New Order ‘Temptation’ Live 1981

As a companion to today’s earlier post marking the 30th anniversary of the death of Ian Curtis, here’s a track that shows New Order beginning to emerge from the shadow, and the direction they were heading in. Temptation, arguably their greatest song, in an stunning early live version with different lyrics played at the Ukrainian National Home in New York on the 19th of November 1981. You can get the whole gig on DVD (Taras Shevchenko), featuring the exact moment when rock met dance and dance won (Everything’s Gone Green). The above photo is from the gig. The DVD comes with their 1998 Reading Festival appearence and the two gigs couldn’t be more different- in New York they seem to be playing for themselves, barely acknowledging the audience or each other, grappling with technology and sound, and the aftermath of Joy Division. 1998 is a virtual greatest hits set, on a sunny day in front of a massive festival audience, the band clearly having a great time. Bernard screams ‘Rock the fuckin’ house’ in the middle of one song. Both performances are great, but very different. – online file sharing and storage – download 09 – Temptation.mp3

John Squire ‘Penguin Books Decades’ Covers

These are nice, and came out last month. I found them through the very good Heavenly Recordings website. Penguin Books commissioned various artists to redesign the covers of five books from each decade from the 1950s through to the 1980s. Former Stone Rose John Squire got the 1980s, and here are three of the results. Zandra Rhodes got the 1970s, Peter Blake the 50s and Allen Jones the 60s. Interesting and well worth hunting copies down I’d say. No Pollacking or tins of Dulux evident though.

Joy Division ‘Digital’

Today, the 18th of May, is the 30th anniversary of the death of Ian Curtis. I’m sure I won’t be the only blogger to mark this occasion. Ian Curtis hung himself the day before my 10th birthday, not that I knew that at the time, but ever since I became aware of them (several of their songs on a mixtape back in the mid 1980s, thanks D.J.) I’ve always remembered the date. Joy Division have become one of the most talked about, written about, filmed and interviewed bands in recent years. The late, great Anthony H. Wilson called them ‘the last true story in rock ‘n’ roll’, which is a good line, but I’m not going to debate whether it’s true or not. They are what they were- the young men, the weight on the shoulders. Which is a good, doomy line, but Bernard, Steven and Hooky all dispute it, saying that though the music was serious being in the band was a good laugh, and conversely in New Order it was the other way round.

This song, Digital, was recorded in the band’s first session with the equally late and great Martin Hannett and was their first release, on the A Factory Sample e.p. It was also, in one of those slightly spooky coincidences, the last song they ever performed at a gig at Birmingham University on May the 2nd 1980. 16 days later Ian died. New Order would carry on, taking the title of this song and running with it. – music and mp3 sharing – download 01 Digital.wma