The Durutti Column are an English post-punk band that got their start in 1978 under the Factory Records umbrella. Although they have gone through many lineup changes, they are still together today.
In 1980 they released an album called The Return of the Durutti Column and decided to do something special with the record jacket. The sleeve for this record is covered in sandpaper. Why, you ask? Well, it’s so when the record is stored on a shelf next to other records, the very action of taking the record off the shelf and putting it back on will gradually ruin all the other records next to it.
How punk is that?
Sandpaper Album Sleeve
Of course there was no manufacturing facility that had a sandpaper album sleeve option, so they had to hand-assemble them themselves. Actually, Ian Curtis of Joy Division put all the records together by himself while the rest of the band watched porn in the same room, as he needed the extra money at the time.
The album sleeve is a very rare collector’s items as there were only 2000 made, and there are 3 different variations of spray-paint on the sleeve.
Updated Album Sleeve
You can actually still buy the album from Amazon , but unfortunately the reissue only has a very lame interpretation of the sandpaper cover. Here it is:
The sleeve design was inspired by a 1959 book called Mémoires by Guy Debord, a Marxist theorist, writer and filmmaker. Definitely an interesting guy.
My copy of the above came in a brown paper bag, is this part of the original packaging? Otherwise my copy is pretty mint.
Sorry for my bad english.
I know the guy (in fact, my brother in law) who had the idea for this sandpaper record sleeve design. He told me the whole story few days ago.
He was an art student in Manchester at the time, working part time at the Danceteria. Tony Wilson knew him a little and asked if he’d like to work for Factory Records, as junior artistical director.
At the same time, they recorded the first Durutti Column album, and they wanted to release it very quickly.
Tony Wilson called him for the record sleeve’s design and he had to reply in a second, they were in a rush, and said after a short reflexion, “a sand paper record sleeve”. Tony Wilson said ok, its a very good idea, but not the staff, who was afraid with the material. And Tony Wilson replied that they had to deal with it, no discussion.
That’s how it happened.
according to Rolling Stone, PIL thought of this first, but go figure with whatever J. lydon says. although it does seem right up his alley.