In 1979, Joy Division appeared on BBC’s “Something Else”, and captivated that nation with a wild performance of “She’s Lost Control”. What “she” really lost, however, was the original Joy Division master tapes.
Earlier this week though, “she” found them. When we say “she”, we of course mean the executive of Invisiblegirl Records and Publishing, Julia Adamson, who saved the tapes from being dumped in a skip whilst Stockport’s Strawberry Studios was being cleared out, after its closure in the early 90s. The tapes reportedly contain recordings from Joy Division and New Order, including the original master tapes of Joy Division seminal debut album, “Unknown Pleasures”, as well as studio outtakes, which have been described by Adamson as sounding “splendid”.
How tapes that would be considered incredibly valuable to many people may have literally ended up in the rubbish remains a bit baffling. In an interview with BBC News, Adamson claimed that she only took the tapes to save them from being binned.
According to Adamson, she contacted former Joy Division and New Order member Peter Hook, who wasn’t interested, as were the record labels affiliated with the recordings. Writing on Facebook, she revealed that she didn’t “want to look after them any more”, and that she is hoping to pass them on to a collector.
How Adamson came into possession of these tapes is due to her connection with Joy Division’s producer, Martin Hannett. Hannett was an integral part of Joy Division’s recorded music, with his meticulousness and experimental nature in the studio arguably contributing as much to Joy Division’s distinct sound as Peter Hook’s bass lines or Ian Curtis’s troubled baritone. He also worked with several other legendary names in Manchunian music, leaving his distinct mark on every record he produced.
Although the focus of the story may be on the Joy Division and New Order tapes, other tapes were found amongst the rubble, including many names that will be recognisable to anyone familiar with Manchester’s post-punk scene, which Hannett was an integral part of. Some of the other tapes contain recordings from bands such as Magazine, The Psychedelic Furs and the Durutti Column. These will also be up for grabs when Adamson decides to part with the tapes.
The details on when, where and how she plans to pass on the tapes are not yet out there, so keep an eye on her Facebook page if you’re a serious collector with a taste for Manchunian post-punk. She also has not explicated stated how much money she is seeking to receive for them, if any. However, what is known is that if she decides to auction them off, she is likely to make a small fortune. One would hope that whatever the circumstances, the eventual owner of the tapes will be kind enough to make the recordings available to the public, or at least back them up, as years of sitting on the shelf has led to inevitable deterioration. Still, the prospect of unheard Joy Division tunes being out there remains an exciting one.
In 1979, Joy Division appeared on BBC’s “Something Else”, and captivated that nation with a wild performance of “She’s Lost Control”. What “she” really lost....