New Order photographed in January 2007; (left to right) Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, and Bernard Sumner.
|Genres||Post-punk, alternative dance, electronic, new wave, synthpop|
|Labels||Factory, London, Warner Bros.|
|Associated acts||Joy Division, Electronic, Revenge, The Other Two, Monaco, Bad Lieutenant|
|Past members||Peter Hook|
The band was formed in 1980 by Sumner (vocals, guitars, keyboards & synthesisers), Peter Hook (bass, vocals) and Morris (drums, electronic drums, keyboards & synthesisers) – the remaining members of Joy Division, following the suicide of vocalist Ian Curtis – with the addition of Gilbert (keyboards & synthesisers, guitars). In 1993 the band broke-up amidst tension between bandmembers, but reformed in 1998. In 2001, Cunningham (guitars, keyboards & synthesisers) replaced Gilbert, who left the group due to family commitments. In 2007, Peter Hook left the band and the band broke-up again, with Sumner stating in 2009 that he no longer wishes to make music as New Order. The band reunited in 2011 without Hook, with Gilbert returning to the fold and Chapman replacing Hook on bass. During the band's career and in between lengthy breaks, band members have been involved in several solo projects, such as Sumner's Electronic and Bad Lieutenant; Hook's Monaco and Revenge and Gilbert and Morris' The Other Two. Cunningham was previously a member of Marion and with Sumner and Chapman was a member of Bad Lieutenant.
By combining New Wave and electronic dance music, New Order became one of the most critically acclaimed and influential bands of the 1980s. Though the band's early years were shadowed by the legacy and basic sound of Joy Division, their experience of the early 1980s New York City club scene increased their knowledge of dance music and saw them incorporate elements of that style into their work. The band's 1983 hit "Blue Monday", the best-selling 12-inch single of all time, is one example of how the band transformed their sound.
New Order were the flagship band for Factory Records. Their minimalist album sleeves and "non-image" (the band rarely gave interviews and were known for performing short concert sets with no encores) reflected the label's aesthetic of doing whatever the relevant parties wanted to do, including an aversion to including singles as album tracks.
Origins and formation: 1977–1980
Between 1977 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 Joy Division 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' death that they would carry on. 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, rejecting any fascist undertones.
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. 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 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. 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 synthesisers. The band viewed the period as a low point, as they were still reeling from Curtis' death. Hook commented that the only positive thing to come out of the Movement sessions was that producer Martin Hannett had showed the band how to use a mixing board, which allowed them to produce records by themselves from then on.
New Order visited New York City in 1981, where the band were introduced to post-disco, Latin freestyle, and electro. 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", saw a 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
"Blue Monday" featuring the distinctive kick drum opening
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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.
Low-Life, Brotherhood, and Substance: 1985–1987
1985's Low-Life refined and sometimes mixed the two styles, brandishing "The Perfect Kiss"—the video for which was filmed by Jonathan Demme—and "Sub-culture". In February 1986, the soundtrack album to Pretty in Pink featuring "Shellshock" was released on A&M Records. An instrumental version of "Thieves Like Us" and the instrumental "Elegia" appeared in the film but were not on the soundtrack album. Later that summer, New Order headlined a line-up that included The Smiths, The Fall, and A Certain Ratio during the Festival of the Tenth Summer at Manchester's G-Mex.
Brotherhood (1986) divided the two approaches onto separate album sides. The album notably featured "Bizarre Love Triangle" and "Angel Dust" (of which a remixed instrumental version is available on the UK "True Faith" CD video single, under the title "Evil Dust"), a track which marries a synth break beat with Low-Life-era guitar effects. While New Order toured North America with friends Echo & the Bunnymen, the summer of 1987 saw the release of the compilation Substance, which featured the new single "True Faith". Substance was an important album in collecting the group's 12-inch singles onto CD for the first time and featured new versions of "Temptation" and "Confusion"—referred to as "Temptation '87" and "Confusion '87". A second disc featured several of the B-sides from the singles on the first disc, as well as additional A-sides "Procession" and "Murder". The single, "True Faith", with its surreal video, became a hit on MTV and the band's first American top 40 hit. The single's B-side, "1963"—originally planned on being the A-side until the group's label convinced them to release "True Faith" instead—would later be released as a single in its own right several years later, with two new versions.
Technique, Republic and first break-up: 1988–1993
By this time, the group was heavily influenced by the Balearic house sounds of Ibiza and the acid house tunes making their way into the Hacienda. Partly recorded at Mediterranean Sound studios on Ibiza, Technique was released in February 1989. The album entered the charts at number one in the UK and contained a mix of the acid house influence (as on "Fine Time", the opening track) and a more traditional guitar-bass-drums sound on others (such as the single "Run 2"). The album is a blend of occasionally upbeat, accessible music coupled with blunt, poignant lyrics. During the summer of 1989, New Order supported Technique by touring with Public Image Ltd, Throwing Muses and The Sugarcubes across the United States and Canada in what was the press dubbed the "Monsters of Alternative Rock" tour. Also New Order recorded the official song of the England national football team's 1990 World Cup campaign, "World in Motion", under the ad-hoc band name EnglandNewOrder. The song, co-written with comedian Keith Allen, was a number one UK hit.
New Order never had a formal contract with their label Factory Records, which is unusual for any major group. (This was in fact the label's standard practice until the mid-1980s. According to Factory's co-founder Tony Wilson, "All our bands are free to fuck off whenever they please.") Because of this, the group (rather than Factory Records) legally owned all their own recorded material. This has often been cited, not least by Wilson himself, as the main reason London Records' 1992 offer to buy the ailing label fell through.
Republic, released around the world in 1993, was the band's first album release since parting company with the now-defunct Factory Records. The release spawned the singles "Regret"—their highest-charting single in the US—"Ruined in a Day", "World", and "Spooky".
Following the release of Republic, the band put New Order on hold while each member continued on with their own side-projects. In 1994, a second singles collection was released, entitled The Best of New Order. It featured all of the band's singles since Substance as well as a few extra tracks: "Vanishing Point" (from 1989's Technique), "The Perfect Kiss", "Thieves Like Us", "Shellshock", and new recordings of "True Faith", "Bizarre Love Triangle", and "1963". The new versions of "True Faith" and "1963" – the latter with a yet newer, more guitar-oriented version produced by Arthur Baker – were released as singles to promote the album. In the US, the track listing was altered to set it apart from Substance as well as the UK release of The Best of New Order which had been available months prior. This collection was followed by a remix album, The Rest of New Order, featuring a selection of old remixes and newly-commissioned mixes of classic New Order tracks. Some versions contained an extra disc/cassette composed entirely of remixes of "Blue Monday". "Blue Monday" was released as a single for a third time to promote the collection.
Reformation and Get Ready: 1998–2003
The group reconvened in 1998 at the suggestion of Rob Gretton. Nearly five years had passed since they had last seen each other. Sumner said, "We decided before we agreed to doing any gig, to have a meeting, and if anyone had any grudges to bear, to iron them out." By the second meeting everyone agreed to continue playing, scheduling their reunion gig for the Phoenix Festival that same year. In addition to rarer songs, New Order also decided to begin playing Joy Division songs again. When the Phoenix Festival was cancelled due to low ticket sales, New Order instead played the last night of that year's Reading Festival.
Their 2001 release Get Ready largely departed from their more electronic style and focused on the more guitar oriented music. According to Sumner, "Get Ready was guitar-heavy simply because we felt that we'd left that instrument alone for a long time." Longtime fan Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins played guitar and sang back-up on the track "Turn My Way", and in 2001 toured with the band on dates in the UK, US, and Japan for a short period of time. Phil Cunningham (formerly of Marion) joined the band in a live capacity, deputising for Gilbert who declined to tour in favour of caring for her and Morris' children. Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie provided vocals on the track "Rock the Shack". Singles from the album included "Crystal", "60 Miles an Hour", and "Someone Like You".
In 2002, Q featured New Order on their list of the "50 Bands to See Before You Die", although this was as part of a sub-list of "5 Bands That Could Go Either Way". Both New Order and Joy Division were portrayed in the Michael Winterbottom film 24 Hour Party People, depicting the rise and fall of Factory Records as seen through the eyes of label founder Tony Wilson. Cameos by Wilson himself, along with Mark E. Smith of The Fall and former members of Happy Mondays and Inspiral Carpets, lent a degree of legitimacy to the proceedings. The film touched on some of Factory's other artists, including Happy Mondays and The Durutti Column. The soundtrack featured Get Ready-era Chemical Brothers-produced "Here to Stay", which was released as a single. The DVD release of the single highlighted scenes taken from the film.
Waiting for the Sirens' Call, Singles and second break-up: 2004–2007
The band released a new album on 27 March 2005, entitled Waiting for the Sirens' Call, their first with new member Phil Cunningham. Cunningham replaced Gilbert (now married to Morris) so she could look after their children. Singles from this album were "Krafty", "Jetstream" (which features guest vocals by Ana Matronic from Scissor Sisters), and the title track. At the 2005 NME Awards, New Order and Joy Division received the award for "Godlike Geniuses" (for lifetime achievement). Previous winners include Ozzy Osbourne, The Clash, and the Happy Mondays. In 2006 the album track "Guilt Is a Useless Emotion" was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Dance Recording.
In the autumn of 2005, the group released another greatest hits compilation, in the form of Singles. The two-disc release was an updated version of the Substance collection and contained every single released from their 1981 debut all the way through to "Waiting for the Sirens' Call". However, unlike Substance, which focused almost exclusively on the 12" versions of the group's singles, Singles collected the 7" versions, many of which (like "Ceremony", "Temptation" and "Confusion") had never been released on CD. The album was accompanied by a two-disc DVD set, entitled Item, that collected the extended UK version of NewOrderStory with a DVD of all New Order music videos as well as two newly commissioned videos for "Temptation '87" and "Ceremony".
The New Order: Live in Glasgow DVD was recorded at the Glasgow Academy in 2006 and features 18 tracks, including 4 Joy Division songs. Next to that, the release also contains a bonus disc of footage from the band's personal archive including 1980s footage from Glastonbury, Rome, Cork, Rotterdam and Toronto.
In 2006, the band played several one-off live dates as well as short tours in the UK, Brazil and Argentina. At the end of the Buenos Aires show in November 2006, Peter Hook suggested that the band should stop touring. In early May 2007, bassist Peter Hook was interviewed by British radio station XFM – originally to talk about his contribution to the debut album of former Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell's new band Satellite Party saying that "[...]me and Bernard [Sumner] aren't working together." Further complicating the news, NewOrderOnline, a website with support from New Order management, reported that, according to "a source close to the band," "the news about the split is false... New Order still exists despite what [Hook] said [....] Peter Hook can leave the band, but this doesn't mean the end of New Order." The band however dissolved and Sumner revealed in 2009 that he no longer wished to make music as New Order.
Reunion with new line-up, Lost Sirens: 2011–present
In September 2011, the band announced that they would perform for the first time since 2006, at the Ancienne Belgique, Brussels on 17 October and at the Bataclan, Paris on 18 October. The band's line-up included keyboardist Gillian Gilbert, who returned to the band after a ten-year break, and Bad Lieutenant bassist Tom Chapman in place of Peter Hook. They played subsequent shows in London and South America in December.
In December 2011, New Order released Live at the London Troxy, a live album from their 10 December 2011 performance at The Troxy in London. This release featured the new lineup and their first show in London in over five years.
They continued to tour throughout 2012, including a short tour of New Zealand and Australia in February/March. They played at the 'T in the Park' festival in Scotland on 3 and 4 July 2012 and at the EXIT Festival in Novi Sad Serbia on 13 July 2012. New Order performed at Hyde Park with Blur and The Specials to celebrate the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony.
In December 2012 it was announced that Lost Sirens would be released in the United Kingdom on January 14, 2013. Lost Sirens would be an eight-track album of tracks left out of Waiting for the Sirens' Call. The album was discussed by Gillian Gilbert in a Brazilian interview to promote the band’s appearance in São Paulo. She acknowledged issues with former member Peter Hook, and stated there is "a lot going on behind the scenes on the copyright" delaying the release. The album was released on January 14, 2013.
In 1988, Bernard Sumner teamed up with former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr for the Electronic project (also enlisting the help of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys). Sumner worked with Marr in 1996 for second time in Electronic for Raise the Pressure. Karl Bartos (formerly of Kraftwerk) also assisted with this record. The project's third album Twisted Tenderness was released in 1999 after which the band dissolved.
In June 2009, Bernard Sumner formed a new band called Bad Lieutenant with Phil Cunningham (guitar) and Jake Evans (guitar and vocals), that completed an album, Never Cry Another Tear, which was released on 5 October 2009. In addition to Cunningham and Evans the album also features appearances by Stephen Morris (drums), Jack Mitchell (drums), Tom Chapman (bass) and Alex James (bass). The live band includes Morris on drums and Tom Chapman on bass.
Hook has been involved with several other projects. In the 1990s, Hook recorded with Killing Joke with a view to joining the band. However, original bassist Martin 'Youth' Glover instead returned to the band. In 1995 he toured with The Durutti Column. He has recorded one album with the band Revenge and two with Monaco (both as bassist, keyboardist and lead vocalist) with David Potts, the latter of which scored a club and alternative radio hit "What Do You Want From Me?" in 1997. He also worked on a new band project called Freebass with bass players Mani (The Stone Roses) and Andy Rourke (ex-The Smiths). He also contributed to Perry Farrell's Satellite Party.
In 1990 Gilbert and Morris formed their own band, The Other Two. The Other Two released its first single "Tasty Fish" in 1991 and released two albums, The Other Two & You in 1993 and Super Highways 1999. In 2007, Gilbert and Morris remixed two tracks for the Nine Inch Nails remixes album Year Zero Remixed.
"BeMusic" was a name the band used for their publishing company (and the LP label for Movement says "B Music" in large letters, though using an italic ß for the letter B). All four members of the band used the name for production work for other artists' recordings between 1982 and 1985.
The first BeMusic credit was for Peter Hook producing Stockholm Monsters in 1982. Other artists with producer or musician credit for "BeMusic" were 52nd Street, Section 25, Marcel King, Quando Quango, Paul Haig, Thick Pigeon, Nyam Nyam and Life.
Their production work as BeMusic was collected on two LTM compilation CDs, Cool As Ice: The BeMusic Productions and Twice As Nice (which also included production work by Donald Johnson, of A Certain Ratio, and Arthur Baker).
Both New Order and Joy Division were among the most successful artists on the Factory Records label, run by Granada television personality Tony Wilson, and partnered with Factory in the financing of the Manchester club The Haçienda. The band rarely gave interviews in the 1980s, later ascribing this to not wanting to discuss Curtis. This, along with the Peter Saville sleeve designs and the tendency to give short performances with no encores, gave New Order a reputation as standoffish. The band became more open in the '90s; for example, the aforementioned NewOrderStory (and in particular the longer UK version) featured extensive personal interviews.
Their music mixes rock with dance music, as can be seen on signature tracks such as "True Faith" and "Temptation". This synthesis laid down the groundwork for dance/rock groups of today. The group's album art earned them the status of icons in the alternative community, and has shown considerable longevity.
They have heavily influenced techno, rock, and pop musicians including Pet Shop Boys, The Killers and Moby, and were themselves influenced by the likes of David Bowie, Neu!, Kraftwerk, Cabaret Voltaire and Giorgio Moroder. They have also significantly influenced electro, freestyle and house. The Kraftwerk influence was acknowledged by their single "Krafty", which had cover art referencing "Autobahn". Bassist Peter Hook contributed to New Order's sound by developing an idiosyncratic bass guitar technique. He often used the bass as a lead instrument, playing melodies on the high strings with a signature heavy chorus effect, leaving the "actual" basslines to keyboards or sequencers. This has often been cited as the defining characteristic of the New Order sound.
Drummer Stephen Morris regularly played a mixture of acoustic and electronic drums, and in many cases played along seamlessly with sequenced parts. All the band members could and did switch instruments throughout gigs, as evidenced on Jonathan Demme's video for "The Perfect Kiss" and the fairly common Taras Shevchenko and Pumped Full of Drugs concert videos. In particular, Gilbert, Morris, and Sumner could be seen playing keyboards at times, while Hook played electronic drums variously. (Taras Shevchenko is especially notable for the fact all four members of the group have left the stage before the final song ("Temptation") comes to an end.)
New Order albums, and Factory Records products in general, frequently bore the minimalist packaging of Saville. The group's record sleeves bucked the 1980s trend by rarely showing the band members (the Low-Life album was the exception) or even providing basic information such as the band name or the title of the release. Song names were often hidden within the shrink wrapped package, either on the disc itself (such as the "Blue Monday" single) or on an inconspicuous part of an inner sleeve ("The Perfect Kiss" single), or a cryptic colour code invented by Saville (Power, Corruption & Lies). Saville said his intention was to sell the band as a "mass-produced secret" of sorts, and that the minimalist style was enough to allow fans to identify the band's products without explicit labelling.
Many New Order song titles have nothing to do with the song. In some cases, song titles appear as lyrics in other songs. For example, the phrase "This time of night" appears in the song "As It Is When It Was" on Brotherhood but is the title of a song on Low-Life, and "Face Up" from Low-Life features the phrase "In a lonely place", the title of the B-side to "Ceremony". Also, the track "Chemical" from the 1993 album Republic featured the word brotherhood, which was the name of the 1986 album.
Other song titles were taken from the titles of old movies such as Thieves Like Us and Cries and Whispers, and the film "Whistle Down The Wind" is mentioned in the lyrics of "Vanishing Point" on the 1989 album Technique, an album which is otherwise notable for not including any of its song title phrases in the lyrics of any of the nine tracks, although the phrase "Fine Time" does appear in Joy Division's song "Transmission".
This practice appears to have been discontinued after the 1980s given that on "Republic" several songs contain their titles (e.g. "Regret", "Ruined In a Day", "Special", "Young Offender"), and on "Get Ready" most song lyrics contain their titles except "Slow Jam", "Close Range" and "Run Wild". Similarly, "Waiting For The Sirens' Call" song lyrics contain their titles with the exception of "Who's Joe", "Krafty" and "Guilt is a Useless Emotion".
- Bernard Sumner – lead vocals, guitar, synthesisers, programming (1980–1993, 1998–2007, 2011–present)
- Stephen Morris – drums and percussion, synthesisers, programming (1980–1993, 1998–2007, 2011–present)
- Gillian Gilbert – synthesisers, programming, guitars (1980–1993, 1998–2001, 2011–present)
- Phil Cunningham – synthesisers, programming, guitars, electronic drums (2001–2007, 2011–present)
- Tom Chapman – bass, synthesisers, programming (2011–present)
- Former members
- Movement (1981)
- Power, Corruption & Lies (1983)
- Low-Life (1985)
- Brotherhood (1986)
- Technique (1989)
- Republic (1993)
- Get Ready (2001)
- Waiting for the Sirens' Call (2005)
- Lost Sirens (2013)
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-  The Docklands & East London Advertiser
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- "Bad Lieutenant's Myspace Blog: Never Cry Another Tear". Blogs.myspace.com. 5 July 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
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- New Order Online – semi-official website and largest New Order website in general, endorsed by the band