This Day in ’81: New Order begins recording their first album

Friday, April 24, 2020
This Day in Music

39 years ago today, New Order began recording their debut album, an LP which would go on to be viewed as one of the best album of the ‘80s. At the time of its release, however, it found the band between a rock and a hard place, trying to move forward while not dismissing the past, which proved to be a very difficult dance indeed.

In the wake of Ian Curtis’s suicide in May 1980, the members of Joy Division had a decision to make: should they carry on without Curtis and continue using the same name or move forward as an all-new musical entity? In the end, they chose the latter path, renaming themselves New Order and continuing onward, but it was a strange time for Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris, to be sure, with many questions to be answered, first and foremost among them, “Who’s going to be singing lead now?” All three gentlemen took their shot at the microphone, but it was Sumner who was ultimately chosen to step up and take over for Curtis.

Produced by Martin Hannett, MOVEMENT was, for the most part, written over the course of a seven-month period, but critics greeted the record with the observation that the band hadn’t done a great deal of evolution since delivering the single “Ceremony,” which had come into existence while Curtis was still among the living. With the benefit of hindsight, however, the album has since received considerable critical reevaluation, taking into consideration what New Order was dealing with at the time and viewing the contents of the album as the highly successful transitional album that it was.


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