They have an illustrious past as Joy Division, but New Order changed the future of music a second time with their unique blend of electronica and guitar-based rock. However, while their reputation certainly precedes them, the influential Manchester outfit have never been willing self-publicists. Here are ten New Order facts that will help fill out the picture…
Listen to the best of New Order here, and check out our ten surprising New Order facts, below.
1: They were billed as The No Names when they played their first gig
Keen to ensure the band got back onstage in the wake of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis’ death, manager Rob Gretton drafted them in to perform at Manchester’s Beach Club on 30 July 1980, when Factory Records’ Belgian act, The Names, were unable to play. Amusingly, Gretton billed Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris as The No Names. In today’s social-media-saturated world, there’s no way the subterfuge could have remained under wraps, but back then the trio’s first live show genuinely surprised their audience.
“Come the night, and the audience didn’t know, the other bands didn’t know, the promoter didn’t know,” Peter Hook wrote in Substance: Inside New Order. “Nobody knew it was ex-Joy Division. The surprise on peoples’ faces as we set up and played was priceless.”
2: Instead of New Order, they nearly became The Witch Doctors Of Zimbabwe
Following Ian Curtis’ death, the band knew they couldn’t be Joy Division anymore, but choosing a new name proved difficult. With the help of Rob Gretton, they eventually narrowed it down to either The Witch Doctors Of Zimbabwe or The New Order Of Kampuchean Rebels (taken from a headline in The Guardian), which was then whittled down to New Order.
“For a while there was a tense stand-off,” Peter Hook recalled. “Rob and Steve said New Order was a shit name, but me and Barney threatened to leave the band if it was called The Witch Doctors Of Zimbabwe. We got our way!”
3: Producer Martin Hannett is synonymous with Joy Division, but New Order were mostly self-produced during the 80s
New Order famously fell out with Martin Hannett over the production of their debut album, Movement, and – after the producer stormed out of the studio during the mixing of the band’s second single, Everything’s Gone Green/Procession – he didn’t return. With help from engineer Mike Johnson, the band then mostly produced