Sumner, Hook and Morris all sang lead on different tracks during these shows. After some deliberation, Gretton eventually decided Sumner should be their new frontman, even though – at this stage – he was unable to sing and play guitar simultaneously.
“We got through the tour, and Rob announced that I should be the singer,” Sumner recalled. “I’ve no idea why, we must have all been as hopeless as each other, but he told me I’d got the job and, with some trepidation, I agreed to do it. I wasn’t wild abut about the idea, but I was up for the challenge.”
The recording: “Ceremony was a very uplifting track, enhanced by Ian’s lyrics”
Fortunately, the band were more confident that they had two great songs in waiting. To record them, they reconvened with producer Martin Hannett, who was also producing A Certain Ratio’s debut Factory Records album, To Each, at EARS. The band recall that the sessions were a little quirky, though in general everything ran smoothly enough.
“The engineer Bruce had us booked in as Joy Division. He’d never heard of New Order. Nobody had,” Morris recalled in his book Record Play Pause: Confessions Of A Post-Punk Percussionist.
“He’d been in Vietnam (so he said) and drank coke with milk,” the drummer continued. “The studio had that 70s varnished wooden look (shades of beige and brown), complete with impressively large monitors either side of the triple-glazed window that let the producer and engineer view the musicians toiling at their art. Like Strawberry [in Stockport, where Joy Division had recorded their debut album, Unknown Pleasures], EARS had the same chilly air-conditioning, the same fake leather sofa at the back and the same coffee machine that nobody ever bothered with.”
Despite having to adjust to life without Curtis, the band successfully completed their first recordings as New Order. Ceremony, in particular, gave them a shot in the arm, as it felt like their most positive-sounding track to date.
Noting that the song they’d pegged for Ceremony’s B-side, In A Lonely Place, was “probably one of the most doom-laden tracks we’d ever written – and we’d written a few”, Sumner observed, “Ceremony, on the other hand, was a very uplifting track, filled with and enhanced by Ian’s lyrics.”