debut "An Ideal For Living" EP was actually recorded 6 months before and wasn't released until 2 months after a full album was recorded for RCA records at Arrow studios Manchester allegedly still under the name Warsaw, however the aborted RCA album never saw release officially except for a selection of tracks on the "Heart And Soul" box set and these RCA/ Arrow sessions have been credited to both Joy Division and Warsaw so for the sake of argument let's say that this RCA recording was the transitional period from Warsaw to Joy Division and leave it there! So Warsaw became Joy Division and in June 1978 self released the aforementioned "An Ideal For Living" EP using money borrowed from Ian & his wife Deborah's joint account for the recording and pressing of the EP (The 7" suffered from atrocious sound quality due to a bad pressing it was subsequently reissued as a 12" with a different sleeve on the insistence of Rob Gretton when he took over as their manager). After a famous incident of Ian confronting celebrity and TV Presenter Tony Wilson at a Factory Club night they made their debut TV appearance on North West Television's "Granada Reports" Wilson then subsequently signed them to his fledgling Factory records label and their first appearance for Factory was 2 tracks on the double 7" label compilation "A Factory Sample" the tracks contributed were "Digital" and "Glass"
I had to stop myself there I had started to go into a very "dry" history of Joy Division's studio work there. Before i realized what I had started I was 4 paragraphs in! I decided to delete all that as whilst I could have continued with this it was not my intention with this post. There are many meticulously researched and documented Joy Division pages online if you are a bit of a trainspotter like me i recommend this one....
It is absolutely ruthless in it's pursuit of pure facts and information about Joy Division and is a JD fans dream.There's also a great print version along with some great writings a complete set of lyrics and studio sessions, TV appearances etc contained in the large booklet that comes with the "Heart & Soul" box set, this is where a good portion of the material posted here is sourced from and though not a 100% complete works for the non-obsessive fan this set is everything you need and you can pick it up for a very reasonable price and less than the cost of buying everything separately at most online retailers.
So backing up a bit..Joy Division spent the remainder of their career with Rob Gretton as manager and Tony Wilson's Factory records they released a slew of excellent non album singles and 2 stunning albums "Unknown Pleasures" & "Closer" for the label. However Ian Curtis was diagnosed with severe epilepsy in January 1979 and as well as full Grand Mal seizures was suffering severe side effects from his epilepsy medication, on the 18th of May 1980 2 months before the release of 2nd album "Closer" and on the eve of Joy Division's first American tour He chose to take his own life by hanging himself in the kitchen of the home he had shared with his estranged wife Deborah.The remaining 3 members of the band decided to carry on under the name New Order whose first single "Ceremony/In A Lonely Place" (1981) were songs originally written and performed as Joy Division, the rest is history.
I am not going to go into the tragedy of such a talented and young guy choosing suicide (Curtis was a mere 23 when he took his own life almost half my age!!) Nor am I going to go into any more history about the brief career of this band I shall let the links and the music within them do the talking. Aside from the website I mentioned if you want to know more about the band I recommend the book "Touching From A Distance" by his wife Deborah Curtis and the 2007 Documentary "Joy Division" which has great in depth interviews and anecdotes and a huge amount of extras from the remaining members and people who were around the band at the time.
So moving swiftly onward I shall now breakdown your links for you as that's what we are here for! Now first off I am not a collector of unofficial live recordings nor am i much into official live recordings but to my knowledge the ones I present here are the officially released ones, that aside I think this is, without sounding too conceited, an aficionado's Joy Division discography i have spent many hours poring over their discography and breaking it down so hopefully the way i have done this and what's presented that maybe the hardcore Joy Division fans won't burn me in the comments :-) I have added pictures of the various Joy Division releases below their artwork was in most cases done by Factorys in house artist Peter Saville and I feel the artwork especially in the case of their 2 albums is an essential part of the package.
So let's begin.....
This link contains the self titled bootleg (although it is not an official release it is available to buy on CD online at some retailers like amazon) This contains the 4 track Warsaw demo and as far as I can tell the full aborted RCA album session I mention above. The demo is fairly decent quality but this is when the band were still being heavily influenced by punk and had not yet formed the unique sound they are known for, The same can be said for the RCA session whilst not as raw and frenetic as the demo it still wears that punk influence squarely on it's shoulders though it was never released as a recording of band still finding their feet it easily stands up against any other punk/post punk album from the era and why it has never been officially released i don't know .All though many of these songs would later materialize as some of the Joy Division classics we know and love these versions are dramatically different. The sound quality of this recording is great and I am glad it has been released officially or not because although there was every chance this album may have been Joy Division's debut album had the RCA deal come to fruition I wonder if their career would have gone to the lofty heights it did or their legacy would be as powerful had it been their debut?
Ok so first of the JD links I am not going to break down and describe each one here's what's in there....
"A Factory Sample" (Their 2 tracks from the Comp)
"An Ideal For Living" EP
"Genetic Records Demo" (4 of the 5 tracks the version of "Digital" from this session has yet to see release)
"Komakino" Flexi 7" (3 Tracks recorded during the "Closer" sessions and given away as a free flexi)
"Licht Und Blindheit" 7" (Contains both tracks from thew 7" plus a bonus track from the session "Ice Age" so this is the full recording session)
"Love Will Tear Us Apart" (This folder contains the 5 tracks from both sessions from Strawberry and Penine Studios including both versions of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" "She's Lost Control" (12" Version) plus "These Days" and "Sound Of Music")
"Transmission Sessions" (This contains 2 tracks from the first session at Central Sound Studio Manchester plus the 2 tracks from the 7" that were recorded at a 2nd session at Strawberry Studios Stockport The Central Sound Versions of "Transmission" & "Novelty" have never seen release)
"Final Songs" (These are rehearsal versions and the only known recorded versions of "Ceremony" & "In A Lonely Place" (aside from a live version on the 2nd disc of "Still") performed by Joy Division these were the last songs written by Joy Division and the first recorded by New Order these were released on a 12" backed with the New Order versions for a Record Store Day)
This contains Both of their John Peel Sessions plus the 2 live tracks performed on the BBC program "Something Else" (these were all released together on the "Complete BBC Sessions" CD) plus four of the 5 tracks recorded for a Piccadilly Radio (Manchester) session in 1979 "Atrocity Exhibition" from this session has never been released)
Unknown Pleasures (Remastered & Expanded)
So i should not need to describe this album to anyone if you are not aware of this album then it is something you sorely need in your life while the band themselves say Martin Hannet's production gave the album an ambiance and a darkness that was not intended by the band but it's this very production that works hand in hand with their amazing music to give it it's well deserved iconic status and while both their albums are masterful in their own right this one is my personal pick and in my opinion the very definition of the band and their sound.
Some of you may know that in 2008 these albums were given the "Deluxe Edition" treatment remastered and bolstered with a second live disc however I was slightly disappointed as during the "Unknown Pleasures" session 15 tracks were recorded of which the band selected 10 for the album and of the remaining 5 out takes some saw release on the compilation "Still" and then all 5 were added to the "Unknown Pleasures" disc of the "Heart & Soul" box I thought with it being a deluxe edition it would have made sense to add the 5 tracks from the session to the album disc?? but then who would buy "Still" or "Heart & Soul"?? Pretty fuckin crude marketing if you ask me so to remedy this here I present you with the remastered deluxe edition to which I have added the other 5 tracks to the album making it the complete session plus you get a really good decent quality (tho slightly rough and distorted) Live set from the Factory Manchester on the 13 June 1979.
Le Baines Douches
A live offering from Fractured Music Archives though I believe it has band and label approval but i could be wrong, Tracks are selected from 3 shows Paris, Amsterdam And Eindhoven 1979 & 1980 during a European tour this album is much maligned for fans firstly because apparently the sound quality is unsatisfactory and secondly for selecting from 3 shows rather than giving the full live set from the Paris gig (which takes up the majority of the disc 9 tracks from Paris 3 from Amsterdam and 4 from Eindhoven) Whilst the Paris show is the best quality of the 3 the other 2 Dutch shows sounding like well polished audience recordings I find this to be an acceptable live disc though i do think that releasing the full Paris show would have been the best option as the whole concert was recorded for French radio and has (as legend tells) been broadcast in it's entirety on a few occasions so I'm sure a master tape and some bootlegs exist! It's a decent listen and above average live performance and worth having.
Live Preston 28/2/80
Another live release from Fractured Music Archives and is intended as a companion disc to "Les Baines Douches" falling as it does only a few weeks after the Eindhoven tracks on that album and in my opinion this is a far superior set firstly because this time (as far as my research can tell) you get the full live set and it's a decent raw high energy set from these guys who i guess even though Ian would have been at the height of his illness this would have been Joy Division live at their peak with much live and studio work under their belt! It's a really enjoyable live set and everyone is in fine form (though the intro to "Disorder" is rather sloppy) all in all this as good a live set as you're gonna get.
Closer (Remastered & Expanded)
Joy Divisions second and final album it's a masterpiece and shows some REAL progression as though they wrote many new and amazing songs on this album there was no real gems left in their back catlog to draw from and after a couple of years touring and honing their craft well I can't tell you how stunning this album is it's something you have to experience for yourself the sheer heights of drama and beauty this album produces over it's 9 tracks is beyond my powers of description.
So technical details.. Here we have the second of 3 Remastered deluxe editions this time I have not added anything myself as i did for "Unknown Pleasures" as though they recorded 12 tracks at this session the three remaining tracks not on the album were released as the "Komakino" flexi and that is presented in it's entirely in the Singles Etc. link.Again expanded with a bonus live disc containing a show from University Of London Union 8/2/80 which falls after the Paris and Dutch shows and precedes the Preston one and again it's as good a live recording as any of these though maybe a little better than the Paris show but not as full on as the Preston disc it is definitely a worthwhile addition with a great set list.
Still (Remastered & Expanded)
The 3rd and so far last expanded edition to be released here we have the compilation "Still" the first of many JD compilations....The studio portion of this album is a little redundant after the other stuff I have included here however I decide that if you like me are used to listening to an album for many years in it's original running order then to slice off 1/3 (of this set anyway) would be sacrilege! This remastered and expanded edition not only includes the Live set that was one half of the original album and what turned out to be Joy Divisions final show (High Hall, Birmingham University 2/5/80 a mere 5 weeks before Ian Curtis suicide) it is expanded with a further live set from The Town Hall, High Wycombe 20/2/80 both these sets are great quality and again worthy additions to the JD fans collection! While the first part of "Still" containing what at the time was unreleased studio material however there is one curiosity on there a live cover of Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray" recorded Live At The Moonlight Club, London 3/4/80 and is definitely worth hearing.
I have broken Still into 3 parts from it's 2 discs Part 1 is the studio stuff plus the live "Sister Ray" part 2 is the Birmingham show Part 3 the High Wycombe show hope that it makes sense to you I have done it this way and when you transfer the files to your choice of media player the album will still run in it's intended original order.
Martin Hannett's Personal Mixes
Well this unofficial (?) release contains some interesting curiosities I have added it here for the curious and the the completist's this is a selection of tracks, samples, alternative versions and mixes of various Joy Division tracks (mainly "The Eternal" and "Decades") apparently these are personal mixes done by Martin Hannett for his own pleasure along with snippets of his recording of the Lift famously sampled on "Unknown Pleasures" snippets of studio dialogue from Hannett and a short interview with Steven Morris and Ian Curtis closing out the disc. It's an interesting set of mixes if they were really done by Hannett it is pretty interesting to hear what he has done with these mixes though obviously the band did not agree, whilst there is a fair amount of guff on here the actual alternative mixes of songs rather than the bit's and pieces in between are definitely great listening I have not been living with their music as long as I'm sure many of you have and even i can see the big difference in these alternate versions and mixes.An enjoyable if not essential addendum to the back catalog.
So that's it that's my entire joy Division collection laid out for you here in what i feel is the best way! I'm sure there will be many who will take issue with how I've done it and yeah a lot of this is just me organizing the mess that is the "Heart And Soul" box set but a lot of it is not! There are a few omissions here obviously the missing tracks from various sessions i have already mentioned and I'm sure there are some obsessives out there sitting on them but in most cases these are just repeats of tracks that have been recorded several times so personally I'm happy with what I have here and i hope in my small way that I have managed to do this band justice, without them the face of alternative music and many other forms of music would be completely different, their influence is felt today and for a band with a mere 3 year career 2 albums and a handful of singles to still be exerting interest and influence some 36 years since they ended is testament to the strength and beauty of the music they created. I'm sure my comments and inbox will light up with many more long term and astute Joy Division obsessives correcting my no doubt many factual errors feel free to go ahead and pick this post apart I full expect it when I'm doing a post on a band held in such high reverence but i like to think that in my heavy handed and clumsy way that my sheer love of this music will be obvious and I have done my best to not cover old ground better covered elsewhere.
I hope some of you find enjoyment from reading this and downloading the music and I hope somewhere along the line this post may reach someone somewhere who have not heard this band and they can have the same profound experience i did upon discovering this band and the surprise that despite popular opinion they weren't actually a goth band after all!
Demo & RCA UNR. LP - Mediafire
Singles Etc. - Mediafire
Radio Sessions - Mediafire
Unknown Pleasures (Remastered & Expanded) - Mediafire
Les Bains Douches (Live Paris & Eindhoven) - Mediafire
Live Preston - Mediafire
Closer (Remastered & Expanded) - Mediafire
Still (Remastered & Expanded) - Mediafire
Martin Hannett's Personal Mixes - Mediafire