Stalemate In Joy Division Master Tapes Row

"There is no happy ending..."
Joy Division master tapes

The ongoing row over ownership of Joy Division, New Order and Magazine master tapes appears to have reached a stale mate.

The sad collapse of Factory records left the label's legacy scattered. Amid bankruptcy settlements and legal wrangles, the master tapes for seminal recordings by Joy Division, New Order and The Durutti Column went missing, presumed lost to the ages.

Earlier this year, though, Martin Hannett's one time assistant Julia Adamson revealed that she had found the missing tapes - alongside further recordings from non-Factory artists such as Magazine and the Psychedelic Furs.

Now Peter Hook has revealed that ongoing attempts to buy back the tapes have reached a stalemate. Speaking to Billboard, the bass player explained that he had offered Adamson "a substantial reward" for the discovery, but received a phone call shortly afterwards informing him that it "wasn’t enough".

"It was like someone finding a Pharoah’s tomb" he continued. "This cache of Joy Division tapes had been unearthed by this wonderful knight in shining armor. Unfortunately, she’s now holding them ransom."

Although Hook is yet to hear the tapes, he believes that the treasure chest should contain an unreleased version of 'She's Lost Control' and two takes of 'New Dawn Fades'.

Explaining the approach he wanted to take, Peter Hook said: "She’s found it - great! Brilliant! You’re our mate forever!" he exclaimed. "Here’s a finder’s fee, a thank you, and we’ll give you a credit on the record. We’ll even give you a point on the record, because we wouldn’t have been able to do it without you."

However the case is now in the hands of Warner Music, who own the Joy Division / New Order catalogue.

Ending on a downbeat note, Peter Hook said: "There is no happy ending".

The case is ongoing.

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