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Joy Division - Warsaw (Remembering Ian Curtis 43 Years Later)

I can’t believe it’s been 43 years since the death of the great Ian Curtis who died in 1980 at the age of 23. Absolutely gutting. To remember him let’s take a look into the Warsaw album which was lost for some time.

Warsaw was planned to be the debut album of Joy Division, a post-punk band. This happened at a time when they were under RCA Records, which was only briefly. Warsaw was recorded as early as 1978, in the month of May. Altogether, there are eleven tracks in the album. Together, they are now under the title 'RCA Sessions'.

Unfortunately, Joy Division was not happy with the kind of post-production work that their label provided. This lead to the album being scrapped, and their deal falling through. Joy Division started out by calling themselves 'Warsaw'. The band would go through name changes, before they settled on calling themselves 'Joy Division'.

What Happened To The Warsaw Album?

During the course of the RCA sessions, Joy Division recorded four songs. This was towards the end of 1977. These older songs would later be released by the band in their debut EP, titled 'An Ideal For Living'.

For many years, the titles related to the RCA Sessions had been circulating as bootleg versions. These could usually be found under the title 'Warsaw'. However, in 1994, the titles were finally licensed. This was ahead of a commercial release that was planned. These titles were released alongside the well known 'As You Said', which came from the Komakino single, which was released in 1980. This was also the first time the band recorded their music professionally. Five demo tracks from the Warsaw album were used as bonus tracks on the Komakino flexi disc.

What Was The Warsaw Album?

Warsaw was originally planned as the first LP to be released by Joy Division. However, this would only be available in bootleg forms, till 1994. The sound of the album makes it evident that it belongs to the punk era. The sound is raw as well as edgy, melodious yet undisciplined. Joy Division would eventually debut with the album 'Unknown Pleasure'.

When their album came out, the tracks in it were very different from the tracks in Warsaw. However, the sheer amount of energy present in the Warsaw album, makes it popular among people, even today. From the bootleg versions of the recordings, you can find around twelve tracks, which were later officially released. These came alongside five tracks which were recorded only in July 1977. These songs were considered the most 'punk', among anything the group has ever released.

Everything That You Should Know About The Warsaw Album

Originally released as bootleg versions, these consisted on RCA recordings that were unreleased. The band would end up rejecting the album, as a result of interference from the producers. 'As You Said', in particular, was one of the last pieces of music recorded by Joy Division, while member Ian Curtis was alive. On the Warsaw album, fans can enjoy initial versions of songs that would later go in to become major hits.

There's also the Warsaw demo to consider, which is considered to be rare. This was at a time when the band was also called 'Warsaw'. The music from this album can be classified as raw punk.

Conclusion - Is Warsaw Worth Listening To?

Warsaw is a great listen, especially for Joy Division fans. People will clearly be able to look at how to band evolved. Many collectors already have the bootleg version in their possessions, especially as the Warsaw demo found itself rejected when it came to the Heart And Soul box set. However, it's definitely an album worth listening to.

Listen to Warsaw By Joy Division

Here you can listen to the full Warsaw album by Joy Divison

Rest In Power Ian Curtis


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