THE NEW ORDER SINGLES (Part 9)

Only a band as perverse as New Order would choose to release a new single and new alum on the same day – but that’s exactly what happened in May 1985 with The Perfect Kiss and Low-Life.

Having enjoyed chart success with each of Temptation, Blue Monday, Confusion and Thieves Like Us, there was perhaps a sense of supreme confidence that fans would buy both releases. It turned out to be a bit misplaced, perhaps as it was the first time the band had ever included a 45 on an LP, a move that got a bit of press criticism at the time.

The Perfect Kiss is one of their most defining and timeless moments and it certainly should have done a lot better than stick at #46 in the singles chart. It is part of a truly outstanding album, one which went to #7.

I’m going to be lazy today and lift from the Discogs site:-

New Order’s 9th single. Released 13 May 1985 as 7″ promo and 12″. It is the first New Order single to be included on a studio album at the same time. The song has some famous musical elements, e.g. frogs croaking and, at the end of the track, some bleating of (synthesized) sheeps.

Lasting nearly 9 minutes, the 12″ single version only appears on the vinyl and cassette editions of Substance, while the CD omit 44 seconds of the climatic finale. The full version was eventually released unedited on the 2-disc deluxe edition of Low-Life, marking its first appearance on CD.

The versions on the album Low-Life and all post-Substance compilations are 4:48 edit, omitting the third verse (the one that mentions the song’s title) and fading out before the climax. Most 7″s have on their A-side another version,  further edited down without the percussion introduction.

Jonathan Demme directed “The Perfect Kiss” video, set in the band’s rehearsal room. It shows the band playing the song live from beginning to end. The video got cat# Fac 321.

And so, to try and wrap up all of the above :-

mp3 : New Order – The Perfect Kiss (12″ version)

The two b-sides:-

mp3 : New Order – Kiss Of Death
mp3 : New Order – The Perfect Pit

mp3 : New Order – The Perfect Kiss (album version)
mp3 : New Order – The Perfect Kiss (7″ version)

JC

THE NEW ORDER SINGLES (Parts 7 & 8)

I’m rolling up the next two releases into one post, primarily as the sleeves are connected, but also as the second of the 45s was only available on import from Factory Benelux and is really a companion piece to the first.

It was a bit of a shock to hear each of Thieves Like Us and Lonesome Tonight when they were released in April 1984, a full eight months after Confusion. A shock, but a very pleasant surprise as they were something of a throwback to earlier New Order with much less reliance on the New York club sound that Arthur Baker had brought to them.

It was a 12″ that divided the four New Order fans in the student flat I was living in at the time. Two of us loved it while the other two (no pun intended) felt it was a retrospective move and that the band should be aiming exclusively for the club scene rather than making great synth-pop in what they felt was an increasingly crowded market in which quantity was rapidly overpowering quality.

There were enough of us who loved the single enough to take it to #18 in the UK charts, another outstanding performance for a piece of vinyl that was only released in 12″ format:-

mp3 : New Order – Thieves Like Us
mp3 : New Order – Lonesome Tonight

The A-side is Hooky’s favourite New Order song, which I was surprised to learn as I’d have thought he would have veered towards the rather marvelous b-side which is driven along by one of his best bass lines, almost as if he’s challenging his band mates to play something that is as classy and as cool as the notes he’s hitting.

Couple of things I learned from Hooky’s book about this release. They had started on Thieves Like Us many months earlier in NYC but as it had taken so long to finish Confusion, they never got far with it, but there was enough of what had been put down in NYC in the later version that Arthur Baker gets a writing credit.

There’s a strange noise at the tail end of Lonesome Tonight which is actually Hooky hawking up phlegm into a handkerchief : “Barney….suggested we put it on at the end because the contrast between something so beautiful and something so awful might be interesting. He was absolutely right.”

A few weeks later, Murder began to filter into some shops; it was recognisable as a New Order release from the sleeve as was almost a negative version of that which had housed Thieves Like Us. I paid a lot of money for it, took it home, played it and felt really let down. It sounded like an Adam and the Ants outtake with a bit of Barney’s specialised one-finger guitar solo thrown in. It’s a bit of music that I’ve never really taken to, although many years later I did come to realise that it was an important part of the sounds they were developing and would subsequently lay down on the Low-Life LP. But even now, I still feel it was akin to shoving a demo out to make some money:-

mp3 : New Order – Murder

The two sleeves, as ever in those days, were by Peter Saville. They were based on what I would later learn was Metaphysical art, a unique style of painting developed by the Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico in the 1910s and 20s. The numbers around the side are totally random, which looking back was Saville having a bit of fun given that his sleeves for the various releases in 1983 could be worked out from codes and colours. We were all sure there was something in those numbers and spent a few drunken nights trying to work it all out….time was less precious in those days!

It’s b-side was a version of a familiar number:-

mp3 : New Order – Thieves Like Us (instrumental version)

A little while later, an edited version of this was made available on the 7″ reverse of Shellshock:-

mp3 : New Order – Thieves Like Us (instrumental edit)

Finally, a TOTP appearance for the single in which they played live and Hooky’s bass caused pandemonium in the households up and down the country:-

The single dropped down the charts the following week!

JC

THE NEW ORDER SINGLES (Part 6)

The collaboration that took everyone by surprise. New Order chose to follow up Blue Monday by heading over to New York and collaborating with DJ/mixer/producer Arthur Baker. The result was a 12″ single (Factory 93) containing four versions of the tune:-

mp3 : New Order – Confusion (8:13)
mp3 : New Order – Confused Beats (6:30)
mp3 : New Order – Confusion Instrumental (7:33)
mp3 : New Order – Confusion (Rough Mix) (8:04)

It reached #12 in the UK singles chart which was quite extraordinary given that the band were still very much a cult and the single had little daytime radio exposure. One of my abiding memories of it was that the promo was on what was then a new thing in the bar of the students union – a videobox as opposed to a jukebox. It was much more expensive and so some of us would club together to ensure, much to the annoyance of the beer-swilling rockers who studied engineering, that Confusion was on heavy rotation.

It’s perfectly of its time, and remains a huge influence on club/dance music almost 35 years on.

The song was completely revamped for inclusion on the Substance compilation :-

mp3 : New Order – Confusion 87 (4:43)

And then, in 1995, there was acid techno remix by Pump Panel, which was later used in 1998 as part of the soundtrack for the film Blade:-

mp3 : New Order – Confusion (Pump Panel Reconstruction Mix) (10:11)

JC

THE NEW ORDER SINGLES (Part 5)

I’ll let Discogs state the facts:-

Blue Monday :  New Order’s 5th single. A milestone, both by musical standards and by design standards. Sold over 1 million copies globally. But because at the time of release, Factory weren’t part of the BPI, there are no reliable figures nor certifications or awards.

Initial editions were released in March 1983 with die-cut cover and cut outs and a thick silver inner sleeve, designed by Peter Saville.

Cover variations: Die-cut with cut-outs, die-cut without cut-outs, plain printed.
Inner sleeve variations: Thick glossy silver, thin matte silver, thick glossy black or thin matte black.
All bear the colour code, spelling “FAC 73 Blue Monday And The Beach New Order”.

There is a common misconception that Factory lost money on the release due to the design. The sleeve did cost so much that it actually denied Factory an extra profit of just under 1 UK Pence on each copy sold. But demand and production cost and timings meant that the sleeve became progressively more simple with each repressing.

Peaked at #9 in the UK Single charts and at #1 in the UK Indie Charts.

Blue Monday 1988: New Order’s 16th single, released in March 1988. Produced by Quincy Jones with the actual remix done by John Potoker. After New Order signed to Qwest in the US, Quincy Jones saw an opportunity for their groundbreaking track to have a legitimate single release and a shot at radio airplay. In the UK it was released as 7″, 12″, CD-Single and as CD-V, featuring an alternate 7″ mix.

Also reissued in 1995 with new remixes.

 

But quite frankly, nothing beats the original.  I reckon I’ve probably, over the years, danced to this track more than any other.

mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday
mp3 : New Order – The Beach

mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 1988 (single mix)
mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 1988 (12″ mix)

mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 95 (Hardfloor mix)
mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 95 (Manuella mix)
mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 95 (Andrea mix)
mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 95 (Plutone mix)
mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 95 (Brain mix)
mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 95 (Starwash mix)
mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 95 (Hardfloor Dub)

Re these mixes of Blue Monday 95 – some were for the UK market and others for Europe and also Australia.  I’m guessing it’s all to do with whatever styles of clubs were most in fashion in whic part of the world.  There’s elements of trance, dub, techno, ambient, acid and house all to be found. A word of warning – they do get a tad wearisome rather quickly….but there will be folk out there who enjoy some and maybe even all of them.

Oh and for completeness sake:-

mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday  (So Hot Mix by 808 State)

This was done in 1988 to appeal to the Acid House market.

Took me ages to pull this post together…..I had no idea so many mixes had been commercially released.

JC

THE NEW ORDER SINGLES (Part 4)

I’ve previously written extensively about this, my all-time favourite single, and so I won’t waste on your precious time this Sunday morning. Oh, and just to make it 100% clear….it’s the 12″ original version from 1983 that tops my all-time personal chart.

Few things to mention.

Firstly, it hadn’t occurred to me until Hooky mentioned it in his book that this was the first New Order effort without the involvement of Martin Hannett.

Secondly, the re-recording of the song for inclusion in the CD compilation Substance in 1987, is not one fondly remembered by the band. The idea was to try and make it sound more the way it did in the live setting but it ended up stripping out far too many of the lot of the subtle nuances in the 7″ and 12″ originals. It’s not one I’m keen on albeit it is the best known version thanks to its inclusion on the Trainspotting soundtrack.

Thirdly, another new version was recorded by the band in 1998.  It’s fairly similar to the earlier 1987 version, but given they didn’t like it to begin with this was perhaps an effort to rectify things. It certainly is a vast improvement but at a touch over 4 minutes is a bit short for my liking.  Was made available via the Retro box set.

Finally, a reminder that the 7″ plays at 33-and-a-third rpm and the 12″ rotates properly at 45rpm. Not knowing that caused chaos the first time I played it.

mp3 : New Order – Temptation (7″)
mp3 : New Order – Hurt (7″)

mp3 : New Order – Temptation (12″)
mp3 : New Order – Hurt (12″)

mp3 : New Order – Temptation 87

mp3 : New Order – Temptation 98

JC

THE NEW ORDER SINGLES (Parts 2 & 3)

Today’s first half is lifted from a posting back in May 2016:-

New Order had released a belter of a debut single in Ceremony. The follow-up hit the shops in September 1981:-

mp3 : New Order – Procession

It was quite similar to a number of the tracks on the debut LP Movement and it wasn’t a huge shift away from the Joy Division sound albeit it did highlight that with Bernard Sumner was a completely different sort of vocalist from Ian Curtis.

I bought the only copy of this single that my local record shop had and it came in a cardboard sleeve with a strange green design which I thought alluded to the title of the b-side. I soon discovered that it had been released in nine different coloured sleeves (as illustrated above) and while I wanted to own every single one of them, there was no way an 18-year-old student, who that month had just started university, was going to waste valuable vodka money on something as unworthy as a 7″ bit of plastic.

The b-side was a precursor to what New Order would become within a few months – a band of their own right delivering electronic dance-music.

mp3 : New Order – Everything’s Gone Green

This is ripped right from vinyl folks and is a bit shorter than the versions generally available on compilation LPs, so please forgive the fact that there’s also a wee skip and a jump about 3mins in…..

Second Half

In December 1981, Factory Benelux would release a 12″ version of Everything’s Gone Green, backed by two completely new tracks.  This merely added to the mystique of the original release with some considering it was a double-A single.  The import was ridiculously expensive compared to other 12″ singles of the day, but I still went for it. It was later re=released in 1985 and again in 1986, but I have the original with the solid gray/white label, blue type, and cat number of FBNL 8.

I’ve included all these images as the labeling caused confusion for years. The track names of the B-sides are correctly identified on the label, but, if you look at the sleeve, they are the wrong way round. This would lead to their being misidentified on subsequent releases; for example, the track identified as “Mesh” on the CD version of the Substance CD compilation is in fact “Cries and Whispers”.

mp3 : New Order – Everything’s Gone Green (12″ version)
mp3 : New Order – Cries and Whispers
mp3 : New Order – Mesh

Two hugely enjoyable and much underrated b-sides no matter what name they were given! And better than some of the cuts that were included on Movement.

JC

IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (10)

This is why events unnerve me
They find it all a different story

The plethora of books and documentaries, along with one outstanding biopic, means that we are very familiar with the events leading up the suicide of Ian Curtis and how his fellow band mates came to the view that things had to be kept going. But back in 1980/81, those of us who were fans of Joy Division had little or no idea what was going on, relying totally on any snippets of news that we could pick up in the pages of one of more of the weekly music papers.

Until the suicide, Joy Division were very much seen a cult band. Unknown Pleasures had sold around 20,000 copies which was still more than decent for a band on a small and relatively obscure Manchester-based record label. The adulation heaped upon the singer after his death was a big factor in raising the profile of the band and the subsequent rise in popularity. This created a bit of a problem in that New Order, as they had now been renamed, were understandably reluctant to do much in the way of press or media as the dominant topic wouldn’t be ‘What are you doing next?’ but the inevitable inquisition into why the their former frontman had killed himself – and remember…his epilepsy, his messy personal life and his battle with depression wasn’t something that had previously been mentioned or written about – we know so much more now all these years later than we did at the time.

It was against this background that Ceremony was slipped out, almost unnoticed and with very little fanfare, as the debut single in January 1981. I had it on order (boom-boom!) at the local record shop and picked it up a couple of days after its release. I still hadn’t heard it by this point and was secretly pleased when the long-haired rocker behind the counter said it was unlistenable and depressing and wasn’t prepared to play it in the shop for me. It meant I would get to hear it at home, albeit on a record player that was as basic as there was although I had hopes of getting to play it on the ‘big stereo’ if my folks weren’t in. The amazingly effective and affecting bronze-coloured sleeve that looked like some sort of memorial plaque, almost as if it was paying respect to the old band, only added to my excitement as I raced down the road as quickly as I could without running – that would have been uncool and pathetic.

The label on the record gave a writing credit to Ian Curtis as well as the three members of New Order, so it was clearly a song Joy Division had been working on at some stage; in later years we would learn that it was one of the last songs they had demoed just days before the suicide.

The needle hit the groove and I listened in awe to music that was comfortingly familiar albeit it was lacking the vocal was lacking power and authority.

mp3 : New Order – Ceremony

The b-side was, if anything, even more reminiscent of the old band. I was mesmerised.

The single climbed into the charts in the high 30s and so the local record shop got in some more copies, including the 12” in a green sleeve. I bought that too and was marginally disappointed that only the b-side was slightly longer in length.

mp3 : New Order – In A Lonely Place (7″ version)
mp3 : New Order – In A Lonely Place (12″ version)

It was a brilliant debut single. If New Order had wanted to call it quits there and then, I’d have been okay with it. I wasn’t alone in thinking back then that Ian Curtis was the principal songwriter, lyrically and musically, and so if there weren’t many more tunes that he’d been involved with before the suicide, the new band might struggle to match the heights of their first release. Subsequent events proved otherwise…..

Ceremony is not, by a long chalk, the best single ever released by New Order. I reserve that honour for Temptation. But it’s a hugely important and significant 45 for all sorts of reasons…as indeed were the next few singles that the band would release. Which is why, now that I’ve reached the end of the look back at XTC,the Sunday singles focus will now be on Gilbert/Hook/Morris/Sumner.

JC

PS : Part of what I’m intending to do in the series is offer up some of the alternative/re-recorded versions of singles and so, for the sake of completeness, here’s the second and, IMHO, inferior version of the debut, issued in 12″ form in September 1981, and which, unlike the original, features a contribution from Gillian Gilbert:-

mp3 : New Order – Ceremony (re-recorded version)