Gang of Four have announced a limited edition box set, 77-81, that collects the pioneering post-punk band’s two albums and singles from the era along with an unreleased concert and dozens of unearthed outtakes.
The five-LP, one-cassette 77-81, due out December 11th via Matador, contains two Gang of Four newly remastered classics —1979’s Entertainment! and 1981’s Solid Gold — as well as another vinyl that gathers the band’s Yellow and Another Day/Another Dollar EPs.
The boxset also boasts the debut official release of the two-LP live album Live at American Indian Center 1980 and a C-90 cassette tape featuring 26 unreleased demos stretching from Gang of Four’s early rehearsals from 1977 to a January 1981 session at Abbey Road Studios.
77-81 is accompanied by a 100-page hardcover book packed with “never-before-seen photos, contributions from surviving original band members, rare posters, ephemera, flyers, essays, artwork, liner notes, and more. “It also marks the first official publication of their lyrics,” Matador says. The boxset is available to preorder now.
In February, founding Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill died at the age of 64 following a short respiratory illness; Gill’s widow has since speculated that his death was Covid-19-related. The band’s current members later released the Anti Hero EP — featuring recordings Gill made prior to his death — as well as released 14 archival live recordings on Spotify.
Gang of Four’s Entertainment! track “Ether” was also sampled on Run the Jewels’ RTJ4 cut “The Ground Below.” “As a kid, I stumbled upon a copy of Gang of Four’s Entertainment! accidentally and it went on to become one of the most influential records of my life as a producer, lyricist, and fan of music in general,” Run the Jewels’ El-P said. “Their sparse, unorthodox, riff heavy guitars and nasty, funky, in-the-pocket rhythm section drew me in, but it was their questioning of the world that kept me listening as I grew. I consider them a seminal band, whose influence and effect permeates the music world in a deeper way than many realize. Thank you, Gang of Four, for existing.”