Joy Division / Unknown Pleasures 40th anniversary red vinyl LP

1979 debut • ‘Ruby Red’ vinyl • Alternate cover art

Warner Music will issue a limited edition 40th anniversary version coloured vinyl edition of Joy Division‘s debut studio album Unknown Pleasures next month.

The album will be pressed on ‘ruby red’ 180g vinyl and will come packaged in alternative artwork – a white sleeve that resembles the original Peter Saville design concept.

This new coloured vinyl edition of Unknown Pleasures will be released on 14 June 2019.

Side A:

Day of the Lords
New Dawn Fades

Side B:

She’s Lost Control
I Remember Nothing

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Hi Paul,
I just got a reply from Warner Music UK customer service regarding this release:

“The limited edition refers to the time frame the item was available to order online.
Unfortunately we have not been provided with a specific number of this item that have been produced. ”

I hope this helps anyone out there wondering about the number of copies.

Alan Fenwick

Nice price drop on this one today (26th May) on Amazon UK – £15.58


Rhino should reissue the 12′ singles for Transmission, Love Will Tear Us Apart and Atmosphere. Not unlike what they’ve done with Ceremony, Everything’s Gone Green and Temptation.

Paul Taylor

Slightly disappointed it’s not a fresh remaster although the 2007 one I already have is good. Have it in my Saved For Later box as it will probably be a collection piece rather than being played regularly.
I agree with others, though, I’d have thought such an iconic album would have got a decent SDE treatment. There have been a few missed opportunities in the past couple of years to properly celebrate 40th anniversaries; Bat Out Of Hell being the most glaring in my opinion

Andrew Rana

Just checked if my original pressing was “Ruby” but as much as I held it to the light all I could see was blackness… a bit like the mood of the album!

I’ve not played my vinyl version for years and was really surprised how little crackle and pop is on it when I put it on today! Mind you I’ll probably buy this version as a treat….

Cyborg Rizal

Confirmed! Solid Ruby Red Color Vinyl. No need a strong light..

Paul Brettell

If you mean an original pressing, they all look black in normal lighting conditions. The amount of back light required varies (if you have a ‘translucent’ one).
If it appears properly red in normal lighting it would be classified as coloured vinyl and you’d have something extremely rare

Dr Volume

I’m surprised this is all they’re doing for the 40th Anniversary. I’d have thought they’d have wanted to turn JD fans upside down and vigorously shake every bit of loose change from our pockets for this one. I was expecting a hideously expensive boxed version like they did with ‘Movement’ maybe with a reproduction Factory Sample and Transmission and maybe a disc of the video footage. As for the sleeve design – I have the Factory boxed cassette (in the oversized Purple box) – inside is a lovely textured, postcard sized reproduction of the sleeve with the colours reversed – so I’m used to seeing that version, it’s cool.

Daniel from Adelaide

Cash cow. Barney has become the Gene $immon$ of the post-punk movement. Just wants the money. Sad that they don’t offer up anything new or noteworthy – at least U2 give out the occasional bonus track and live performance. And they can’t say the barrel has been scraped clean – the recent Peter Hook auction showed that there’s still stuff out there on tape and acetate.


Its the record company not the band reissuing these Daniel.

Wayne Olsen

Ordered. Thanks, Paul!


As mentioned by previous posters, the original UK release was translucent red when held against strong light because it was a Tranco Limited pressing. Same for Closer which was pressed by Tranco.

If you go to Discogs, you’ll find out that Tranco Limited was “a vinyl pressing plant and manufacturing division of Pye Records (located in Mitcham, Surrey, UK). Generally, pressings can appear translucent (red) when held against strong light source. This is due to a different vinyl formulation, unique to the UK. While it’s safe to assume that all Pye UK releases were pressed by Tranco, not all Pye masterings were necessarily pressed by Tranco. Pye Studios did a lot of contract mastering for other labels that were then pressed somewhere else, e.g. by CBS. The plant itself is not identifiable by characteristic matrix etchings or stamps.”

Lots of discussions about translucent red vinyl from Pye on Discogs forum the past 5 years. For what it’s worth the original UK release pressed by Tranco usually goes for £200 while standard black vinyl versions will rarely reach £80. Same for Closer which was also pressed by Tranco for the first release in the UK.

If you have 70s UK releases from DJM (Elton John’s label in the 70s), Dawn or other Pye subsidiaries, you may have translucent red LPs in your collection without knowing it…


Surely this was because it was pressed on thin vinyl. Pressings were so different back then – quantity over quality. I highly doubt it was meant to be red vinyl, just turned out that. Hence they mention holding it up to a “strong light”.


I have been unable to get a copy of this white cover version now for sensible money, but it made my day reading this as my original copy of Unknown Pleasures from 1979 with carefully cut out Dave McCullough ***** review from Sounds inside does indeed turn out to be translucent red with a strong torchlight ! My copy of Closer from 1980, however, is stubbornly black with said torch behind it.


I look forward to receiving the UP cash-in on its release.

Does anyone know how many copies Rhino/Warner’s is pressing?

A wee bit off-topic, but holding up Joe Jackson’s Body and Soul US vinyl edition up to the light reveals that the otherwise black vinyl is actually translucent black vinyl. https://www.discogs.com/Joe-Jackson-Body-And-Soul/release/9221947

fernand de Beauvoir

some notes on the “hold it to the light” with Joy Division…

• virgin vinyl has this property: try it with original MFSL pressings.
• while not sure if virgin vinyl was used by Factory and Rough Trade (USA), the first pressings do have this colour at the light.
• Rough Trade, at least on « Closer », also had a “purple” (can’t do the Pantone on that one!) version, along with the red… and a green.
• this is also true on Rough Trade pressings of « Movement »

hopefully, there is a box set in the works… raiding all those Hooky owned demos (now up for sale?) and rehearsal space stuff… and the “Digital” version left out from « Heart and Soul » because (if I recall correctly) Jon Savage said ‘who needs another version of “Digital” ‘.


The ‘holding a what you think is black vinyl album up to a light source and finding it is really ruby/red’ is not just limited to UP.

Do the same with any early Elton John albums or some of the Pye ‘Golden Hour of…’ LP’s

Minutes of fun!

David Bly

You are correct – whomever it was that pressed all Pye albums during a certain period (maybe they had their own plant – anybody know?) and also pressed the early DJM albums (not just Elton’s) did indeed use a vinyl that appears black but when held to the light looks a dark red, almost verging on purple.

These also did appear on other labels, nearly all from smaller companies. Factory certainly would’ve fallen into that category, although I don’t remember that “Unknown Pleasures” or any other Factory releases I have were like that. But being an indie label, they might’ve used more than one pressing plant.

There are other examples of vinyl all over the place that are like that, some in the US, including some US Columbia/Epic (and other CBS-distributed labels) 7″ singles at a certain point. Note that as CBS had at the time three separate plants* in the US with noticeable differences in the pressings (to collectors), and it was limited to only certain areas of the country – i.e. from a certain plant, or plants. The “see-through” discs by CBS were limited to 7″ singles.

*The main plants were…
Columbia Pitman (CP) Pitman, NJ – I actually tried to visit there, but they wouldn’t let me in!
Columbia Terre Haute (CTH) Terre Haute, IN
Columbia Santa Maria (CSM) Santa Maria, CA

CP serviced the east coast, CTH serviced the midwest, and CSM serviced the west coast, but copies of all three pressings could be found nationwide sometimes.


Does anyone know if the white sleeve will be textured? My black sleeve has this.

Chris from Melbourne Australia

There are some excellent live concert recordings that could join a box set of maybe 5 performances. Live at the London Lyceum 1980 easily found on YouTube and archive.org astonishingly cleaned up from original audience recordings and unofficial releases by fans. They have a fantastic more frenetic edge to them than the otherwise 38min 21secs of Unknown Pleasures & 43mins 59 secs of Closer – sheer aural majesty!


Why bother? Because fools like me exist!

thomas solimine

Gotta cash in.


Given the nature of the songs and subsequent events, I think black vinyl would be more appropriate.


Norman Records are doing it for £17.99 for those yet to order

The Sound Foundation

As the original artwork is reversed black to white, wouldn’t white vinyl be more appropriate than red?


Ruby red is the colour of the first vinyl pressing , I have a copy


Interesting, I never held my copy up to the light. And there you go… an unknown pleasure.

Peter H

I think the very first initial pressings weren’t actually anything else than black.
Was it anyways ever actually confirmed by anybody reliable source that the very first UK pressing was translucent at all? I believe there’s been some not so reliable sources claiming things on the internet in the last couple years.
I’ve read and hear that people have claimed that the translucent vinyl didn’t start before 1980, which would then surely indicate that the first pressing was black.
I got my first pressing from 1979 with the correct matrix, it’s black and sounds great.
Im happy with that one but for the collection I might even pick the new one.

Paul Brettell

Agree. Not sure if anyone really knows when the translucent pressings appeared or how many. I have a Durutti Column first pressing which is translucent but that was released a bit later than UP I think, 1980

Douglas Shirlaw

White vinyl is definitely a missed opportunity.


40th Anniversary is a “Ruby” Anniversary (50th is Diamond etc)… I assume that’s the driver here. (Same logic on the Peter Murphy Bauhaus shows being called Ruby)


It’s Ruby Red,m ties in with Ruby Wedding Anniversary = 40 years

Kevin M

One of my favourite albums, but this will be an Unpurchased Pleasure.
No use to me whatsoever, even if it was £2.99.

Peter liveesy

This was the original cover apparently and at the last minute it got flipped around


The inverse sleeve reminds me of those Beck all-star cover albums he did a few years ago. Seems that white vinyl would have been the color to use here.


My original vinyl UP is ruby red.

If you have one hold it up to the light and you’ll see what I mean.




No sign of a 40th anniversary box set?

Still have my original copy bought when I was 13 in 1979.

Emile MacDonald-Williams

Wow! This looks beautiful! Pre-ordered- thanks (as always) Paul!


Nice one and for a change not at super premium rip off prices

Rik Skyline

That white version of the sleeve doesn’t represent the sound of the album. It doesn’t work.


changing the color of this iconic design of this landmark album is like releasing a lithograph of the Mona Lisa with blonde hair…. Not saying I won’t buy it, but that’s first impressions….


Apparently the earliest pressings of this record appear red when held up to the light, so that isn’t a stretch too far, I suppose. But the cover, no, you don’t mess with the cover. And no remastering or anything… why bother?

Marco D

Could be that the first pressings are not made with vinyl but with styrene? Styrene disc appear dark red against a strong light. Here a link with some picture https://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_forum/viewtopic.php?f=95&t=62462

Marco D

Could be that first pressing of this album was not vinyl but styrene?
Styrene made disc look dark red against a strong light source.
Here a link with some photos https://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_forum/viewtopic.php?f=95&t=62462


Is this remastered donwe know ?


taken from the 2007 remasters


One of the best albums of all time. Not sure about the cover……


Does anyone know how many are in the limited edition?



Timothy M Davison

It’s Joy Division and it’s not an RSD release, so I’m guessing 10K to get all the new vinyl afficianados onboard.