Tunes Du Jour Presents Joy Division and New Order

Joy Division and New Order are two of the most influential bands in the history of rock music. They emerged from the punk scene of the late 1970s and evolved into different styles and genres, leaving behind a legacy of timeless songs and albums.

Joy Division was formed in 1976 by four young men from Manchester, England: Ian Curtis (vocals), Bernard Sumner (guitar), Peter Hook (bass), and Stephen Morris (drums). They were inspired by the energy and attitude of the Sex Pistols, but they soon developed their own distinctive sound and vision. Their music was dark, atmospheric, and haunting, reflecting the bleakness and alienation of their industrial surroundings. Their lyrics were poetic, complex, and literary, dealing with themes such as love, death, isolation, and mental illness. Curtis, who suffered from epilepsy and depression, delivered his vocals with a deep, expressive, and sometimes erratic voice.

Joy Division released two albums in their short career: Unknown Pleasures (1979) and Closer (1980). Both are considered masterpieces of post-punk, a genre that emerged after the initial wave of punk and experimented with new sounds and influences. Joy Division’s songs, such as “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” “Atmosphere,” “Transmission,” and “She’s Lost Control,” are among the most iconic and influential of the era. They also created a distinctive visual identity, with minimalist and abstract album covers designed by Peter Saville.

Joy Division’s career was tragically cut short by the suicide of Curtis on May 18, 1980, the eve of their first American tour. His death shocked and saddened the music world, and also mythologized the band as a symbol of intensity and authenticity. Joy Division’s music has inspired countless artists across genres and generations, from U2 and Radiohead to Nine Inch Nails and The Killers.

After the death of Curtis, the remaining members of Joy Division decided to continue making music under a new name: New Order. They were joined by Gillian Gilbert, a keyboardist and guitarist who added a new dimension to their sound. New Order’s music was a radical departure from Joy Division’s. They embraced synthesizers, drum machines, and dance music influences, creating a fusion of rock and electronic music that was groundbreaking and influential. Their music was also more upbeat, colorful, and optimistic, reflecting their personal and artistic growth.

New Order released several albums throughout the 1980s and 1990s, each one exploring new musical directions and possibilities. Their most famous and successful song is “Blue Monday,” a 1983 single that is the best-selling 12-inch record of all time. The song is a synth-pop masterpiece, with a catchy melody and a pulsating rhythm. Other notable songs by New Order include “True Faith,” “Regret,” “World In Motion,” and “Bizarre Love Triangle.” New Order’s music has influenced many artists in the fields of synth-pop, techno, house, and alternative rock, such as Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, The Chemical Brothers, and LCD Soundsystem.

Besides their musical achievements, Joy Division and New Order have also been involved in various philanthropic efforts. One of their most notable contributions was their participation in the Artists Against Apartheid project, a campaign that aimed to raise awareness and funds for the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. In 1986, New Order recorded a song called “State of the Nation,” which denounced the racist regime and expressed solidarity with the oppressed people. The song was released as part of an album called Conspiracy of Hope, which also featured songs by U2, Sting, Peter Gabriel, and others. The album was a benefit for Amnesty International, a human rights organization that works to end injustice and abuse around the world.

Joy Division and New Order also supported the Hacienda, a legendary nightclub in Manchester that was owned by their record label, Factory Records. The Hacienda was a cultural hub that hosted many famous bands and DJs, such as The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Madonna, and Happy Mondays. It was also a place where people of different backgrounds, races, and sexual orientations could mingle and enjoy music and dancing. The Hacienda was a pioneer of the rave culture, which promoted peace, love, and unity through electronic music. However, the club also faced financial and legal troubles, and eventually closed in 1997. Joy Division and New Order donated much of their royalties and profits to keep the club running, and also performed there several times.

Joy Division and New Order are two bands that have made a lasting impact on music and culture. If you want to listen to some of their best songs, check out this playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 8-27-23

The Captain & Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together” was a huge hit in 1975, but not everyone agreed with its message. Ian Curtis, the leader of Joy Division and a newlywed in 1975, was one of them. His composition “Love Will Tear Us Apart” could be seen as a response to the cheerful song, expressing his disillusionment with love and life. He took his own life in 1980, a month before his song was released as a single, on its way to becoming a classic.

Daryl Dragon, better known as The Captain, a nickname given to him by The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, was born on this date in 1942. A few of his duo’s hits are included on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 7-28-23

Devo’s “Whip It” was inspired by a magazine article about how to be a better wife. The song’s cowriter and bassist for the band, Gerald Casale, said he’d found that story in a 1962 issue of The Family Handyman and thought it was funny. He decided to write a song that parodied the idea of whipping your problems away. Casale also drew from communist propaganda posters and a 1973 novel by Thomas Pynchon called Gravity’s Rainbow, which mocks capitalist slogans with satirical limericks.He wrote lyrics that taken out of context sound like motivational clichés: When a good time turns around, you must whip it. Give the past a slip. Whip it into shape. Get straight. Go forward. Move ahead. And my personal favorite: Before the cream sits out too long, you must whip it.

Jerry Casale turns 75 today. A couple of Devo tracks, including their biggest hit, “Whip It,” are included on today’s playlist.

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Throwback Thursday: 1980

Nineteen eighty wasn’t a game changing year on the US pop chart. It wasn’t 1964. It wasn’t 1991. For the most part it was music business as usual. The death of disco was greatly exaggerated. Just ask any member of Lipps, Inc., should you have any idea what any member of Lipps, Inc. looks like. Seventies hit makers stayed on the charts. Paul McCartney. Diana Ross. Stevie Wonder. Barbra Streisand. The Captain & Tennille did it to us one more time, it meaning having a hit single. A few outsiders snuck into the top 40 with sounds unlike the rest – Devo hit with “Whip It,” Gary Numan with “Cars,” and The Vapors with “Turning Japanese.” In the coming years more such weirdos would make their presence known.

While many of 1980’s hits were great singles, many classics were born outside of the mainstream. Releases such as Bob Marley & the Wailers’ “Redemption Song,” Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” Peter Gabriel’s “Biko,” Prince’s “When You Were Mine,” David Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes,” and Funky 4 + 1’s “That’s the Joint” are often referred to as classics these days. In 1980, not a single one of them troubled the US Hot 100. Change was on its way. In 1980, rap wasn’t a fixture on the top 40, though its influence was heard in Queen’s #1 smash “Another One Bites the Dust.” The next few years saw #1 hits from Peter Gabriel, Prince, David Bowie and a rap song, plus a top ten reggae song.

Today’s Throwback Thursday playlist shines a spotlight on 1980.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (7-16-20)

Inspired by the July 16 birthdays of The Police’s Stewart Copeland, BROCKHAMPTON’s Kevin Abstract, William Bell, Desmond Dekker, The Searchers’ Tony Jackson, and Live’s Ed Kowalczyk; the July 15 birthdays of Linda Ronstadt, Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, The Buggles/The Art of Noise’s Trevor Horn, Years & Years’ Olly Alexander, Gregory Isaacs, The Heartbreakers’ Johnny Thunders, Alicia Bridges, and Pamela Myers; and the July 14 birthdays of Belly/Throwing Muses’ Tanya Donelly, Woody Guthrie, Jamey Johnson, and Cliff & Claude Trenier.

Peter!

Today is the birthday of Peter Gabriel. It’s also the birthday of Peter Tork of The Monkees. And Peter Hook of New Order/Joy Division fame. Those three inspired today’s playlist of guys named Peter. Only on Tunes du Jour, folks. And before anyone drags me on social media for not including any women, I couldn’t think of any female Peters. #SorryBernadettePeters


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