The lyrics: “He found himself prisoner in the top-floor flat”
Despite the pressure, both songs’ musical backdrops soon coalesced. However, while New Order had decided on a title for the more promising of the two (True Faith, copped from James A Michener’s novel Texas, which Peter Hook was then reading), they still had no lyrics. In the end, Sumner produced the goods after literally getting locked into the band’s flat until the job was done.
As a frontman, Sumner “was inclined to leave the singing and lyrics until the last possible moment”, Stephen Morris wrote in Fast Forward. “This time, as soon as he’d come up with a vocal melody, he found himself prisoner in the top-floor flat we’d rented near Paddington, forced to write words. We only had one key and didn’t trust him with it…
“Saying ‘Write or die!’ is not generally conducive to creativity, [but] it can sometimes work,” the drummer furthered. Returning to find the flat empty of food and drink, and their singer still struggling to finish the task, Morris, Hook, keyboardist Gillian Gilbert and manager Rob Gretton stayed up until dawn with Sumner, helping him to complete the lyrics.
From then on, the lush, cinematic True Faith really fell into place. Sumner briskly recorded his vocals in the control room at Advision, while Stephen Hague has freely admitted his admiration for both Peter Hook’s skills as a bassist and Gillian Gilbert’s synth work.
“Hooky would try a lot of ideas, really fearless, and often it was just me and him in the studio,” the producer told Sound On Sound. “The first time, it was a bit scary because I didn’t know what to expect, but he always delivered, and he’d often send the track into areas I never would have thought of.
“Gillian didn’t run ideas by me as we went along,” Hague added. “When it was finally her turn, she had all these fully formed ideas for both tracks. We just got sounds and she recorded them, all hand-played. It was so painless… She’s a real joy to work with.”