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New Order Brief Biography
New Order were the group that came out of one of rock's biggest tragedies - Ian Curtis's suicide in 1980.
Morris's girlfriend Gillian Gilbert joined on keyboards, Sumner took over the lead vocals, and continued on guitar, with Hook on bass, and Morris, obviously, on percussion.
New Order got off to a fairly slow start regarding success, but early rich synth tracks such as 'Truth' were a sign that Gillian's influence was helping to define a different sound. New Order became popular with the indie crowd and clubbers alike, and their 1982 song, 'Blue Monday', was a massive success, indeed the biggest selling 12" record ever. New Order's sound was to have elements that'd appeal to a wide cross-section - always handy when you're trying to sell records. Hooky's unique bass meets electric guitar sound was still there, Bernie's delicate guitar work was superb (and too often underrated), and his vocals were ideal for this strange hybrid of cold-emotional music. Stephen's experiments with rhythms were getting more interesting, and Gillian's keyboards added a warm feeling to the coldness of some of the rhythms and vocals.
The group's 1983 album, 'Power, Corruption And Lies', was their first really acclaimed album, though 'Blue Monday' was deliberately kept off it, and what with the band's refusal to do interviews and play encores, they were very much looking for success on their terms. 1985's 'Low Life' album had critics wetting themselves, and went on to inspire a lot of acts with its rock/dance mix.
Their success was sustained pretty much all through the '80s, and their 'World In Motion' single, co-written by wild boy comic Keith Allen, was used as the song for the England 1990 World Cup squad, including some rapping by John Barnes. It went to number 1, but it wasn't one of their better tracks, in truth. Never let footballers near a microphone...
With Factory Records crumbling in the early '90s, the members of New Order were also moving in different directions, Hooky with his Revenge, and then Monaco, and Bernie with an understated supergroup, Electronic, comprising also Johnny Marr and the Pet Shop Boys. Gillian and Stephen recorded soundtracks, including the theme for 'America's Most Wanted'. They later got married, with Gillian leaving the group to become a full-time mum. Hooky married talented comedy star Caroline Aherne, and Bernie was praising the delights of Prozac. In 2000, there was some fresh New Order music, in the movie 'The Beach', and, in 2001, the group's first album for eight years, 'Get Ready', which was well received. They went down a treat at Glastonbury in 2005, and in the same year were inducted into the 'UK Music Hall Of Fame' - also for their work with Joy Division - and confirmed their position as a well-loved British institution!
- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.
New Order at the NEC, Birmingham, Sunday, March 26th, 1989
I was at a New Order concert when they were playing their British tour and it was truly amazing. I've never seen so many people. I was about in the middle of the audience and everyone on the stage looked about two centimetres tall!
The support band were the Happy Mondays, who were pretty good. Then, we waited three-quarters of an hour while they changed the equipment and lighting. The lights went down and we all got ready for the performance. New Order came out onto the stage and started doing their stuff. I couldn't see very much, but it didn't really matter.
First, they did some tracks from their recent album “Technique”, during which there was a beautiful laser light show, which formed the complete audio-visual experience. After that they did some oldies and most people were jumping up and down, putting their fists into the air. Several thousand fans doing this simultaneously is a pretty amazing sight. They did my old fave, “Bizarre Love Triangle”, which swept us all away.
They made us wait ages for an encore, but after much clapping, stamping, and shouting, they came back and did a few more songs. They were on for about one and a half hours in all.
I've always liked New Order, but at that concert they were brilliant. Some bands let technology take over. For example acid house, but New Order have moved with the times, and still use their guitars, and have some delicious melodies. Anyway, it was truly spectacular and I didn't want to go home!
This review was first published in Peace & Freedom, No. 6, Vol. 2, Summer 1989
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