Here’s Day Three of what may be turning into my very own “Put Them in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame” Week. Today, my band du jour rose triumphantly from the ashes of another great band, Joy Division. Joy Division, if you are not familiar with them, was a band that got its start in the aftermath of the Sex Pistols first tour of the UK. Legend has it that the members of the band formed shortly after each member had seen a concert. Nearly immediately, this band began making a noise that caught the ears of a strong audience, including the UK DJ legend John Peel, who pimped the band on his highly influential radio program. As, Joy Division’s began to release records, their stock quickly rose as audiences became enamored with their sound that was a skewed dance version of what could sound like an emotionally detached electronic-based sound with a non-traditional yet charismatic lead vocalist, Ian Curtis.
As the bad gained popularity in the UK and Europe, they felt the timing was correct for them to tour America with the hopes of breaking the largest music market in the world. Unfortunately, Curtis was a troubled young man who suffered from epilepsy, to the point where he would often have seizures during performances, allegedly set off by the lights, music and performing. Unfortunately, Curtis took his own life the night before the band was to leave for the States.
Couple of months later, Joy Division’s final album, Closer, and single, the immortal “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” were released to overwhelming critical praise and became the band’s biggest hits. Unfortunately, the remaining members keyboardist/guitarist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook and drummer Stephen Morris were left without the fulfillment of their rock and roll dreams. All of this occurred in 1980. Eventually, the surviving members regrouped with keyboardist Gillian Gilbert under the name New Order, playing a combination of electronic dance music and punk rock that became highly successful and influential throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and, eventually, the United States. Remarkably, New Order’s US success was mainly in two areas: college rock radio of the Eighties and dance clubs from the get-go and continuing well into the 21st century.
Much like Depeche Mode, the band tackled the darker side of life and relationships. This lead to many of the disaffected youth who attended the hip dance clubs of the Eighties to embrace New Order. And also like Depeche Mode, their slowly built audience led the band to have sold-out tours throughout North America and Europe. And, once again, like Depeche Mode AND the Eurythmics, New Order led the synth-pop movement throughout the world while maintaining pop and rock audiences as well. And, as the years passed, New Order’s hit started to reach higher and higher positions on Billboard‘s Hot 100 Singles Chart.
Today, you can hear New Order’s influence everywhere in music, from the pop music released by Miley Cyrus to the alternative electronic rock music of Chvrches to the EDM of LCD Soundsystem. Surprisingly, many artists have praised New Order’s musical vision that has continued to the present.
So, today, I give to you, and hopefully a few voters for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, my 25 Favorite New Order Songs.
25. “Someone like You” (Get Ready, 2001)
24. “Guilt of a Useless Emotion” (Waiting for the Siren’s Call, 2005)
23. “Everything’s Gone Green” (single, 1981)
22. “Jetstream” (Waiting for the Siren’s Call, 2005)
21. “Spooky” (Republic, 1993)
20. “Fine Time” (Technique, 1989)
19. “World (The Price of Love)” (Republic, 1993)
18. “Krafty” (Waiting for the Siren’s Call, 2005)
17. “Crystal” (Get Ready, 2001)
16. “1963” (single, 1987)
15. “Dreams Never End” (Movement, 1981)
14. “Love Vigilantes” (Low-Life, 1985)
13. “Touched by the Hand of God” (Salvation! OST, 1987)
12. “Sub-Culture” (Low-Life, 1985)
11. “Age of Consent” (Power, Corruption & Lies, 1983)
10. “Confusion” (single, 1983)
9. “Ceremony” (single, 1981)
8. “Perfect Kiss” (Low-Life, 1985)
7. “Round & Round” (Technique, 1989)
6. “Blue Monday” (Power, Corruption & Lies, 1983)
5. “Temptation” (single, 1982)
4. “Shellshock” (Pretty in Pink OST, 1986)
3. “True Faith” (Substance, 1987)
2. “Bizarre Love Triangle” (Brotherhood, 1986)
1. “Regret” (Republic, 1993)
Well, folks, there’s my 25 favorite songs by arguably the finest synth pop bands of any era, and a band that is deserving to be inducted either as themselves or with Joy Division, with whom they share so much more than just their legacy. Both bands have the same beating heart and blood cells flowing through both bodies. Much like Parliament/Funkadelic and Small Faces/Faces, maybe we ought to consider Joy Division/New Order as the next twin identity group to be inducted.
Since I am on this “Induct These Guys Now!” kick, I better find someone for the next two days from the late-Seventies and Eighties when my musical tastes were blooming.