Friday, 13 September 2013

Reviewed: Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart (Peel Session version)

Love Will Tear Us Apart remains arguably the most well known song Joy Division ever recorded. It's immediately distinctive too, with its soaring synth line. However, whilst I do love the single version I've always preferred this Peel version slightly more. It's from the second (and final) session the group did for John Peel's radio show, recorded at the BBC Studios in London on November 26th 1979. It was one of three songs they performed, the others being 24 Hours, Colony and Sound Of Music. Both this session (and the first) are available on a number of CDs, most notably The Best Of Joy Division and the Heart and Soul box-set. The John Peel session is also significant because it was the first recording of the song! It was re-recorded twice but many fans do seem to prefer this original Peel sessions version, myself included. I personally prefer it because there's a frantic tone to this recording that the more polished single version lacks. I absolutely love that chiming, climatic guitar that comes in about halfway through. This version sounds raw and definitely like a predecessor to the single version. What's striking about it though is that considering this is the first recorded version, the song actually sounds really complete. The single version and this original recording aren't drastically different really - it's obvious they're the same song. Strip away those more polished elements that the rerecorded versions brought in though and it's a significant change indeed. The Peel version definitely sounds less of a pop song. It's more typically Joy Division. I've always felt that the single version sounded a bit unconventional for Joy Division. This Peel version would have fitted in on Closer I think, unlike the single version. For me - it's the definitive version of a classic song.

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