Categories

New Order

New Order were an English musical group formed in 1980 by Bernard Sumner (vocals, guitars, synthesizers), Peter Hook (bass, backing vocals, electronic drums) and Stephen Morris (drums, synthesizers). New Order were formed in the wake of the demise of their previous group Joy Division, following the suicide of vocalist Ian Curtis. They were soon joined by additional keyboardist Gillian Gilbert.

New Order combined post-punk and electronic dance, and became one of the most critically acclaimed and highly influential bands of the 1980s. Though New Order’s early years were shadowed by the legacy of Joy Division, their immersion in the New York City club scene of the early 1980s increased their knowledge of dance music. The band’s 1983 hit “Blue Monday” saw them fully embrace dance music and synthesized instruments, and is the best-selling 12-inch single of all time. New Order were the flagship band for Factory Records, and their minimalist album sleeves and non-image reflected the label’s aesthetic of doing whatever the relevant parties wanted to do, including an aversion to including singles as album tracks. The band has often been acclaimed by fans, critics and other musicians as a highly influential force in the alternative rock and dance music scenes.

New Order were on hiatus between 1993 and 1998, during which time the members participated in various side-projects. The band reconvened in 1998, and in 2001 released Get Ready, their first album in eight years. In 2005, Phil Cunningham (guitars, synthesizers) replaced Gilbert, who had left the group due to family commitments.

In 2007, Peter Hook left the band and stated that he and Sumner had no further plans to work together. Sumner revealed in 2009 that he no longer wishes to make music as New Order. Sumner, Morris and Cunningham now work together under a new band name, Bad Lieutenant.

History

Origins

Between 1976 and 1980, Ian Curtis, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, and Bernard Sumner were members of the post-punk band Joy Division, often featuring heavy production input from producer Martin Hannett. Curtis committed suicide on 18 May 1980, the day before they were scheduled to depart for their first American tour, and prior to release of the band’s second album, Closer. The rest of the band decided soon after Curtis’s death that they would carry on. Hook told Mojo in 1994, “The first meeting we all had, which was the Sunday night [Curtis committed suicide], we agreed that. We didn’t sit there crying. We didn’t cry at his funeral. It came out as anger at the start. We were absolutely devastated: not only had we lost someone we considered our friend, we’d lost the group. Our life basically.”The members of Joy Division had agreed before Curtis’s death not to continue under the Joy Division name should any one member leave the band. On 29 July 1980, the still unnamed trio debuted live at Manchester’s Beach Club. Rob Gretton, the band’s manager for over twenty years, is credited for having found the name “New Order” in an article in The Guardian entitled “The People’s New Order of Kampuchea”. The band adopted this name, despite its previous use for ex-Stooge Ron Asheton’s band The New Order. As the term “New Order” was featured in Hitler’s Mein Kampf as “the new order of the Third Reich” and the name Joy Division originated from the prostitution wing of a Nazi concentration camp mentioned in the 1955 novel The House of Dolls, critics attempted to cite fascist undertones. The band publicly rejected any claims that the name had anything to do with fascist or Nazi sympathies, with Sumner later saying, “We really, really thought it didn’t have any connotations, and we thought that it was a neutral name, it didn’t mean much….”

The band rehearsed with each member taking turns on vocals. Sumner ultimately took the role, as the guitar was an easier instrument to play while singing. Wanting to complete the line-up with someone they knew well and whose musical skill and style was compatible with their own, New Order invited Morris’s girlfriend, Gillian Gilbert from Macclesfield, to join the band during the early part of October 1980, as keyboardist and guitarist. She had already played with Joy Division a number of times, filling in for both Curtis and Sumner playing guitar. Gilbert’s membership was suggested by Gretton. Gilbert’s first live performance with New Order occurred at The Squat in Manchester on 25 October 1980.

The initial “commercial” release as New Order was the single “Ceremony”, backed with “In a Lonely Place”. These two songs were written in the weeks before Curtis took his own life. “Ceremony” is now widely considered to be one of the finest post-punk songs of all time.With the release of Movement in November 1981, New Order initially started on a similar route as their previous incarnation, performing dark, melodic songs, albeit with an increased use of synthesizers – a musical direction already palpable in Joy Division’s later work and fully explained by the band’s admiration of Kraftwerk. The band viewed the period as a low point, as they were still reeling from Curtis’s death. Hook commented that the only positive thing to come out of the Movement sessions was that producer Martin Hannett had shown the band how to use a mixing board, which allowed them to produce records by themselves from then on.

A change in musical direction was brought about when New Order visited New York City in 1981. The band immersed themselves in the New York dance scene and were introduced to Post-Disco, Latin freestyle, and electro. Additionally, the band had taken to listening to Italian disco to cheer themselves up, while Morris taught himself drum programming. The singles that followed, “Everything’s Gone Green” and “Temptation”, indicated the change in direction toward dance music.

The Haçienda, Factory Records’ own nightclub (largely funded by New Order), opened in May 1982 in Manchester and was even issued a Factory catalogue number: FAC51. The opening of UK’s first ever superclub was marked by a nearly 23-minute instrumental piece originally entitled “Prime 5 8 6″, but released 15 years later as “Video 5 8 6″. Composed primarily by Sumner and Morris, “Prime 5 8 6″/”Video 5 8 6″ was an early version of “5 8 6″ that contained rhythm elements that would later surface on “Blue Monday” and “Ultraviolence”.

Power, Corruption & Lies: 1983–1984

Power, Corruption & Lies, released in May 1983, was a synthesiser-based outing and a dramatic change in sound from Joy Division and the preceding album, although the band had been hinting at the increased use of technology during the music-making process for a number of years then, including their work as Joy Division. Starting from what earlier singles had hinted, this was where the band had found their footing, mixing early techno music with their earlier guitar-based sound and showing the strong influence of acts like Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder. Even further in this direction was the electronically sequenced, four-on-the-floor single “Blue Monday”. Inspired by Klein & MBO’s “Dirty Talk” and Sylvester’s disco classic, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”, “Blue Monday” became the best-selling independent 12″ single of all time in the UK; however, (much to the chagrin of the buying public) it was not on the track list of Power, Corruption & Lies. This resulted in a sticker being applied to unsold copies of Power, Corruption & Lies album saying, “DOES NOT CONTAIN BLUE MONDAY”. (It was included on the cassette format in some countries, such as Australia and New Zealand.) “Blue Monday” is now included on the 2008 collector’s edition of Power, Corruption & Lies.

The 1983 single “Confusion” firmly established the group as a dance music force, inspiring many musicians in subsequent years. In 1984 they followed the largely synthesised single “Thieves Like Us” with the heavy guitar-drum-bass rumble of “Murder”, a not-too-distant cousin of “Ecstasy” from the Power, Corruption & Lies album.

 

Discography

Studio Albums

1981 Movement – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/new-order-movement/

1983 Power, Corruption & Lies – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/new-order-power-corruption-lies/

1985 Low-Life – Coming soon 26/10/2011

Republic – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/new-order-republic/

Compilations

20 years of – http://www.bopping-elf.co.uk/new-order-20-years-of/

Leave a Reply