An Ideal for Living

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An Ideal for Living
An ideal for living.jpg
EP by Joy Division
Released 3 June 1978
Recorded 14 December 1977
Studio Pennine Sound Studio, Oldham, England
Genre Punk rock
Length 12:47
  • Enigma
  • Anonymous
Producer Joy Division
Joy Division chronology
An Ideal for Living
Unknown Pleasures
Alternative cover
12" cover

An Ideal for Living is the debut EP by English post-punk band Joy Division. It was released in 1978 by the band's own label Enigma, shortly after changing their name from Warsaw.


All tracks were recorded at the Pennine Sound Studios, Oldham, on 14 December 1977.


The release reflects the band's early punk influences,[1] as opposed to the post-punk style the band would later develop.

Record cover[edit]

The cover has a black-and-white picture of a blonde Hitler Youth member beating a drum, which was drawn by guitarist Bernard Sumner (called "Bernard Albrecht" on the poster sleeve), and the words "Joy! Division" printed in a blackletter font. The cover design, coupled with the nature of the band's name, fuelled controversy over whether the band had Nazi sympathies. When the EP was re-released on 12 inch vinyl the original cover was replaced by artwork featuring scaffolding.[2]


A 7" version of An Ideal for Living was released in June on the band's own Enigma Records label (not to be confused with the American record label of the same name) which was sold out by September and subsequently followed by a 12" version on 10 October on the band's own Anonymous Records label. This was very much a home-brewed affair, with the band members and their friends stuffing the records into their sleeves.

All tracks were re-released on the 1988 singles compilation Substance.

A remastered version of the EP was reissued by Rhino Entertainment to coincide with Record Store Day 2014.[2]


The EP inspired the Manic Street Preachers' single "A Design For Life".[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]
Melody Maker favourable[3]

In his retrospective review, David Cleary of AllMusic wrote that "[the] sound quality and production values on this release are extremely primitive", while describing the release as "a mildly interesting, if not great EP." He also noted that with the re-release of tracks one and three on the rarities album Substance, the need for diehard Joy Division fans to obtain this platter has notably decreased.[1]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Joy Division.

  1. "Warsaw" – 2:26
  2. "No Love Lost" – 3:42
  3. "Leaders of Men" – 2:34
  4. "Failures" – 3:44

Release history[edit]

Vinyl Date Label
7" 3 June 1978 Enigma Records
12" 10 October 1978 Anonymous Records[4]


  1. ^ a b c Cleary, David. "An Ideal for Living [EP] – Joy Division | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Terry, Josh (20 March 2014). "Joy Division’s debut EP, An Ideal For Living, receives long overdue reissue". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  3. ^ Brazier, Chris (24 June 1978). "Joy Division: An Ideal for Living". Melody Maker: 23. 
  4. ^ Gimarc, George (2005). Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide to Underground Rock 1970–1982. Backbeat Books. pp. 141, 163. ISBN 0-87930-848-6. 

External links[edit]