Unknown Pleasures

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Unknown Pleasures is English post-punk band Joy Division's debut album, released in 1979 through Factory Records. Martin Hannett produced the record at Strawberry Studios, Stockport, England. The album sold poorly upon release, but due to the subsequent success of Joy Division with the 1980 single "Love Will Tear Us Apart", Unknown Pleasures is now better known. Factory boss Tony Wilson had so much faith in the band that he contributed his £8,500 life savings toward the cost of producing the initial run of 10,000 copies of the album.[1][2]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Blender4/5 stars [3]
NME(10/10) [4]
Q5/5 stars[5]
Allmusic5/5 stars [6]
Spin(9/10) [7]
Pitchfork Media(10.0/10) [8]
Robert Christgau(A-) [9]
Uncut5/5 stars [10]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars [11]

The highest position Unknown Pleasures reached in the UK Albums Chart was number seventy-one in August 1980, soon after the release of their second album, Closer. It fared better, however, in the UK Indie Chart, placing at number 2 in the first indie chart to be published in January 1980, and going on to top the chart when redistributed in July 1980, spending 136 weeks in the chart in total.[12]

The album was critically acclaimed from the start. The New Musical Express staff put Unknown Pleasures at number 3 of their list of the best albums of 1979 [13]. In 2000 Q magazine placed Unknown Pleasures at number nineteen in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. Pitchfork Media placed the album ninth out of its 100 Greatest Albums of the 1970s while the 2007 re-release received the rare accolade of 10.0/10. In his 1995 book, "The Alternative Music Almanac", Alan Cross placed the album in the eighth spot on the list of '10 Classic Alternative Albums'. Ned Raggett of Allmusic guide describes it as "all visceral, all emotional, all theatrical, all perfect -- one of the best albums ever."[6]


The front cover image comes from an edition of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy, and was originally drawn with black lines on a white background.[14] It presents successive pulses from the first pulsar discovered, PSR B1919+21—often referred to in the context of this album by its older name, CP 1919.[14] The image was suggested by drummer Stephen Morris[14] and the cover design is credited to Joy Division, Peter Saville and Chris Mathan. The back cover of the album contains no track listings, leaving a blank table where one would expect the listings to be. The original release came in a textured sleeve.[2]

The original LP release contained no track information on the labels, nor the traditional "side one" and "side two" designations. The ostensible "side one" was labeled Outside and displayed a reproduction of the image on the album cover, while the other side was labeled Inside and displayed the same image with the colours reversed (black-on-white).[2] Track information and album credits appeared on the inner sleeve only.

Groove notations

European pressing: near the inner groove of the Outside is etched in script: "This is the way" and the Inside has "Step". Both lines are taken from the song "Atrocity Exhibition", which was released on the follow up album Closer, a year later. Additionally, "A Porky Prime Cut" can be found on first UK pressings.

US pressing: The Inside reads "I've been looking for a guide." This is the first line of the first track in Unknown Pleasures ("Disorder").[15]


The album was redistributed by Factory in its original vinyl form in July 1980, and re-issued in 1982.[1] It was issued on cassette in November 1984, and on compact disc for the first time in April 1986.[1] In the spring of 1989 LP Unknown Pleasures was released in Poland by Tonpress under license from Factory and sold over 20000 copies [13]. After the demise of Factory Records, the album was reissued on CD/cassette in July 1993 by Centredate-London, and issued by US label Qwest in 1989 on vinyl, CD, and cassette.[1] The CD was reissued in January 1990. The album, along with Closer and Still, was remastered and re-released in 2007. The remaster came packaged with a bonus live disc, recorded at The Factory in Manchester, England on 13 July 1979.[15]

Track listing

All songs written by Joy Division.

LP (Factory FACT 10)

Side one "Outside"
  1. "Disorder" – 3:32
  2. "Day of the Lords" – 4:49
  3. "Candidate" – 3:05
  4. "Insight" – 4:29
  5. "New Dawn Fades" – 4:47
Side two "Inside"
  1. "She's Lost Control" – 3:57
  2. "Shadowplay" – 3:55
  3. "Wilderness" – 2:38
  4. "Interzone" – 2:16
  5. "I Remember Nothing" – 5:53

CD 2007 bonus disc: Live at The Factory, Manchester, 13 July 1979

  1. "Dead Souls" (live) – 4:25
  2. "The Only Mistake" (live) – 4:12
  3. "Insight" (live) – 3:52
  4. "Candidate" (live) – 2:08
  5. "Wilderness" (live) – 2:32
  6. "She's Lost Control" (live) – 3:47
  7. "Shadowplay" (live) – 3:35
  8. "Disorder" (live) – 3:29
  9. "Interzone" (live) – 2:05
  10. "Atrocity Exhibition" (live) – 6:14
  11. "Novelty" (live) – 4:29
  12. "Transmission" (live) – 3:50


Producer: Martin Hannett


  1. ^ a b c d Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1 84195 335 0
  2. ^ a b c Gimarc, George (2005) Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide to Underground Rock 1970-1982, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-848-6, p. 214
  3. ^ Blender Review
  4. ^ NME Review
  5. ^ Dorian Lynskey Q, October 2007, Issue 255.
  6. ^ a b Allmusic Review
  7. ^ Weisbard & Marks, 1995. p.203
  8. ^ Pitchfork Media Review
  9. ^ Robert Christgau Review
  10. ^ Uncut Review
  11. ^ Rolling Stone Review
  12. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997) Indie Hits 1980-1989, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 0-95172-069-4
  13. ^ a b Andrzej Buda Historia rocka, popu i hip-hopu wedlu krytykow, Wydawnictwo Niezalezne: 28, 2006, ISBN 978-83-915272-8-3 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "A.Buda" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  14. ^ a b c Wozencroft, Jon. "Out of the Blue". TATE ETC, Issue 10, Summer 2007. Retrieved on 28 June 2008.
  15. ^ a b "Unknown Pleasures". Factory Records. Retrieved on 28 June 2008.


  • Curtis, Deborah. Touching from a Distance: Ian Curtis and Joy Division. London: Faber, 1995 (2nd ed. 2001, 3rd ed. 2005). ISBN 0-571-17445-0
  • Ott, Chris. Unknown Pleasures. (33⅓ series) New York: Continuum, 2004. ISBN 0-8264-1549-0
  • Weisbard, Eric (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0679755748. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)

External links