Joy Division’s “Transmission” has been on since 1979


Almost 40 years ago, the debut single “Transmission” by legendary Joy Division was released by Factory Records. It happened on October 7th, 1979.

The song was re-released later in December 1980.

NME magazine has given it the 20th place on their list of 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever. No. 19 on that list is Joy Divisions’ “Love Will Tear Us Apart”.

Also, one chapter of the book The History Of Rock’n’Roll in Ten Songs by Greil Marcus is dedicated to this song. It’s hard to pick only ten songs to represent the history of Rock’n’Roll, but Marcus has had his own criteria, and “Transmission” is on the list because “’Transmission’ is not an argument. It’s a dramatization of the realization that the act of listening to the radio is a suicidal gesture. It will kill your mind. It will rob your soul.’”
As far as we’re concerned, every Joy Division song can kill your mind and rob your soul.

Another list on which “Transmission” has a prominent place is Pitchforks’ list od The 200 Best Songs of the 1970s. It holds the 10th place there.

The list of bands who have covered this song is pretty long: Low, Bauhaus, The Weather Station, Girl in a Coma, Smashing Pumpkins…

Many people don’t like those covers, they probably see them as a blasphemy – one does not simply cover Joy Division songs! But here’s one of them:

“Transmission” had a couple of TV performances, and those recordings are precious because, unfortunately, Joy Division didn’t last for too long, so the younger fans haven’t had an opportunity to see them live on TV.

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