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New Order

 B i o g r a p h y

New Order were an English musical group formed in 1980 by Bernard Sumner (vocals, guitars, synthesizers), Peter Hook (bass, backing vocals, electronic drums) and Stephen Morris (drums, synthesizers). New Order were formed in the wake of the demise of their previous group Joy Division, following the suicide of vocalist Ian Curtis. They were soon joined by additional keyboardist Gillian Gilbert. New Order combined post-punk and electronic dance, and became one of the most critically acclaimed and highly influential bands of the 1980s. Though New Order's early years were shadowed by the legacy of Joy Division, their immersion in the New York City club scene of the early 1980s increased their knowledge of dance music. The band's 1983 hit "Blue Monday" saw them fully embrace dance music and synthesized instruments, and is the best-selling 12-inch single of all time. New Order were the flagship band for Factory Records, and their minimalist album sleeves and non-image reflected the label's aesthetic of doing whatever the relevant parties wanted to do, including an aversion to including singles as album tracks. The band has often been acclaimed by fans, critics and other musicians as a highly influential force in the alternative rock and dance music scenes. New Order were on hiatus between 1993 and 1998, during which time the members participated in various side-projects. The band reconvened in 1998, and in 2001 released Get Ready, their first album in eight years. In 2005, Phil Cunningham (guitars, synthesizers) replaced Gilbert, who had left the group due to family commitments. In 2007, Peter Hook left the band and stated that he and Sumner had no further plans to work together. Sumner revealed in 2009 that he no longer wishes to make music as New Order. Sumner, Morris and Cunningham now work together under a new band name, Bad Lieutenant.

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 Ha├žienda. 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 has trodden the line between the rock and dance genres, which 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 have 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, every member could be seen playing keyboards at times. (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 labeling.

Many New Order song titles have nothing to do with the song. In some cases, songs with normal titles appear to have had their titles swapped with 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. The 1989 album Technique is notable for not including any of their song title phrases in the lyrics of any of the nine tracks.

New Order released many singles for songs not included on albums. Singles were released in many formats and often with varying track lists and exclusive artwork. According to Tony Wilson, Factory intentionally released other singles, LPs, and compilations in non-UK markets to increase their collectibility. Indeed, the complete New Order discography is far too sprawling for most fans to collect in its entirety, and the compilations released by Factory and other labels are notoriously incomplete. In the late '90s, London Records spoke of releasing a Depeche Mode-esque singles retrospective for New Order, complete with original packaging and track lists. The project was at times named Cardboard and Plastic and Recycle, with t-shirts for the latter appearing at the infrequent New Order gigs. Eventually, the financial aspects caused the project to devolve into the Retro box set (2002), which featured many tracks that were readily available elsewhere. The single-disc International compilation (2002) similarly omits the classic, out of print recordings in favour of updating the conventional The Best of New Order (1994) and Substance (1987). At least one single, "Run 2" (1989), may never be reissued; it was the subject of legal action from John Denver, who argued that the song's wordless guitar break was based on his own song "Leaving on a Jet Plane". An out-of-court settlement ensured that the song would never be re-released in its original form. Denver is now credited as a co-writer of the song on the Singles compilation

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Official Homepage: www.neworderonline.com

 A l b u m s

Singles (London Records, 2005)