Joy Division: Transmissions | The Artwork for Unknown Pleasures

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Joy Division: Transmissions | The Artwork for Unknown Pleasures

ian curtis
Ian Curtis. Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns.

Joy Division nostalgia has been riding high this year as the band’s seminal album, Unknown Pleasures celebrates its 40th anniversary. The Joy Division: Transmissions interview series takes a deep dive into the unique history of the austere, spacious and hauntingly urgent 1979 debut album that originated from a sonic realm of its very own. 

In Episode 2 of the Joy Division: Transmissions series, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris talk about how the infamously iconic artwork for Unknown Pleasures came about and their controversial and their very punk reasoning for not making any t-shirts.

Joy Division: Transmissions | The Artwork for Unknown Pleasures

Joy Division were punks at heart. They weren’t interested in having their faces emblazoned on an album cover, they wanted to create a mood; which they achieved in spades with the now iconic CP1919 Pulsar image that Bernard Sumner stumbled upon in a scientific magazine while “skiving” off work one fateful day.

The band chose to forego making T-shirts of the cover art that has now been mercilessly ripped off for the past 40 years; but it was a conscious and philosophical decision to let the bootlegging continue: “There’s nothing more punk than that!” Peter Hook declares.

Releasing a thunderbolt like Unknown Pleasures meant Joy Division’s brief existence was always destined to be endlessly pored over and celebrated and, as time marches on, the adulation of the band only continues to grow exponentially. 

Check out the limited edition ‘Unknown Pleasures 40th Anniversary’ reissue and merch options HERE

Listen to Unknown Pleasures on Spotify:

Listen to Unknown Pleasures on Apple Music:

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