Submitted by Robin Blackburn
After the suicide of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis in 1980, the remaining members of the band - Bernard Sumner (guitar), Peter Hook (bass) and Stephen Morris (drums) - decided to carry on working together. After a name change to New Order, Sumner rather reluctantly took on vocal duties, and Morris’s girlfriend, Gillian Gilbert, was recruited on keyboards. Early releases were similar to Joy Division - indeed, the band’s first single, ‘Ceremony’, was an old Joy Division song, and the debut album, ‘Movement’ (1981), was recorded with Joy Division producer Martin Hannett.
However, a visit to New York in 1982 encouraged the band’s burgeoning interest in dance music, and subsequent singles - like ‘Everything Gone Green’ and ‘Temptation’ - showed a new direction towards a mix of dance and guitar styles. 1983’s ‘Power, Corruption and Lies’ was the first album of dance-orientated material, and was followed by the band’s real breakthrough, ‘Blue Monday’. Famous for being the biggest selling 12” single of all time - and for the fact that the band initially lost money on it due to the expense of producing the sleeve! - the single has since become a classic. The follow-up, ‘Confusion’, was recorded with New York dance producer, Arthur Baker, confirming the band’s new direction.
With ‘Low-life’ (1985) and ‘Brotherhood’ (1986), New Order continued to experiment with a mixture of guitars and dance styles, and also saw Sumner’s vocals becoming more confident. After ‘Substance’ compiled the band’s singles, New Order recorded ‘Technique’ in Ibiza, demonstrating their love of acid house. One further single, the 1990 England World Cup anthem ‘World in Motion’, gave the band their first number one, but proved to be their last release for a few years, as the band members embarked on other projects: Sumner joined up with ex-Smith Johnny Marr in Electronic; Hook formed Revenge; and Morris and Gilbert worked together as The Other Two.
The band’s label, Factory, collapsed in 1992, leaving the band to sign to London, who released 1993’s ‘Republic’. Another long break followed, before 2001’s ‘Get Ready’ and 2005’s ‘Waiting for the Sirens’ Call’. The later album introduced new member, Phil Cunningham, who had replaced Gilbert (after she left in order to look after her children).
Rumours of a split emerged in late 2006, eventually being confirmed by Peter Hook in May 2007. However, the rest of the band have responded by stating their intention to continue without him...