Bernard Sumner

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Bernard Sumner
New Order - Fête de l'Humanité 2012 - 013.jpg
Sumner performing with New Order at the Fête de l'Humanité near Paris, 2012
Background information
Birth name Bernard Edward Sumner
Born (1956-01-04) 4 January 1956 (age 59)
Lower Broughton, Salford, Lancashire, England
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, programming,
Years active 1973–present
Labels Factory, London, Warner Bros., Parlophone, Mute, Triple Echo
Associated acts Joy Division, New Order, Electronic, Bad Lieutenant
Notable instruments

Bernard Edward Sumner (born 4 January 1956), also known as Bernard Dickin, Bernard Dicken and Bernard Albrecht,[5] is an English musician, singer, and songwriter. He was a member of Joy Division and is currently the lead vocalist and guitarist of New Order.

He has also recorded with Johnny Marr as Electronic and was the lead vocalist of the band.

Musical career[edit]

Joy Division (1976-1980)[edit]

Sumner was a founding member of Joy Division, a post-punk band formed in 1976. The band is widely considered one of the most influential bands of the era. Primarily known as the band's lead guitarist (his main guitars were a Gibson SG and a Shergold Custom Masquerader), Sumner also played keyboards for synth parts and made his first vocal appearance on record singing the chorus of "They Walked In Line" on the Warsaw album. In May 1980, the band's vocalist, Ian Curtis, committed suicide, resulting in Joy Division's end.

New Order (1980-1993)[edit]

Sumner and remaining bandmates Peter Hook and Stephen Morris started a new band named New Order, joined by Gillian Gilbert in October 1980. Though Hook, Morris and Gilbert also contributed vocals on some early tracks, Sumner emerged as the band's permanent vocalist and lyricist, alongside playing guitar and keyboards. The band released six studio albums before splitting in 1993.

Electronic (1989-1999)[edit]

In 1989, Sumner joined up with former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr to form Electronic. The Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant collaborated on two tracks on their debut eponymous album, providing vocals. Sumner was vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist and lyricist.

New Order reunion (1998-2007)[edit]

In 1998, New Order reconvened and subsequently released another two studio albums. The band split up in 2007 after a disagreement between Hook and the remaining members. In 2009, Sumner was quoted as saying he no longer wished to make music as New Order.[6]

Bad Lieutenant (2008-2011)[edit]

Bad Lieutenant included fellow New Order member Phil Cunningham and Jake Evans of Rambo & Leroy. Stephen Morris of New Order and Blur bassist Alex James also performed on the band's debut album. Sumner provided vocals, guitar and lyrics.

On 2 July 2009, Bernard Sumner confirmed that single "Sink or Swim" would be released on 28 September 2009 and would be the first off their album Never Cry Another Tear. The single was hosted for free on the band's website prior to its physical release, it was followed by a digital bundle release with remixes of the song by Mark Reeder, James Bright and Teenagers.[7][8]

Their debut LP, Never Cry Another Tear, was released in October 2009. The band followed up with a tour of the United Kingdom.

New Order second reunion (2011-present)[edit]

In October 2011, New Order (without Hook) returned with live dates in Brussels and Paris. A UK tour followed through early 2012. The band announced in September 2012 that work on a new album would begin in 2013.

Other musical projects[edit]

From 1976 to 1979, Sumner worked as a tracing animator at Cosgrove Hall Films.

In 1981, Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls released their last single "Searching For Heaven", which included a guitar-solo by Sumner, although he was not credited in the sleeves of its 7" and 10" edition at the time.[9][10]

In 1983, Sumner co-produced, with Donald Johnson, the band Foreign Press and 'The Great Divide'/'Love in a Strange Place'. Foreign Press (aka Emergency) had had a long history with Sumner through both Joy Division and New Order.

In 1990, he worked with former Factory Records labelmates A Certain Ratio remixing their song "Won't Stop Loving You". He has also recorded tracks with fellow Mancunians 808 State and Sub Sub. Sumner appeared as guest vocalist and guitarist (alongside Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie) on The Chemical Brothers' 1999 album Surrender, on the track "Out of Control", and in the 2005 Chemical Brothers show at the Brixton Academy, Sumner appeared live on stage as a special guest on this track. He recently lent vocals and guitar to a track ("Miracle Cure") on German trance outfit Blank & Jones 2008 release, "The Logic of Pleasure." Sumner also appeared on the Primal Scream track Shoot Speed Kill Light from their 2000 album XTRMNTR.

He has also done several remixes, such as Technotronic's "Rockin' Over the Beat" (which was featured in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III soundtrack) and served as a record producer for other Factory Records acts such as Happy Mondays (whose second single Freaky Dancin' he produced in 1986). Shark Vegas, Abecedarians, 52nd Street and Section 25. It is said that he will be contributing a remix to Depeche Mode's upcoming remix album.

Personal life[edit]

Sumner was married to Sue Barlow (born 1956) on 28 October 1978.[11] They have a son James Christopher (born 1983). The couple divorced in 1989, just before the release of Technique, an experience reflected in the song "Round & Round." Sue is a relative of Gary Barlow.

Sumner lives with his second wife, Sarah Dalton. They have three children: Dylan Christian (born 1992), Tess Iona (born 1994) and Finley Emil (born 2003). He is a fan of Manchester United.[12]

He is commonly known by the nickname "Barney", although he is reportedly not fond of the name. An early Joy Division bootleg credited him as "Barney Rubble". Brandon Flowers (of The Killers) has dubbed him "The Chairman of the Beat".[13]

His following book, 'Chapter and Verse' was released in 2014.

Film portrayals[edit]

Sumner has been portrayed on film twice. John Simm played him in the 2002 film 24 Hour Party People, which focused on Factory Records. In the Ian Curtis biopic, Control, he is played by James Anthony Pearson.


For his Discographies with Joy Division discography, New Order discography, Electronic (band) and Bad Lieutenant (band).

(Singles featuring Bernard Sumner on guest vocals and/or guitar)

  • 808 State – "Spanish Heart" (vocals, 1991)
  • Sub Sub feat: Bernard Sumner – "This Time I'm Not Wrong" (vocals, guitar, 1997)
  • Chemical Brothers – "Out Of Control" (vocals, guitar, 1999)
  • Primal Scream – "Shoot Speed Kill Light" (guitar, 2000)
  • Blank & Jones feat. Bernard Sumner – "Miracle Cure" (vocals, guitar, 2008)
  • Hot Chip, Bernard Sumner & Hot City – "Didn't Know What Love Was" (vocals, keyboards, production, 2010)


  • Bernard Sumner: Confusion – Joy Division, Electronic and New Order Versus the World, David Nolan, 2007
  • Chapter and Verse - New Order, Joy Division and Me, Bernard Sumner, 2014


  1. ^ a b "Peter Hook on Ian Curtis & Gibson Basses". Gibson. 18 February 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Shergold". Shergold. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Rambali, Pauli (July 1983). "A Rare Glimpse into a Private World". The Face. 
  4. ^ Foley, Ryan (5 March 2007). ""Blue Monday" - New Order". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  5. ^ David Nolan Bernard Sumner Confusion (Church Stretton: IMP, 2007), p. 15.
  6. ^ Wilkinson, Roy (August 2009). "Sumner Speaks". Mojo. London: Bauer Media Group. p. 18.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "Sink Or Swim Reeder - Bad Lieutenant - Official Site". Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Pauline Murray And Invisible Girls, The – Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls". Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  10. ^ Nice, James (September 2014). "Pauline Murray \ Biography". Les Disques du Crépuscule. Retrieved October 3, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Short bio at". Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "Bernard Sumner interview". Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "Watch Brandon Flowers, Bernard Sumner Play New Order Classic - Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. 

External links[edit]