Today is the 41st anniversary of Warsaw playing their debut gig as Joy Division at Pip’s Disco in Manchester, England.
Earlier, in December, the group recorded their debut EP, An Ideal for Living, at Pennine Sound Studio, Oldham, Manchester; and played their final gig as Warsaw on New Year’s Eve at the Swinging Apple in Liverpool.
The band decided to change their identity in early 1978 to avoid confusion with the London punk band Warsaw Pakt. Joy Division name is taken from the sexual slavery wing of a Nazi concentration camp mentioned in the 1955 novel House of Dolls.
The video here, “Transmission”, is from The Peel Sessions in January 1979 at the BBC Studios, London.
The band’s bassist Peter Hook has a vivid memory about the song. “We were doing a soundcheck at the Mayflower, in May, and we played ‘Transmission’: people had been moving around, and they all stopped to listen. I realized that was our first great song.”
In May 2007, NME magazine placed “Transmission” at number 20 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever, one place below “Love Will Tear Us Apart”—the most popular Joy Division tune.
In 2016, Pitchfork placed “Transmission” at number 10 in its list of The 200 Best Songs of the 1970s.