Friday, April 22, 2005

Joy Division V's New Order

New Order - Ceremony

What was to become Joy Division formed in 1977 after Ian Curtis met Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook at a punk club in Manchester. Steve Morris joined soon after and they began rehearsing and gigging, as the Stiff Kittens for their first gig, and then as Warsaw. Factory Records boss Tony Wilson, who described Warsaw as a “fucking cacophony with a great singer”, had within a year recorded and released Joy Division’s debut album “Unknown Pleasures”, which entered the UK charts for one week at #71.

The band toured the UK and Europe and in March 1980 recorded their most famous track “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and their second, and last, album “Closer”, the latter of which was heavily produced by Martin Hannett who was creating soundscapes using numerous tapes of the band, drum machines and synthesisers. In May 1980, on the eve of their first tour of America, and suffering ever more frequent epileptic fits and marriage problems, Ian Curtis hanged himself at his home in Macclesfield, with Iggy Pop’s “The Idiot” playing on the turntable.

Joy Division's importance and popularity has only grown over the years. "Love Will Tear Us Apart" was voted the favourite song of all time in 1989 and 1990 (and #2 in 1991) by listeners of Australian radio station JJJ's Hottest 100 . Closer was voted #34 in Channel 4's recent 100 Greatest Albums British poll. Not to mention their obvious influence on many of the younger bands such as Interpol.

Several months after the death of Ian Curtis, the remaining members decided to continue, originally as a three piece, naming themselves New Order. In September 1980 while touring America they recorded the Joy Division "work in progess" track Ceremony. Soon after their return home the boys were joined by Gillian Gilbert and they re-recorded Ceremony and other tracks and released the Joy Division-esque Movement album. Each successive release aligned New Order's sound with the newly evolving dance scene, finding their mark in 1983 with Blue Monday - the biggest selling twelve inch single ever – and the Hacienda Club, which they bought with Factory Records.

New Order only recorded two Joy Division songs, both of which hadn’t been properly recorded in a studio. For more information on these recordings and some sounds, make sure you check out the excellent and recent Joy Division post by Spoilt Victorian Child, including some interesting Joy Division covers. I had originally planned to post Joy Division V's Low, as I think Low do an amazing version of Transmission.

There were also successful off-shoot bands for each of the members of New Order, including Electronic, Monaco, The Other Two and Revenge and New Order are still touring and have just released a new album.

Joy Division - Ceremony

New Order - Ceremony


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