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Thursday, 3 January 2013


New Order, who I had so much difficulty making a Top Ten of last month, made several memorable appearances on Top Of The Pops. These used to be passed around on VHS cassettes, rapidly wearing out. Now, thanks to the wonders of Youtube they are preserved for eternity. Or until someone shuts off the internet permanently.

In 1983 they attempted to play their breakthrough moment Blue Monday live, a record that had taken them months to make in the studio using computers. Bernard struggling a little, Hooky playing metallic lead bass, the Emulator doing a load of the work.

A year later they were back doing the wonderful Thieves Like Us, again live.

True Faith in 1987, went top 3. A proper pop hit with Stephen Hague's production and an eye-catching video. New Order never really looked like four members of the same band did they?

At this time ITV were trying to launch a rival weekly pop show, The Roxy. NO performed True Faith on it, Bernard wearing a Don't Do Drugs T-shirt while singing a song about doing drugs. Note- this is Mancunian irony.

In 1989 New Order went to Ibiza to make an lp and came back with 'some drum tracks and a guitar solo'. And a large bill. Technique, their last solid gold album, was trailed by a fine single called Fine Time , which sounded not much like New Order at all. On TOTP Bernard baffles 99% of the nation with his Bez dancing. Priceless.

From Technique, again in '89, NO return to the TOTP studio with the majestic Round And Round. Well Balearic.

Then they split for a while, fed up with each other, and went off to do other stuff. In 1993 they put out what I think we agreed was their last ten-out-of-ten song, Regret. To promote this they appeared on TOTP live from the Baywatch set in sunny California. Back home- cue jaws dropping, some sniggering, some people a bit bemused and some wondering why NO did this utterly uncool thing, surrounded by girls in bikinis playing volleyball. Seemed like a good idea at the time I guess. May also involve Mancunian irony.


Jonny G said...

Loved seeing all that black tape over the names of the keyboards, being on the BBC and all that. It suddenly seemed to happen after 1984.

Echorich said...

Theives Like Us is just sublime!

Swiss Adam said...

Hooky nearly spoils it on TLU

Echorich said...

It's funny I always find myself coming to Hooky's defense. I like the open string bass groove on the TOTP version...Not the best on air mixing in the BBC control room I think though.
It's pretty stark the contrast between NO on TOTP for Blue Monday and then TLU...They look like fish out of water, students playing at the Uni Music Night and not realizing it was being televised. By TLU, Barney and Hooky are playing in yer face rock gods and The Other Two are channeling Kraftwerk (or at least early Human League).

Swiss Adam said...

The performance (both musical and stagewise) of TLU is great. How young Bernard looks. Bet he still can't get into that leather jacket. Think Hooky just gets a bit carried away and as you said the mix isn't the best. But this is what makes live music on TV what it is.