Tag Archive: Bernard Sumner

UNKNOWN PLEASURES by Peter Hook (Simon & Schuster, 2012)

joyPop-pickers of a certain age and diehard hipsters out there surely won’t have missed that the title of yesterday’s post on Ricky Gervais’ ‘Afterlife’ featured a quote from the Joy Division song ‘Heart And Soul’.

This track, from their second and final album ‘Closer’, includes the tortured lines: “Existence, well what does it matter? I exist on the best terms I can. The past is now part of my future. The present is well out of hand”.

Anyone pausing to reflect on such lyrics would probably conclude that the author was either a) deeply troubled or (b) that he had been reading a little too much outsider fiction. Both of these were true of the band’s tortured lead singer Ian Curtis who hung himself on 18th May, 1980. Continue reading

Part of an irregular series of bite-sized posts about 7″ singles I own – shameless nostalgia from the days of vinyl. (Search ‘Backtracking’ to collect the set!)

New Order – Procession  b/w Everything’s Gone Green
(A Factory Record, 1981)

If New Order were going to establish an identity of their own they had to establish a sound that was radically different from Joy Division.

This took time to perfect but already with this, their second single, they set a marker for the more upbeat, electro-pop that they have become known for.  This is particularly true of the B-side which is the better of the two excellent songs.

The lyrics to Procession still have  some of the morbidity of Joy Division (“There is no end to this / I can’t turn away / Another picture but the scene / It’s just the same”) but he sound is a little lighter and Sumner doesn’t seem to be trying to imitate Ian Curtis.

Martin Hannett died in April 1981 aged 42 and Everything’s Gone Green was the last track he produced for the band. He ended on a high note and the song was later released as an A side.

The track shows a dynamism absent from the A side and from their debut album, Movement.

Peter Saville’s sleeve design is equally bold, taking ideas from the Italian Futurist movement.

Groove notations read SOFT  for side A and HARD for the B side.

Part of an irregular series of bite-sized posts about 7″ singles I own – shameless nostalgia from the days of vinyl. (Search ‘Backtracking’ to collect the set!)

New Order – Ceremony b/w In A lonely Place (A Factory Record, 1981)

I went to see New Order live at the Forum Ballroom, Kentish Town, London on Wednesday, 6th May 1981.

The atmosphere was electric and the intense mood was set by playing Lou Reed’s ‘Sad Song’ from ‘Berlin’ over the PA system immediately before they took the stage.

The sound quality was poor and Sumner’s vocals seemed strained. He was never a natural singer and I wouldn’t have been surprised if  New Order had split after one album. I don’t think he was ever comfortable as a Curtis imitator and they needed to change direction to get away from the past.

In 1981, they were still very much into the Gothic post-punk phase; still young men with the weight of the world on their shoulders. Continue reading

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