Friday, 18 March 2011

March 2011

Madonna looks shocked - she has just realised Warners have failed to include all her videos on her latest DVD release. This month, we look at how they did it - time and time again. There is also a look at the discography of Joy Division.

We also look at the 1996 Elvis "Complete Collection" 50-CD Box, and see why these Stones fans are rushing home to look at my 1989-2010 discography.

"You'll Never Make A Saint Of Me"

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Madonna On Video

When in 2009, Madonna released her career spanning “Celebration” set, it should have been the last word regarding Madonna on Film. Whilst the CD and Double CD editions were an incomplete sprawling mess, the abandonment of the chronological order resulting in an uneven listen, the DVD set was a lot better. In order, a lot more songs than the CD, and two discs meaning most of the videos were here. Note the essential word here - most. You would have thought that having two discs would have contained more than enough space to get all of her promo videos on there, and even if not, given that one disc had a shorter running time than the other, that means there was definitely enough space on at least one of the discs.

But no. For some reason, certain clips were missing - including those that had even appeared on previous Madonna video collections. As Madonna’s last release on Warner Brothers, this seemed like a wasted opportunity. But this wasn’t the first time a Madonna video had missed things out. Shocking really, when you consider Madonna was made for MTV. So, where did each of them go wrong?

Despite the fact that Madonna’s debut 45 “Everybody” had originally been released in the US amidst an air of mystery, Madonna did eventually get around to making a promo video for the song. It appeared some time after the original single release, but the clip does exist. But when it came for Warners to put out Madonna’s first video collection in 1984, “Everybody” was nowhere to be seen. I can only assume that, being made “post-event”, Warners have never thought of it as being a proper promo.

The first video release consisted of four songs, and didn’t seem to have a title, so often gets referred to as “The Madonna EP” (VHS, WMV3). It included the clips for Burning Up, Lucky Star, Borderline & Like A Virgin, and came in a slightly oversized case. It was issued on a variety of interesting formats worldwide, including a Betamax version, and a 9” Laserdisc edition in the US. “Holiday” was missing because no “official” video was made. Madonna had originally filmed a clip but after it was completed, she thought it was so bad, so demanded it be scrapped, and the clip has never been seen. Nobody is even quite sure what the video looked like, and why Madonna hated it so much.

Madonna performed the song on the US show “American Bandstand” in 1984, and Warners later issued this performance on a promo video to TV stations. But as it was a “live” performance, it was not seen as being a proper music video, which explains it’s absence from the EP. And, indeed, it's absence from every Madonna “best of” since. The EP was issued again late in 1985, with the VHS this time being issued in a more standard sized box. The rear sleeve was also different, as it featured a plug for the “Virgin Tour Live” VHS, which had only just been released.

In 1990, Madonna released her first Greatest Hits set, “The Immaculate Collection”. As well as being issued in the usual Audio formats, a VHS was also issued (VHS, 7599-38214-3). It came in a different cover, with a photo of Madonna on the front instead of the fancy ”M” logo on the LP. The track listing bore little similarity to the album, with some songs missing and others added as extras, and it also ran in chronological order, unlike the LP. “Everybody” and “Holiday” were missing as you‘d expect, but so was “Burning Up” from the EP. Indeed, so many songs are missing, it’s almost easier to list what it includes instead. But, in the interests of this article, the other tracks missing were: “Angel”, “Into The Groove”, “Dress You Up”, “Crazy For You”, “Gambler”, “Live To Tell”, “True Blue”, “Who’s That Girl”, “Causin’ A Commotion”, “The Look Of Love”, and “Dear Jessie”. Some of these clips were lifted from concerts, or were a mixture of old bits of Madonna footage, so that explains why the likes of “Commotion” and “The Look Of Love” were excluded. But it didn’t explain the absence of “Live To Tell” or “Who’s That Girl”, for which “proper” videos were made. I am sure somebody somewhere will state that by keeping the running time to under an hour, the video was able to retail at a lower price, but that’s simply a rumour I have made up on the spot. Any ideas anybody?

The videos of “Lucky Star” and “Like A Virgin” were different to those found on the EP. The former featured some scenes shot at a higher altitude, effectively looking downwards on Madonna and her dancers, unlike the EP version which was shot entirely at “ground level”. And during the bridge of “Like A Virgin”, the “dur dur dur” keyboard bit before the final verse was accompanied by a lion seemingly sticking it’s tongue out in time to the music - the original featured no such scene.

A rather over-priced box set edition was also issued at the time, entitled “The Royal Box” (VHS, 7599-26464-2). It retailed at £50 - a bit steep for what was included; the CD, the Video, a poster and a set of postcards. To try and convince the buyer they hadn’t been conned, the CD came in a swish silkscreened digipack sleeve, whilst the video came in a cardboard gatefold sleeve with a bonus track - a live (but mimed) version of “Vogue” from the then recent 1990 MTV awards. The postcards came held together with a posh looking sash, and the box itself was 12”x12”, so it looked impressive. When “The Immaculate Collection” was later issued on DVD, it used the tracklitsing from the “Royal Box” VHS, and not the 12 track original.

The audio version of “Immaculate” included - as was now becoming the norm - two new studio songs. The first of these, the raunchy “Justify My Love”, was issued as a single and a suitably smutty video was made. In the USA, MTV went beserk and banned it - the sight of Madonna in stockings and suspenders was deemed to be more corruptive than any video featuring violence or Motley Crue. Warners USA were slightly concerned that they had blown a load of cash on a video nobody was going to see, so they decided to issue a 2 track VHS Single, consisting of “Justify My Love” and the aforementioned MTV Awards version of “Vogue”. MTV Europe hadn’t quite freaked out as badly, preferring to restrict the broadcasting of the clip until ’after the watershed’, but the UK division of Warners decided to issue the single in the UK as well (VHS, 7599-38225-3).

As the millennium approached, the realisation hit home at the label that Madonna had released a chunk of singles between “Immaculate” and the end of 1999. So it was time for a new collection, and “The Video Collection 93 :99” (VHS, 7599 38506-3) was issued at the tail end of the year. 1993? What about all those singles from 91 and 92? Well, the “Rescue Me” clip that did the rounds was just a load of old videos stuck together, “Crazy For You” and “Holiday” were reissues, whilst “This Used To Be My Playground” was used in a movie, “A League Of Their Own”, and the rights to the video were held by the film company. “Deeper And Deeper”, I think, featured some vague drug references towards the end, which explained why MTV always used to fade it out 30 seconds early. It had originally been planned to include the saucy “Erotica” clip, but once it was realised it would no longer give the video a “PG” rating, this plan was abandoned. Therefore, the first clip “available” was “Bad Girl” - from 1993.

Not all clips that could have been included were included - yet again. No “I’ll Remember”, “I Want You”, “You’ll See”, nor any of the promos from the “Evita” film. The “Evita” clips were lifted simply from the film, so the idea behind their exclusion was that you could just buy the film on video, and fast forward to the relevant songs (VHS, EVSD 1234). “The Video Collection” was later issued on DVD, and reissued again when coupled with a reissue of “Immaculate” - this double disc boxset was titled “The Ultimate Collection” (Double DVD, 7599 38519-2).

In 2000, Madonna released the much loved “Music” album. The title track was released as the first single (if you don‘t count the much despised “American Pie“ cover, first issued as a stand alone 45), and the video featured comedy character Ali G. The clip featured just enough innuendo to cause a few concerns at the TV stations, and so a “censored” clip was prepared. Warners decided to issue a 2 track DVD single (DVD, 7599-38526-2), which featured both the censored and uncensored versions. It was quite pricey, 6 or 7 quid for less than ten minutes of music, but when the DVD Single became a chart eligible format in the UK later on, such releases would only allow a second video to be included if it was less than two minutes long, so the belated theory was that you was actually getting some bang for your buck with the "Music" DVD.

Another single from the album, 2001’s “What It Feels Like For A Girl”, was also the subject of a controversial video. Again, TV shows were uncomfortable at showing it - Madonna joyriding with an OAP, after collecting her from the “Old Kuntz” home, and then smashing her car, with it’s “Pussy” registration plate, into a lamppost. Warners decided to also issue this as a single, releasing it both as a 1 track DVD (DVD, 7599 38541-2) and, rather unusually given the format was on it’s last legs, a 1 track VHS (VHS, 7599 38539-3).

As so we come to “Celebration”(Double DVD, 7599-39984-4, also available in a CD sized case). 47 videos, but there could have been more. No “Everybody” or “Holiday”, nor “Gambler” or “Dress You Up”. “Angel” was missing, as was “Commotion” and “The Look Of Love”. “Oh Father”, despite being on “Immaculate” was absent, as was “Rescue Me” and “Playground”. The animated video for “Dear Jessie“ was excluded, not surprising given that this was never a single in the US, and there‘s a good chance Madonna had little involvement in it‘s creation. “Hanky Panky”, being a live clip, was thus also omitted. There was no “Bad Girl” or “Fever”, despite them having been on “93 : 99”, nor the 1996 clip for “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore”, also on “93 : 99”. Also absent on “Celebration” but not “93 : 99” were “Drowned World” and “Nothing Really Matters”, a strange decision given that “Drowned World” remains one of Madonna’s greatest ever singles and videos. “American Life” was missing due to the public furore over it’s politically sensitive, anti-war shtick. Meanwhile, the “EP” version of “Lucky Star” was used for this release, but it was the “Immaculate” version of “Like A Virgin” that was used again this time around.

The continued absence of “Playground”, because of the movie company owning the rights, is not a disaster, as DVD copies of “A League Of Their Own” add the clip as a bonus feature (DVD, C823 5931). The missing “Evita” promos can also be found on the “Evita” DVD, issued several years after the original VHS, by simply clicking through the scenes until you reach one of the singles, which is easier to do on this format than the original video. “American Life” aside, the DVD did do a fairly decent job with the post-1999 clips, as everything that could been included was included. Yes, there are still things that have gone AWOL, like the original “Catwalk” version of “American Life”, and the “X-Rated” “Erotica” clip, but you can’t have everything.

So, at least by buying a couple of films, “Celebration” and “The Ultimate Collection”, you could get to see most - but not all - of Madonna’s clips. Several of the “missing” clips listed above, even today, are deemed to be of questionable officialness - the “Rescue Me” clip seemed to have been made purely for (or even made by) TV stations, and lasts for a lot less than the actual single did! But it still feels like “Celebration” was a wasted opportunity, and unless Warners decide to issue a cash-in set now Madonna has left the label, it seems as though those missing clips will stay “missing”.

Below I have added links to what I think are all the “missing” videos. I will admit to being a bit unsure if the “Causin’ A Commotion” one is the one originally shown on TV - but it looks the same, so think of it as a bonus clip in case it’s the wrong one - whilst I have included two “Hanky Panky” clips, simply because I can’t remember if the one shown at the time featured her with her hair up or down, so I have thrown in one of each. The “American Bandstand” clip of Holiday seems hard to find, so I have added a performance from “Solid Gold” instead, as she wears the same outfit!

Further viewing:
American Bandstand:
Dress You Up:
Causin' A Commotion:
The Look Of Love:
Dear Jessie:
Hanky Panky 1:
Hanky Panky 2:
Rescue Me:
American Life:
American Life (Catwalk):

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Original Elvis Presley Collection

With The Beatles, it’s quite simple. Buy “Sgt Pepper”, “The White Album” et al, a few best of’s and that will give you most of what they recorded. But with Elvis, it’s a bit different. Most of his hits don’t seem to be on any studio LP’s, and of the studio albums he did make, quite a few of them aren’t very well known. Elvis’ back catalogue, for some reason, seems a bit of a mystery.

In 1996, the Dutch arm of RCA released “The Original Elvis Presley Collection”, a 50-CD box set which aimed to include every “major” Elvis LP from 1956 to 1977 - the year of his death. Of course, Elvis hadn’t released exactly 50 albums - indeed, he certainly hadn’t released anywhere near 50 studio albums - but the box set was still a sterling piece of work.

Several years later, a UK mail order firm reissued the set “in sections”. You paid a tenner a month (or thereabouts), and you got sent 2 CD’s. Slowly but surely, the set would build up until - Voila - you had your 50 CD set, plus box, plus booklet. Given that all of these CD’s had been made available before, and indeed after the release of the box (in slightly different form), and the fact that the versions of the albums included in the box are also regularly made for sale on an individual basis, it means the 50 CD’s provide a pretty good beginners guide to The King. In this blog, I shall detail what you get if you buy these CD’s - either in the box or as separate discs.

Studio Albums

Although the number may vary slightly from source to source (as do the album titles in different countries), Elvis made 23 Studio LP’s, plus a 24th “odd one out”. After releasing a series of 45’s and 78’s on Sun Records in the USA, he signed to RCA (but also put out a few records on HMV), who now are responsible for all “official” Elvis releases, including material from the Sun years. His self titled debut LP came in an iconic “on stage” shot, with his name in brightly coloured lettering, a style later “borrowed” by The Clash for their 1979 LP “London Calling”. The follow up album was simply titled “Elvis”, and The King would make a habit of using his first name as part of numerous album titles over the years. CD10 in the box, “Elvis Is Back!”, was so-titled as it was his first proper studio LP for three years, whilst “Elvis” was also the title of a 1973 album, CD43 in the box. This album is often referred to as “The Fool Album”, as this was the big hit single from the record, and as well as being track 1 on the disc, was also the first of four song titles listed on the front cover. During the 70’s, Elvis didn’t seem to venture into a photographic studio for any sort of publicity shots, and so even though most of his albums from that decade featured a shot of him on stage, many of the records were in fact studio LP's - indeed, discs 47 to 50 inclusive are all studio records.

“That’s The Way It Is” is the curio - it consists of mostly studio material, but includes four live recordings. It was reissued as a 3-CD set in 2000, with a sizeable chunk of bonus live material being added to make it feel more like a live album than a studio album. To be fair, it wasn’t the only Elvis studio LP to include live material (his final album before his death, “Moody Blue”, went down a similar route) but because “That’s The Way It Is” shared it’s name with a movie released at the same time, it’s not often thought of as a proper studio record.

Included in the list of 23 (or 24) albums, are several specialist albums. Elvis recorded two Christmas records, “Elvis’ Christmas Album” and “Elvis Sings The Wonderful World Of Christmas”. It seems as though he recorded more than two, as there have been numerous reissues and Christmas compilations over the years, but he didn’t. The recent “Christmas Peace”, for example, simply stuck half of one album with half of the other. Elvis also taped three spiritual albums - “His Hand In Mine”, “How Great Thou Art” and “He Touched Me”. Whatever your religious beliefs, there are some good songs on these records, and the cover art of the first pair of albums are so good, they are worth the price of admission alone.


Throughout his life, Elvis took to regularly recording songs that were issued on singles rather than on albums. Indeed, by 1958, Elvis had accumulated enough non-album material to put out his first Greatest Hits set, “Elvis’ Golden Records”. Three more in the series would be released before his death (and as such, all of them appear in the box), with the second one being arguably one of the most famous Elvis LP’s of all time - titled “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong”, it’s title and image of several gold-suited Elvises on the cover has been lampooned by several acts since, most successfully by The Fall and their rather modestly titled “50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong”.

A fifth “Gold Records” album was issued after Elvis’ death, and therefore is not included in the box. It compiled several non-album hits released after “Gold Records 4”, meaning that some of Elvis’ biggest later period hits, such as “Suspicious Minds” and “Always On My Mind” are thus absent from the boxset. RCA did issue budget albums on their Camden imprint when he was alive, and whilst the latter was included on a 1973 release on Camden called “Separate Ways”, the boxset does not include any of the Camden releases.

The box also includes several other best-of’s, which consist of tracks that didn’t sell enough to be certified Gold, and hence were not included on the “Gold” collections. These are the dreadfully titled “For LP Fans Only”, “A Date With Elvis” and “Elvis For Everyone”. The latter is another curio, only one of the songs had previously been released officially, and because the remainder of the tracks were exhumed from the vaults across a ten year period, it’s more of a “rarities” album than a compilation.


Whilst it was during the 60’s that Elvis entered the wilderness years, releasing an endless stream of movies that the critics hated, most of which spawned equally despised soundtrack albums, Elvis had actually started his movie career back in the 50’s, and had issued several soundtrack albums before his career headed into the middle of the road. CD3 in the box was from the movie “Loving You”, whilst “King Creole” also dated from the 50’s, being released in 1958.

Possibly due to the questionable nature of some of the material on the 60’s soundtrack albums, RCA decided to release many of these as “2 for 1” releases on CD, and it is these pairings that are included in the box set. Listed as “Elvis Double Features”, the decision to do this slightly destroys the chronological order of the box, but the bonus is you get a variety of extra tracks thrown in, as the decision was taken on these “Double Features” releases to include unreleased material, and “movie-related” songs - “Viva Las Vegas”, for example, was never on a soundtrack album at the time, but was issued as a stand alone 45 - despite there being a film of the same name. The “Double Features” CD that includes the “Viva Las Vegas” soundtrack material, thus, also includes the song of the same name.

To make things even more confusing, several movies were not even the recipient of a soundtrack LP, but some Elvis EP’s were released with movie material at the time. As a result, some of the “Double Features” CD’s are actually a combination of odds and sods, and are not actually reissues of earlier albums. Also factor in the decision to remix some of the material when these CD’s were first issued (circa 1992) and it all gets a bit confusing. I hope to go into greater detail about these albums in a future blog.

For now, lets look at what the boxset includes in terms of the films. CD11 features seven songs from “Flaming Star”, seven from “Wild In The Country” and six from “Follow That Dream”. “Flaming Star” and “Follow That Dream” were originally only ever four track EP‘s, whilst the tracks on “Wild In The Country” come from singles and other albums.

CD17 has six songs from “Kid Galahad”, all of which originally appeared on an EP at the time of the film’s release, and the “Girls Girls Girls” LP, with four bonus tracks added for this CD release. CD18 includes the soundtrack albums for “It Happened At The World’s Fair” and “Fun In Acapulco”, again, with bonus tracks added for this pressing.

CD20 cobbles together the ”Kissin’ Cousins” and “Clambake” LP’s. The final five songs on the CD originate from “Stay Away Joe”, but once more, the songs come from other Elvis releases, rather than being taken from an original soundtrack EP or LP. CD21 couples “Love In Las Vegas” and “Roustabout”. The former, when originally released, was nothing more than a 4 track EP but is expanded here, so that it includes “Viva Las Vegas”.

CD21 includes the “Harum Scarum” LP (retitled here as “Harem Holiday”, the first song) and the “Girl Happy” LP. CD24 pairs the “Frankie And Johnny” and “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” LP’s, CD25 “Spinout” and “Double Trouble”.

CD26 features the EP for “Easy Come Easy Go”, expanded here again to “album length”. The second half comprises the “Speedway” album, although like other CD’s in this series, tracks that were originally included on (but not recorded for) the original LP, are missing (“Western Union” and “Mine”, for example). Such tracks did not appear again on any Elvis albums released in his lifetime, and are thus missing from the box.

CD29 - the final “movie” CD - includes material from four films, none of which ever spawned a soundtrack LP originally. The films concerned are “Live A Little Love A Little”, “Charro”, “The Trouble With Girls” and “Change Of Habit”. This CD includes two versions of “A Little Less Coversation”, which would later - in remixed form - become one of Elvis’ biggest posthumous hits.


Although Elvis became a household name in the US with his early, live, TV appearances, it wasn’t until 1968 that RCA got around to releasing his first live album. And once this took place, a flood of live albums duly followed.

The first live album is often referred to by a variety of different titles - in the box set, the spine lists it as “NBC-TV Special 68 Comeback”. This was, as the title suggests, a soundtrack to a TV special, Elvis’ first live engagement after the “movie” years. Although it has been made available on VHS and DVD in later years, back in 1968, video players didn’t exist so the only way you could own the show officially was if it was made available in an audio format, so RCA released this LP. To this day, it remains an iconic show - Elvis in black leathers, pounding through material from the early days, it put Elvis back on the map both as a commercial force, and an important figure musically.

Elvis ended up releasing an alarming number of live albums in the final decade of his career - “Elvis In Person” and “On Stage” were the first pair to be issued, surfacing before the end of 1970, and three more appeared before 1975. CD’s 41 and 42 in the box are both live albums, “As Recorded At Madison Square Garden” and “Aloha From Hawaii”. The decision to release two live albums one after the other is certainly unusual, especially as several songs appear on both records, but the decision seems to have been made in order to make the Hawaii show available to fans, as it too had originally been a TV broadcast. CD46 is “Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis”, which bizarrely does not feature an “on stage” shot, despite the fact that most of the studio albums from this period did!

Although the latter period of Elvis’ career has often been viewed with a deal of scepticism (the white jumpsuit, the increasing waistline, the Vegas engagements, all viewed by Elvis detractors as the sign of a man losing the plot), there are some truly exceptional moments on these live records - the exhilarating blast of “C C Rider”, the sheer beauty of “Can’t Help Falling In Love”, these albums should be viewed as being essential pieces of the Elvis back catalogue.


I have listed below full details of the 50 CD’s in the box. I have listed the releases in the order in which they appear, and to try and simplify matters, have listed each entry as being either Studio, Live, Soundtrack or Compilation. The catalogue numbers relate to the versions available in the box, and it’s worth bearing in mind that some of these releases have appeared in expanded form in the ensuing years.

Elvis Presley (Studio CD, RCA SP5001)
Elvis (Studio CD, RCA SP5002)
Loving You (Soundtrack CD, RCA SP5003)
Elvis’ Christmas Album (Studio CD, RCA SP5004)
Elvis’ Golden Records (Compilation CD, RCA SP5005)
King Creole (Soundtrack CD, RCA SP5006)
For LP Fans Only (Compilation CD, RCA SP5007)
A Date With Elvis (Compilation CD, RCA SP5008)
50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong (Compilation CD, RCA SP5009)
Elvis Is Back! (Studio CD, RCA SP5010)
Flaming Star/Follow That Dream/Wild In The Country (Soundtrack CD, RCA SP5011)
GI Blues (Soundtrack CD, RCA SP5012)
His Hand In Mine (Studio CD, RCA SP5013)
Something For Everybody (Studio CD, RCA SP5014)
Blue Hawaii (Soundtrack CD, RCA SP5015)
Pot Luck (Studio CD, RCA SP5016)
Kid Galahad/Girls Girls Girls (Soundtrack CD, RCA SP5017)
It Happened At The World’s Fair/Fun In Acapulco (Soundtrack CD, RCA SP5018)
Elvis’ Golden Records 3 (Compilation CD, RCA SP5019)
Kissin’ Cousins/Clambake/Stay Away Joe (Soundtrack CD, RCA SP5020)
Love In Las Vegas/Roustabout (Soundtrack CD, RCA SP5021)
Harem Holiday/Girl Happy (Soundtrack CD, RCA SP5022)
Elvis For Everyone! (Compilation CD, RCA SP5023)
Frankie And Johnny/Paradise, Hawaiian Style (Soundtrack CD, RCA SP5024)
Spinout/Double Trouble (Soundtrack CD, RCA SP 5025)
Easy Come Easy Go/Speedway (Soundtrack CD, RCA SP5026)
How Great Thou Art (Studio CD, RCA SP5027)
Elvis’ Gold Records 4 (Compliation CD, RCA SP5028)
Live A Little Love A Little/The Trouble With Girls/Charro/Change Of Habit (Soundtrack CD, RCA SP5029)
NBC-TV Special 68 Comeback (Live CD, RCA SP5030)
From Elvis In Memphis (Studio CD, RCA SP5031)
Elvis In Person (Live CD, RCA SP5032)
Back In Memphis (Studio CD, RCA SP5033)
On Stage (Live CD, RCA SP5034)
That’s The Way It Is (Studio CD, RCA SP5035)
Elvis Country (Studio CD, RCA SP5036)
Love Letters (Studio CD, RCA SP5037)
The Wonderful World Of Christmas (Studio CD, RCA SP5038)
Now (Studio CD, RCA SP5039)
He Touched Me (Studio CD, RCA SP5040)
As Recorded At Madison Square Garden (Live CD, RCA SP5041)
Aloha From Hawaii (Live CD, RCA SP5042)
Fool (Studio CD, RCA SP5043)
Raised On Rock (Studio CD, RCA SP5044)
Good Times (Studio CD, RCA SP5045)
Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis (Live CD, RCA SP5046)
Promised Land (Studio CD, RCA SP5047)
Today (Studio CD, RCA SP5048)
From Elvis Presley Bouelvard, Memphis, Tennessee (Studio CD, RCA SP5049)
Moody Blue (Studio CD, RCA SP5050)

Further viewing:
Discogs Page, with scans of all 50 CD's:

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Rolling Stones 1989-2010

Detractors of the Stones will tell you how, in recent years, the group have become a bit of a parody. They will record a new album that sounds a bit like the last one, which gives them an excuse to tour again and make a load of money. This is rather lazy journalism though, and as anybody who has listened to a Stones LP post-“Exile On Main Street” would surely realise that the band are still capable of moments of genius.

The point that is true is the touring aspect. It is quite impressive to note that for every Stones studio album issued after the Mick & Keith “fight” of 1986, that a live album from the following tour has been issued. In this article, we will look at the Stones albums from this period (with any following live LP listed immediately thereafter), and all of the singles released. For each album, a selected UK pressing is listed (either the most easily available edition, or a notable rare pressing), whilst all of the band’s singles are noted across most formats. The only items not shown are singles which offer nothing that cannot already be obtained on those listed, so several items of interest to completists only are not shown. Coloured vinyl, picture discs and singles issued in unique sleeves are also shown for completeness where they are known to exist.

It’s worth pointing out that next month, the band will be issuing a Singles Box Set covering the period from 1971 to 2006. This will make quite a few of the formats, B-sides, sleeves, etc, available once more. The track listing I have seen suggests that whilst some of the “non-rare” tracks aren’t on there, most of the proper B-sides and remixes are. Any that seem to be missing are detailed below. Alternatively, some discs feature mixes and singles that were never issued in the UK, so a special feature on the box might be featured on this site in the future.

Steel Wheels (1989, CD, Rolling Stones Records CDV 2742, 1995 reissue)
Flashpoint (1991, CD, Rolling Stones Records CDV 2855, 1998 reissue)

And so, in 1989, with Mick and Keith friends again, the Stones regrouped for their best album since 1983’s “Undercover”. It would turn out to be the last studio album to feature bassist Bill Wyman, who would not be officially replaced, and bass would be provided by session men on future albums and tours. “Steel Wheels” had an energy and spark to it that harked back to the material the band had recorded in the 70’s, and was largely free of the slightly overproduced sound of “Dirty Work”, the flawed preceding record. Four singles were released from the LP, each of them the subject of quite ridiculous multiformatting, but despite “Rock And A Hard Place” being released on FOUR different CD’s and several vinyl editions, it still failed to dent the top 50 in the UK.

‘New’ B-sides appeared in the form of “Fancyman Blues”, “Cook Cook Blues” and “Wish I’d Never Met You” during this period, and the band set off on the gargantuan “Urban Jungle” tour that lasted through to 1990. A live video, “Stones At The Max” was issued thereafter, whilst a live album called “Flashpoint” appeared in 1991. Unlike previous Stones live albums, it concluded with a pair of new songs taped in the studio, “Highwire” and “Sexdrive”, both of which were also issued as singles. A limited edition version of the LP was issued in the States, where it came with a bonus “rarities” disc and a different cover, but these are now ultra rare so don’t expect to come across a copy cheaply.

Mixed Emotions (Chris Kimsey’s 12”)/Fancyman Blues/Mixed Emotions (7” Version) (12”, different colour p/s to all other editions, Rolling Stones 655193 6)
Mixed Emotions (7” Version)/(Chris Kimsey’s 12”)/Fancyman Blues (CD1, Rolling Stones Records 655193 2)
Mixed Emotions (7” Version)/Fancyman Blues/Tumbling Dice/Miss You (CD2 in circular tin, Rolling Stones Records 655193 5)
Mixed Emotions (7” Version)/Fancyman Blues/Shattered/Waiting On A Friend (CD3 in circular tin, Rolling Stones Records 655214 2)
Rock And A Hard Place (Dance Mix)/(Oh Oh Hard Dub Mix)/Cook Cook Blues (12”, Rolling Stones Records 655422 8)
Rock And A Hard Place (Michael Brauer Mix)/(Bonus Beats)/(7” Version) (2nd 12” in red logo p/s, Rolling Stones Records 655422 5)
Rock And A Hard Place (Dance Mix)/Cook Cook Blues/Rock And A Hard Place (Oh Oh Hard Dub Mix) (CD2, Rolling Stones Records 655422 3)
Rock And A Hard Place (7” Version)/Cook Cook Blues/Emotional Rescue/Some Girls (CD4, tongue shaped p/s, Rolling Stones Records 655448 5)
Almost Hear You Sigh/Wish I’d Never Met You/Mixed Emotions (7”, Rolling Stones Records 656065 7)
Almost Hear You Sigh/Miss You/Waiting On A Friend/Wish I’d Never Met You (CD2 in circular tin, Rolling Stones Records 656065 5)
Terrifying (7” Remix)/Rock And A Hard Place (7” Version) (7”, Rolling Stones Records 656122 7)
Terrifying (7” Remix)/Start Me Up/Shattered/If You Can’t Rock Me (CD2, different colour p/s, Rolling Stones Records 656122 5)
Terrifying (12” Remix)/Rock And A Hard Place (Dance Mix)/Harlem Shuffle (London Mix) (12”, Rolling Stones Records 656122 6)
Highwire (7” Version)/2000 Light Years From Home (Live)/Sympathy For The Devil (Live)/I Just Want To Make Love To You (Live) (CD1, Rolling Stones Records 656756 2)
Ruby Tuesday (Live)/Play With Fire (Live)/You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Live)/Rock And A Hard Place (Live) (12”, Rolling Stones Records 6568926)
Ruby Tuesday (Live)/Play With Fire (Live)/You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Live)/Undercover Of The Night (Live) (CD1, Rolling Stones Records 656892 2)
Ruby Tuesday (Live)/Harlem Shuffle (Live)/Winning Ugly VI (London Mix) (CD2, Rolling Stones Records 656892 5)
Sexdrive (Single Edit)/(Dirty Hands Mix)/(Club Version) (CD, Rolling Stones Records 657334 2)

Note: the “Terrifying” 7” seems to include nothing rare, but I recall being advised to buy my copy on the basis the A-side was a different mix to that on the CD edition, but I am not sure this is actually true. The “Sexdrive” remixes seem to be missing from the forthcoming boxset.

Jump Back: The Best Of The Rolling Stones 71-93 (1993, CD, Rolling Stones Records CDV 2726)

Don’t get too excited. Despite the title, the band had not gone back into the studio to tape some new songs, and this greatest hits set actually only covers the years 71-89. The record did not run in chronological order, but seemed to be designed to “flow” as if it were a regular LP. Edited mixes of certain tracks made the record - “Mixed Emotions”, “Fool To Cry”, “Rock And A Hard Place”, “Beast Of Burden”, “Hot Stuff” and “Miss You”, several of which were making their debut in the UK.

Despite the fact that the Stones have since issued a career spanning best-of covering the Decca and Rolling Stones Records years, “Jump Back” is still deemed to be an important part of the band’s history, as it has been reissued on several occasions since. Copies repressed in 2009 came in “tongue logo” stickered sleeves, but I believe all of these versions (and some earlier reissues) include the album version of “Miss You” instead of the edited mix that appeared on the original 1993 edition. No singles were issued from the album.

Voodoo Lounge (1994, CD, Rolling Stones Records CDV 2750)
Stripped (1995, CD, Rolling Stones Records CDV 2801)

With the release of “Voodoo Lounge”, the Stones were now as cool as they had ever been. The video for the first single from the LP, “Love Is Strong”, became an MTV regular, and critics fell over themselves to praise the album. The band appeared at the MTV Awards later that year to collect a special lifetime achievement award, and were treated like homecoming heroes by the crowd.

“Voodoo Lounge” was issued on Vinyl, CD and Cassette, but most of these formats were irrelevant as the CD issue featured an extra track not available anywhere else. It was an even better effort than “Steel Wheels”, and offered one of the all time classic Stones 45’s in the form of “Out Of Tears”. “You Got Me Rocking” and “I Go Wild”, the former sounding like it had stepped straight off “Some Girls”, were also released as singles, and more B-sides in the form of “The Storm”, “So Young”, “Jump On Top Of Me” and “I’m Gonna Drive” surfaced across the first three singles from the LP.

The subsequent tour saw the band delve deep into the back catalogue, opening most of the shows with one of their earliest singles, “Not Fade Away”, and also took to what has become a regular gimmick - a London “club” show, in an attempt to get away from the stadium shows and back to their roots. For this tour, the club show was at Brixton Academy on 19th July 1995, with details of how to get tickets being advertised on Virgin Radio on the morning of the 17th July - they were being exclusively sold at the now defunct Virgin Megastore on Tottenham Court Road. As well as a ticket, you got a wristband that you had to wear for two days before the gig itself! The show saw the band opt to play a noticeably different set - opening with “Honky Tonk Women” instead of “NFA”, playing “Live With Me” which had been absent from the band’s last Wembley Stadium show three days before, and dropping “Sympathy For The Devil” in favour of “Midnight Rambler”. The sound during the opening number, by the way, was absolutely atrocious but improved soon after.

The band covered Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” at the Brixton show, which was then issued as a single later that year, as the Brixton show had been taped by the band. It was used to plug “Stripped”, a slightly odd live album which consisted half of tracks from the tour, and half of newly taped “in the studio” re-recordings, seemingly in thrall to the MTV Unplugged concept. A “proper” live video of the tour, “Voodoo Lounge - Concert Video”, was also released at the same time.

Love Is Strong/The Storm/So Young/Love Is Strong (Bob Clearmountain Remix) (CD1, Rolling Stones Records VSCDT 1503)
Love Is Strong (Teddy Riley Radio Remix)/(Teddy Riley Extended Remix)/(Teddy Riley Extended Rock Remix)/(Teddy Riley Dub Remix)/(Joe The Butcher Club Mix)/(Teddy Riley Instrumental) (CD2, “yellow” p/s, Rolling Stones Records VSCDX 1503)
You Got Me Rocking (Perfecto Mix)/(Sexy Disco Dub Mix)/(Trance Mix) (12”, Rolling Stones Records VST 1518)
You Got Me Rocking/Jump On Top Of Me/You Got Me Rocking (Perfecto Mix)/(Sexy Disco Dub Mix) (CD, Rolling Stones Records VSCDG 1518)
Out Of Tears (Don Was Edit)/I’m Gonna Drive/Sparks Will Fly (Radio Clean)/Out Of Tears (Bob Clearmountain Remix Edit) (CD1, Rolling Stones Records VSCDX 1524, housed in “tear” shaped sleeve - other formats feature same/less number of songs in normal packaging)
I Go Wild (LP Version)/(Scott Litt Remix)/(Live at Miami Joe Robbie Stadium, 25th November 1994)/(Luis Resto Straight Vocal Mix) (CD1, Rolling Stones Records VSCDX 1539, comes with four free postcards, other editions exist without them)
Like A Rolling Stone/Black Limousine (Live)/All Down The Line (Live)/Like A Rolling Stone (Edit) (CD, Rolling Stones Records VSCDT 1562)

Bridges To Babylon (1997, CD, Rolling Stones Records CDVX 2840, in “Cage” slipcase)
No Security (1999, CD, Rolling Stones Records CDV 2880)

In 1997, just two years after “Voodoo Lounge”, the Stones returned with “Bridges To Babylon”. Not quite as critically lauded as it’s predecessor, it nevertheless featured some good songs, and spawned another mammoth tour. The first single from the LP, “Anybody Seen My Baby?”, starred Angelina Jolie in the video. The limited edition version of the album in the UK included a slipcase that made the cover look like the lion on the front was “caged in” - when the slipcase was removed, the lion was thus “uncaged”.

The accompanying tour again spawned a live video, “Bridges To Babylon Tour 97-98”, but UK shows scheduled for 1998 were cancelled as the band claimed that performing the shows would have resulted in a £12million tax deficit. 1999 saw the release of a live album from the tour, “No Security”, which like “Stripped”, featured a new track recorded in live form - “Little Baby” was the final song on “Stripped”, “No Security” offered up “Corinna”. The band toured America to promote the LP, mainly performing in smaller venues, before playing UK stadium shows in 1999.

Each of the three singles issued in the UK were released as 7” Picture Discs, with each single also being issued on two other formats - usually both CD’s. Most of the three formats for all three singles offered up something collectable, but there would be no singles from “No Security”, other than promo releases.

Anybody Seen My Baby? (LP Edit)/(Soul Solution Remix Edit) (7” Picture Disc, Rolling Stones Records VS 1653, numbered)
Anybody Seen My Baby? (LP Edit)/(Soul Solution Remix Edit) (Cassette, Rolling Stones Records VSC 1653)
Anybody Seen My Baby? (LP Edit)/(Armand’s Rolling Steelo Mix)/(Soul Solution Remix)/(Album Version) (CD, Rolling Stones Records VSCDT 1653)
Saint Of Me (Radio Edit)/Anyway You Look At It (7” Picture Disc, Rolling Stones Records VSY 1667, numbered)
Saint Of Me (Radio Edit)/Gimme Shelter (Live)/Anybody Seen My Baby? (Phil Jones Remix)/Saint Of Me (Deep Dish Grunge Garage Dub) (CD1, Rolling Stones Records VSCDT 1667)
Saint Of Me (Radio Edit)/Anyway You Look At It/Saint Of Me (Deep Dish Grunge Garage Remix - Parts 1&2) (CD2, Rolling Stones Records VSCDX 1667, different p/s)
Out Of Control (Radio Edit)/(In Hand With Fluke [Radio Edit]) (7” Picture Disc, Rolling Stones Records VSY 1700, numbered)
Out Of Control (Radio Edit)/(In Hand With Fluke)/(In Hand With Fluke Instrumental) (CD1, Rolling Stones Records VSCDT 1700)
Out Of Control (Saber Final Mix)/(Bi-Polar At The Controls)/(Bi-Polar’s Fat Controller Mix) (CD2, Rolling Stones Records VSCDX 1700, clear case with “Tongue” logo on CD frontage)

Note: all of the 7” picture discs comes in clear sleeves, not picture sleeves.

40 Licks (2002, 2xCD, Rolling Stones Records CDV 2880)
Live Licks (2004, 2xCD, Rolling Stones Records CDVDX 3000, “Topless” p/s)

2002, and much excitement regarding this - the first Stones best of to include material from both the Decca and Rolling Stones Records labels. As the title suggests, it was a double CD set with 40 songs, but only 36 of them were hits, as the album included four new songs. Of these, “Don’t Stop” was issued as a single at the end of the year. A remixed version of “Sympathy For The Devil” was issued during 2003, which was obviously much worse than the original. A video was filmed for the song, and one format came housed in a lenticular sleeve which meant that when you moved it, the tongue logo moved as well. When Abcko released the Decca era singles across three CD Singles Box Sets a few years later, the remixed “Sympathy” made the final box set.

The band saw this album as a perfect excuse to head out on tour again, and promptly did so. A live DVD, “Four Flicks” was issued in 2003, and a live double CD, “Live Licks” was issued in 2004. It came in two sleeves - with the computer generated female model on the cover wearing either a two piece bikini, or appearing topless, depending on which version you bought. Again, new material appeared again - this time in the form of live versions of “The Nearness Of You” and “Rock Me Baby”.

Rather strangely for a greatest hits, numerous different editions of “40 Licks” exist. There is an impressive 12”x12” box set version which includes not an LP but the normal CD edition, with a ‘hologram’ style front cover. These originally came shrinkwrapped, and as I have never opened mine, I can’t actually tell you what is inside. The album was then reissued in 2003 in a new hardback (rather than plastic) sleeve, with the colour of the tongue logo that made up the front cover changed to green, whilst later pressings - now with a blue tongue - replaced “She’s A Rainbow” with the full length Neptunes remix of “Sympathy”.

Interestingly, this would not be the final Stones best of during the “noughties”. The band’s 1975 collection, “Rolled Gold”, was reissued in tarted up form a few years later, although this obviously was restricted to the Decca era material once again.

Don’t Stop (Edit)/(New Rock Mix) (Red Vinyl 7”, Rolling Stones Records VS 1838, numbered)
Don’t Stop (Edit)/(New Rock Mix)/Miss You (12” Version) (CD, Rolling Stones Records VSCDT 1838, different p/s)
Sympathy For The Devil (The Neptunes Full Length Remix)/(Full Phatt Full Length Remix)/(Fatboy Slim Full Length Remix) (12”, Abkco 0602498106150)
Sympathy For The Devil (The Neptunes Radio Edit)/(Fatboy Slim Full Length Remix)/(LP Version)/(Remix - Video) (Enhanced CD, Abkco 0602498106129, in “moving image” p/s)

“Sympathy” is missing from the forthcoming box, on the basis it was on Abkco’s “Singles 1968-71” boxset a few years ago.

A Bigger Bang (2005, CD+DVD, Rolling Stones Records CDVX 3012, reissue with extra tracks in double p/s)
Shine A Light (2008, 2xCD, Rolling Stones Records 1764747)

2005, and the Stones released what is - at the moment - their last studio LP. “A Bigger Bang” was greeted with excitable reviews, with plenty of “best one since ‘Exile’” statements being thrown around. A double A side single, “Streets Of Love”/”Rough Justice”, trailed the album’s release. The album was later reissued in a new “tongue logo” sleeve, with a bonus DVD, which included two new songs and much video footage.

A live DVD, “The Biggest Bang”, followed in 2007, but it was not until 2008 that a live album from the tour would surface. “Shine A Light” was actually a soundtrack album - Martin Scorsese had filmed the band at a pair of theatre gigs in New York at the tail end of 2006, and “Shine A Light” was the resultant film. It was, for the most part, just like watching a normal concert DVD, but the first ten minutes were spent with Marty and the band talking about what songs the band were or weren’t going to do, before the gig proper. “Bigger Bang” material was noticeably absent.

As before, “Shine A Light” included a new song - “Champagne And Reefer” - and as well as the soundtrack album, a DVD was also issued. The track listing was identical, but the four performances from the CD that had been taped at the first show were added as bonus features on the DVD instead. However, in a moment of sheer lunacy, the DVD/Film version of “Connection” was intercut with interview footage - quite why the decision was made to do this midway through what is quite a rare song for the band to play, is beyond me. Couldn’t they have done it through “Brown Sugar” instead?

Streets Of Love/Rough Justice (AA Red Vinyl 7”, Rolling Stones Records VS 1905)
Streets Of Love/Rough Justice (AA CD, Rolling Stones Records VSCDT 1905)
Rain Fall Down (LP Version)/(Will I Am Remix)/(Ashley Beedle’s Heavy Disco Vocal Re-Edit) (7”, Rolling Stones Records VS 1907)
Rain Fall Down (LP Version)/(Will I Am Remix)/(Ashley Beedle’s Heavy Disco Vocal Re-Edit) (CD, Rolling Stones Records VSCDX 1907)
Rain Fall Down (Will I Am Remix)/(Ashley Beedle’s Heavy Disco Vocal Re-Edit) (12”, Rolling Stones Records VST 1907)
Biggest Mistake/Dance (Part 1) (Live)/Before They Make Me Run (Live) (CD, Rolling Stones Records VSCDX 1916)
Biggest Mistake/Hand Of Fate (Live) (7”, Rolling Stones Records VS 1916)

Rarities 1971-2003 (2005, CD, Rolling Stones Records CDVX 3015)

Issued in 2005 just after “A Bigger Bang”, this record was an attempt to make available rare B-sides and remixes that were not available on any current Stones record. It was criticised by some in that it offered no genuinely new material, but the band stated that they had no desire to release or re-release poorer songs, which explained why some B-sides were missing, and outtakes were a no-no.

The album actually included some new rarities - the live version of “Tumbling Dice” was previously unissued in the UK, whilst the remixes of “Miss You” and “Harlem Shuffle” were edited down from their original 12” versions. There were no singles from the album, not surprising due to it’s nature - and the fact that “A Bigger Bang” was spawning the band’s then current 45’s.

The band’s only single since the release of “A Bigger Bang” was the result of an earlier album. In 2010, “Exile On Main Street” was reissued, with eight previously unreleased songs - the band obviously thought this lot passed muster - plus alternate versions of “Loving Cup” and “Soul Survivor”. Japanese pressings also included a different version of “All Down The Line”, only available in the UK as a download. It’s release coincided with the annual “Record Store Day”, and one of the new songs was issued as a limited 7”.

Plundered My Soul/All Down The Line (7”, Rolling Stones Records 273547 7)

And that - at the moment - is that. The Stones are reissuing “Brown Sugar” (again) for this year’s Record Store Day shindig, and there are rumours of a new studio album - plus rumours the band have split up for good. Let’s hope Mick N Keef haven’t had another bust up, because we still need The Stones.

Further reading:
Rolling Stones Official site:

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Joy Division

The release, at the tail end of last year, of “Plus Minus”, brought Joy Division back into focus once more. Released on the 30th Anniversary of the death of lead singer Ian Curtis, this box set of singles was seen as a bit of a curio - quite how a band who had not released ten singles managed to put together a box set of ten singles was seen as quite a feat.

The brief lifespan of the band hides the fact that a reasonable amount of material has been released by the band, both before and after Curtis’ death. In this blog, I shall detail the band’s releases, the more obscure of which have been made widely available thanks to some impressive compilation releases.

The Albums 1979 - 1995

Joy Division released only two studio albums - 1979’s “Unknown Pleasures” and 1980’s “Closer”, the latter released after Curtis had committed suicide, but issued as originally planned (ie. It was not a posthumous cash-in release). Neither album featured the band name on the cover, although the sleeve of “Closer” did at least include the album title on the front. The former LP came in a famous sleeve, which - and I quote - “presents successive pulses from the first pulsar discovered, CP 1919”, whilst “Closer” garnered controversy as it featured a photo of the Appiani family tomb in Italy - some claimed that, post Curtis, the sleeve was deliberately chosen for shock value, but the artwork had in fact been decided upon whilst Curtis was still alive.

In 1981, Factory Records issued “Still” - literally an album of two halves. A double album, the first slab of vinyl consisted of studio outtakes plus a live cover of “Sister Ray”, whilst the second disc was a recording of a gig at Birmingham University in 1980 - the band’s last ever show. The album had a running time of just over 80 minutes, meaning that when it came to reissuing the record on CD, one of the live tracks from the second disc (“Twenty Four Hours”) had to be omitted in order to transfer the album onto a single compact disc. Even when “Still” has been reissued on two discs, this track has always failed to make the cut.

In 2007, all three albums were reissued as double-CD Deluxe editions, with a second CD consisting of live and sound check performances. Having appeared in slightly different coloured covers over the years with each subsequent reissue, both “Closer” and “Still” appeared in their original colours (white and grey, respectively).

In 1988, the band released “Substance”. The album shared it’s title with a New Order collection issued the year before (New Order had risen from the ashes of the group), and both offered up a collection based around the band’s singles. “Substance” included a selection of A-sides and EP tracks, plus some material that had been issued on Various Artists releases and a few B-sides, but only 10 songs were included. The Cassette and CD editions included seven extra tracks from the same releases, the idea of having bonus tracks on these formats was very popular at the time because of the extra playing time available on these formats. Not every potential track that could have appeared on “Substance” actually made the cut, even though there would have been space to include the missing songs.

Following the release of an album compiling their two John Peel Sessions in 1990, 1995 saw the release of a best-of collection called “Permanent”. A mix of singles, B-sides and album tracks, it’s selling point was the inclusion of a new mix of “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, called “The Permanent Mix”.

The Singles 1978 - 1995

By refusing to include any album material on any 45 releases, this meant that Joy Division were not that prolific in the singles department, especially not when compared to neighbours like Buzzcocks. The group only released three singles whilst they were an ongoing concern.

Although they actually made their debut on vinyl by contributing a track to the “Live At The Electric Circus” 10” mini album, the first Joy Division release is often regarded as being their debut EP, “An Ideal For Living”. Released on the band’s own Enigma label, 1000 copies of this 7” were issued in the now famous “Hitler Youth” sleeve. It included four tracks, the lead song “Warsaw” had been the band’s original name (an album of early Joy Division recordings, when they were still “Warsaw”, was issued in 1994). Both the band’s name and, of course, the cover of the EP had Nazi implications, and although some claimed the group were closet fascists, the choice of band name was chosen for exactly the opposite reasons. The EP was reissued on 12” later the same year, this time on the Anonymous label, with 1200 copies pressed. It came in a new cover, a photo of some scaffolding, apparently in an attempt to distance the band from the Nazi sympathisers claim. The single was re-issued because the band were unhappy with the sound quality of the original 7”, although the fact that the original pressing had apparently sold out soon after it’s release may also have been another factor.

The band issued two singles for Factory, released inbetween “Unknown Pleasures” and “Closer” - “Transmission”/”Novelty” in 1979, and “Love Will Tear Us Apart”/”These Days” the following year. Both were issued on 7” only. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” featured an uncredited second track on the B-side, an earlier recording of the song, referred to as the “Pennine Version”, named after the studio in Oldham in which this version was taped. The length of material on the B-side meant that it had to play at 33rpm, but jukebox promos were issued without the third track so that each side could play at 45rpm. After Curtis had passed away, both singles were reissued during 1980 on 12” in new sleeves.

In the fall of 1980, Factory issued a AA side single in the form of “Atmosphere”/”She’s Lost Control”. The former had originally appeared on an ultra limited edition French 7” called “Licht Und Blindheit”, whlist the latter was an alternate mix of a track that had first appeared on the band’s debut LP. The single had been issued in the US, but with the tracks technically “reversed”, and the UK release was sanctioned to stem the flow of import copies. It seems strange to think that had this not happened, then “Atmosphere” - regarded by many as the band’s finest moment - might have become a long lost rarity.

Following the release of a pair of Peel Session EP’s in 1986 and 1987, “Atmosphere” was reissued in 1988 to tie in with the “Substance” collection. Various different formats were issued with different track listings, although the only one of any real worth in terms of rare extra material at the time was the CD, which included a previously unreleased live version of “Transmission”. This particular cut has now found a home by being included on the expanded reissue of “Unknown Pleasures”. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was also reissued in 1995, to coincide with “Permanent”, and although there was once again much multiformatting in place, it was the 12” this time that was of most interest to collectors, featuring an Arthur Baker remix that has not appeared anywhere else since to this day. Both the 88 and 95 singles featured new sleeves in comparison to their original vinyl counterparts.

The Box Sets

And so to “Plus Minus”. How did a band who had released less than 10 singles in the UK end up releasing a 10 disc 7” box set? Well, the first two discs included the material from the first EP - the two tracks that had appeared on the A-side of “An Ideal For Living” were now the lead tracks on discs 1 and 2, with the original B-sides appearing on the flip of the same discs respectively. The reason for doing this was so that disc 1 could come in the original “Hitler Youth” sleeve, and disc 2 in the “Scaffolding” sleeve. “Transmission” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” were reissued in their original 7” bags, although because each disc in the box set was designed to play at 45 rpm, the “Pennine” mix of the latter was excluded from this disc.

Back in 1980, the band had given away a three track flexi disc, led by the track “Komakino”, and a reissue of this also made the box set. This makes five 7” singles so far. Disc 6 was a reissue of the “Licht Und Blindheit” 7”, and disc 7 was a reissue of the “She’s Lost Control” 12”. However, in order to avoid including “Atmosphere” twice, the box set used the “Pennine” mix of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” on the B-side instead.

The next two discs were “A Factory Sample” and “Earcom 2”. The band had offered up previously unissued material in 1978 and 1979 for these two EP’s, which were Various Artists compilations released by Factory and Fast Product respectively. The former, when first released, was a double 7” pack featuring three other bands, with 9 tracks in total - the latter, a 12” with three bands (including JD) doing two songs each. The versions in the box set use the same original sleeves, but - unsurprisingly - offer up the two Joy Division tracks from each release only. So, they are Joy Division singles that were never really Joy Division singles in the first place.

But it gets worse. Stephen Morris, the band’s drummer, oversaw the box set, and admitted that a box set with nine singles in seemed a bit “odd”. So disc 10 is the fantasy 45 - what might have the band released had Curtis not taken his own life? Well, you get a 7” with a pair of tracks from “Closer” (“Heart And Soul” and “Isolation”) inside a 7” sized version of the “Closer” sleeve. Utterly pointless. It would have been better if the live track from the “Short Circuit” mini-LP had been included with - say - the missing track from “Still”, but as I was never in Joy Division, and Morris was, that’s probably why my choice didn't happen. The box set has come in for a lot of stick - everything except the “Pennine” mix of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was already available on 1997’s “Heart And Soul” 4-CD box set - with the decision to photograph the original sleeves, rather than to reprint from the original artwork, the subject of much grumbling (this had been done for the "Factory Retrospective" book a few years ago as well). Then there was the small issue of “deluxe” versions of the box (all of the tracks on a bonus CD, plus extra inserts) being ordered via the web, only for people to receive an un-deluxe version with the extra bits missing!

As a limited edition, getting hold of the box is no longer that easy. But is it worth it? Well, if you ignore the three “cheat” discs, you can get a lot of this stuff for not much in secondhand record shops. “Transmission” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” can usually be picked up on 7” or 12” quite easily, whilst bagging the “She’s Lost Control”/”Atmosphere” will give you two singles for the price of one. “Komakino” tends to sell for about £15 - so the only stumbling block is getting an original “An Ideal For Living” EP. You probably won’t get one, and if you do, it will cost more than buying the box. But if you are not averse to “counterfeit” releases, then there have been a flood of semi-dubious US only “Limited Edition Reissues” of this single in the last few years, on both 7” and 12” (many on coloured wax, or as picture discs) for both pressings. Respected collectors sites like have offered these for sale, but they seem to have been released without the band’s knowledge.

“Heart And Soul”, meanwhile, is not without it’s critics. The first two discs were effectively “expanded” editions of the two studio albums, but with bonus tracks included before or after the relevant LP dependent on when they were first released. Disc 3 consisted of rarities from the aforementioned singles, plus other previously unheard recordings, whilst disc 4 offered up live material - a huge chunk of which later appeared on the 2007 edition of “Unknown Pleasures”. Despite the fact that the box set claimed it included everything the band had recorded, it didn’t. Not only was “Still” more or less ignored, but a lot of the Peel Session material was sidelined in order to make way for previously unreleased material from other radio broadcasts.

1999 - 2008

Over the last decade (ish), there has been a slow stream of new releases - although not always with new recordings. 1999 saw the release of the “official bootleg” LP, “Preston 28 February 1980”, issued in the UK by NMC Music. A second “bootleg”, “Les Bains Douches 18 December 1979”, was released by the same label in 2001. NMC later issued these releases in a pair of box sets, "Fractured Box" and "Refractured Box", the latter including a show from Amsterdam as a bonus third CD.

2000 saw the release of “The Complete BBC Recordings”, a CD cobbling together the two Peel Session EP’s and the two songs the band played on the TV Show “Something Else”. A greatest hits set, “The Best Of”, released in 2008, included the entire BBC album as a bonus disc in the UK.

In 2006, a Belgian only album, "Leigh Festival", was issued. It featured JD's set from a show on 27th August 1979, and also included material from other bands on the bill that day - OMD, Teardrop Explodes, and fellow Factory signings A Certain Ratio.

2007 saw the release of “Martin Hannett’s Personal Mixes”, on Interstate, a mish mash of outtakes and alternate versions, and later the same year, the same label issued “Let The Music Begin”, a mish mash of studio and live recordings, and interview excerpts. Coloured vinyl edtions of all of these (and the NMC releases) also exist. 2007 also saw another reissue of “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, but this time around, it appeared in the same picture sleeve as the 1980 original - although the 7” mirrored the original exactly in terms of artwork and music, the CD edition featured a different track listing, although there were no rare recordings this time around. 2008 saw another Martin Hannett "rarities" album, "In The Studio".

The band's profile has also been kept up thanks to the superb movie "Control", and a later "rockumentary" about the band, which was also shown in selected cinemas. The "Plus Minus" box is probably not going to be the last word on the band, and with a back catalogue of such astonishing quality, not to mention a slew of famous tribute bands (Editors, White Lies, Interpol), it's unlikely Joy Division will fade into the background at any point soon.


I have listed below all of the important Joy Division releases. In order to keep it simple, I have listed an “important“ release for each of the albums, and selected formats of each of the singles - any singles released that offer nothing of interest (such as the 1995 “Love Will Tear Us Apart” Cassette, which excludes the Arthur Baker remix) are not listed in the interests of clarity. It is also worth noting that “LWTUA” was reissued in 1983, presumably to try and deflect sales away from Paul Young’s atrocious mauling of the song which was also released as a single the same year, but was a straight ahead repressing of the 1980 original.


Unknown Pleasures (2xCD, 2007 reissue, originally released May 1979, Factory FACD 10)
Closer (2xCD, 2007 reissue, originally released July 1980, Factory FACD 25)
Still (2xCD, 2007 reissue, originally released October 1981, Factory FACD 40)
Substance (CD, released July 1988, Factory FACD 250. Vinyl copies were pressed on Red Vinyl)
Peel Sessions (CD, released 1990, Strange Fruit SFRCD 111)
Permanent (CD, released August 1995, London 8286242)
Heart And Soul (4xCD, released December 1997, London 8289682)
Preston 28 February 1980 (CD, released 1999, NMC Music FACD 2.60)
The Complete BBC Recordings (CD, released 2000, Strange Fruit SFRSCD 094)
Les Bains Douches (CD, released 2001, NMC Music FACD 2.61)
Martin Hannett's Personal Mixes (Red Vinyl LP, released June 2007, Ozit Morpheus OZITLP 8797RED)
Let The Music Begin (Red Vinyl LP, released July 2007, Ozit Morpheus OZITLP 8795RED)
In The Studio With Martin Hannett (Red Vinyl LP, released 2008, Ozit Morpheus OZITLP 8798RED)
The Best Of Joy Division (2xCD, released March 2008, Warner Brothers 5144273022)
Plus Minus (10x7", some with bonus CD, released December 2010, Rhino 5186595937)

Whilst the catalogue numbers shown for the first three albums relate to the "double disc" reissues, it is worth noting that the original CD pressings from the 1980's use the same numbers.


An Ideal For Living EP: Warsaw/No Love Lost/Leaders Of Men/Failures (7", June 1978, Enigma PSS139, fold out sleeve)
An Ideal For Living EP: Warsaw/No Love Lost/Leaders Of Men/Failures (Reissue 12" in "scaffolding" p/s, October 1978, Anonymous ANON 1)
Transmission/Novelty (7", October 1979, Factory FAC 13)
Komakino/Incubation/As You Said (7" flexidisc, April 1980, Factory FAC 28)
Love Will Tear Us Apart/These Days/Love Will Tear Us Apart (Pennine Version) (45/33rpm 7", April 1980, Factory FAC 23)
Love Will Tear Us Apart/These Days/Love Will Tear Us Apart (Pennine Version) (Reissue 12" in "outstretched" p/s, June 1980, Factory FAC 23.12)
Atmosphere/She's Lost Control (12" Mix) (12", September 1980, Factory FACUS 2/UK)
Transmission/Novelty (Reissue 12" in "blurred" p/s, December 1980, Factory FAC 13.12)
The Peel Sessions EP: Exercise One/Insight/She's Lost Control/Transmission (12", November 1986, Strange Fruit SFPS 013)
The Peel Sessions EP: Love Will Tear Us Apart/24 Hours/Colony/Sound Of Music (12", September 1987, Strange Fruit SFPS 033)
Atmosphere/The Only Mistake (7", June 1988, Factory FAC 213/7)
Atmosphere/The Only Mistake/Sound Of Music (12", June 1988, Factory FAC 213)
Atmosphere/The Only Mistake/Sound Of Music (Cassette, June 1988, Factory FACC 213)
Atmosphere/Transmission (Live)/Love Will Tear Us Apart (CD, June 1988, Factory FACD 213)
Transmission +3 (CD, 1991, Various Artists Split EP released as "Palatine: The Single", Factory FACD 304)
Transmission +3 (12", 1991, Various Artists Split EP released as "Palatine: The Single", Factory FAC 304)
Love Will Tear Us Apart (Permanent Mix)/(Original 7" Version)/(Arthur Baker Remix)/Atmosphere (12", 1995, London YOJX 1)
Love Will Tear Us Apart/These Days/Love Will Tear Us Apart (Pennine Version) (7" in "original release" p/s, 2007, Factory FAC 23)
Love Will Tear Us Apart (Original 7" Version)/(Permanent Mix)/Atmopshere (CD in "original release" p/s, 2007, Factory FAC 23 CD)

The two "Peel Sessions" EP's were also issued in identical sleeves on CD in 1988, and Cassette in 1989.

Further reading:
Joy Division Central:
Joy Division Discography: