‘What the Fuck?????’
I think it’s fair to say that this was my reaction when first hearing True Faith. It was via a TV set when the accompanying video was shown.
The summer of 1987 was a time when I was otherwise occupied and not paying too much attention to music. I wasn’t buying all the much and indeed if hadn’t been for a subsequent friendship with Jacques the Kipper whose C90 cassettes filled in so many gaps, then it’s fair to say I would have little or no knowledge of about two years worth of indie music.
New Order‘s latest single was a huge hit, thanks in part to the astonishing and innovative video, but let’s face it, True Faith was, and remains, an outstanding piece of pop music. It may have been a long way removed from Blue Monday, Temptation and Ceremony, but it is a wonderfully timeless and catchy piece of music.
It was written, along with 1963, its b-side, in the studio for the sole purpose of being new songs that could be included on Substance, a compilation album that brought together various singles and b-sides that have already featured in this series.
Substance was intended to be issued simultaneously in the US and UK, and it was the band’s American manager, Tom Attenacio, who pushed hard for a breakthrough pop hit to be written and included, and so pushed the band in the direction of Stephen Hague. The story behind the sessions that produced True Faith and 1963 is one of the most fascinating parts of Hooky’s book on New Order – the producer had very firm and fixed ideas about how it should be put together and he didn’t think there was much room for the usually distinctive bass sounds and indeed they were only added at the 11th hour after Attenacio, thankfully, intervened on the basis that you couldn’t have a New Order song on which only three of the band made a contribution as the bass is one of the things that drives it along beautifully.
The b-side was another lovely bit of synth-pop, something that could have (and subsequently would) work as a stand-alone 45:-
mp3 : New Order – 1963 (12″)
The single was released in two formats, with a radical remix by Shep Pettibone, aimed squarely at the dance market, also made available on 12″ vinyl in a different sleeve:-
The remix single also included the version of 1963 that was housed within the ‘blue’ sleeve, and all told it reached #4 in the UK singles chart and #32 on the US Billboard charts. Job done in terms of Substance.
Some seven years later, and the post-Factory release of The Best of New Order on London Records saw a little bit of history repeating with True Faith being used, in a re-recorded style, to promote the release:-
Make of them what you will…..it still pisses me off how cynical London Records were proving to be, but I’ll return to that it in a few weeks time when, among other things, I’ll feature the time when 1963 was issued as a stand-alone 45. Worth mentioning that such was the popularity of New Order in the mid-90s that the re-mixed True Faith went all the way to #9 in the UK singles charts.