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New Order Biography


Home > Music > N > New Order > Biography


Birth Place: Salford & Macclesfield, England
Years Active: 1980-1993, 1998-2007
Genres: Post-punk, Synthpop, Alternative Dance, New Wave


New Order were an English musical group formed in 1980 by Bernard Sumner (vocals, guitars, synthesizers), Peter Hook (bass, backing vocals, synthesizers) and Stephen Morris (drums, electronic drums, synthesizers). New Order was formed by the remaining members of Joy Division following the suicide of vocalist Ian Curtis. They were soon joined by keyboard player Gillian Gilbert. New Order combined new wave and electronic dance, and became one of the most critically acclaimed and highly influential bands of the 1980s. New Order was 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.

Their 1981 debut single “Ceremony” peaked at #34 on the U.K. Singles chart. The group's debut album, “Movement” peaked at #30 on the U.K. Albums chart. It wouldn't be until the release of their fourth single, “Blue Monday,” that New Order would break into the U.K. Top 10, with the song peaking at #9. “Blue Monday” became a defining single for the group and caused a sensation, becoming the highest selling 12-inch single of all time.

New Order, like many other post-punk groups of the period, increasingly utilized keyboards, drum machines and sequencers in their music. Beginning with 1983’s “Power, Corruption & Lies” which peaked at #4, all of the group's studio albums reached the Top 10 in the U.K.

“Low-Life” was released in 1985, peaking at #7 on the U.K. Albums chart. “Brotherhood” followed in 1986 and included the band's breakout single in the United States, “Bizarre Love Triangle” which entered the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart and reached the Top 10 of the Dance charts.

The group cemented their success in 1987 with the single, “True Faith,” and the compilation album “Substance.” In 1989 they released “Technique” which was the first New Order album to reach #1 in the U.K. Albums chart. The first single, “Fine Time,” reached #11 in the U.K.

Their second and final #1 album, 1993’s “Republic” also received a Mercury Music Prize nomination. In the U.S. the album reached #11 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

It was during this successful period that the group's internal dynamic began to falter. Sumner was not fond of touring, and wanted to take time off from the group and produce a solo album. He formed Electronic with Johnny Marr and the pair released their first single in 1989. Hook formed his own band, Revenge, in 1989, while Morris and Gilbert worked together as The Other Two, primarily scoring soundtracks. The recording and touring for “Republic,” was difficult and inter-band tensions were rife. The group went on hiatus until 1998. In the meantime two compilation albums, “The Best of New Order” and “The Rest of New Order,” and several singles were released.

The group reconvened in 1998 for the Reading Festival but did not release new material until 2000. New Order released the album “Get Ready” in 2001. The lead single from the album, “Crystal,” reached the Top 10 in the U.K.

The film 24 Hour Party People, a humorous chronicle of their label Factory Records, was released in 2002. New Order contributed a new song, “Here to Stay,” and a re-recording of the Joy Division song “New Dawn Fades” with Moby, for the film's soundtrack.

The compilation “International” and four-disc boxset “Retro” were released in winter 2002. New Order followed “Get Ready” with “Waiting for the Sirens' Call” in 2005. In 2006 the album track "Guilt Is a Useless Emotion" was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Dance Recording. During this period Gilbert stepped down from live performances due to family commitments. Phil Cunningham stepped into her role and in 2005 became an official member of the group.

In 2007, Hook decided to leave the group, and stated that he and Sumner had no further plans to work together. Sumner formed Bad Lieutenant with Cunningham, and Hook formed Freebass. Morris continued to work with Sumner and Cunningham. In 2008, New Order released remastered and expanded editions of their first five albums with the intention of releasing the further three albums in a similar format in future. Sumner revealed in 2009 that he no longer wishes to make music as New Order.