New Order were born out of tragedy, but went on to become one of the most influential acts of the modern era after their mix of indie and electronic music spawned the hits Blue Monday and True Faith. Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris played together in Manchester post-punk band Joy Division, but just as they appeared to be on the brink of major success, singer Ian Curtis killed himself in May 1980. The three surviving members decided to carry on under the new name, with Sumner taking over vocal duties and keyboard player Gillian Gilbert joining the line-up.
The revamped band released their debut single Ceremony in March 1981 and their first album, Movement, in November of the same year. Although it failed to impress the critics at the time, it is now widely regarded as a classic. They began to develop their trademark synth-heavy sound on 1983′s Power, Corruption & Lies, before changing the face of modern music with the dance-influenced singles Blue Monday and Confusion. There was no let up in quality from the band during the eighties, with the albums Low-Life, Brotherhood and Technique all acknowledged as being among the finest records of the era. Technique, released in 1989, was perhaps the most groundbreaking work, as it married Chicago house to indie to provide a blueprint for the next generation of alternative acts.
Despite the success of Technique, which topped the UK album charts, the group descended into chaos in the early nineties. Keeping their infamous Manchester nightclub, the Hacienda, afloat swallowed up most of the money they earned, while Hook struggled to cope with his party lifestyle and his relationship with Sumner became strained. All the band members started side projects – Hook formed Revenge, Morris and Gilbert released records as The Other Two, and Sumner linked up with ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr in Electronic – but they did manage to work together long enough to record their sixth album, Republic, in 1993. It sold well, but the band were not happy with it and decided to take a break, which ended up lasting five years. They re-emerged with a series of gigs in 1998 and went on to record the albums Get Ready and Waiting For The Sirens’ Call, before finally splitting in 2007 after Hook decided he could no longer work with Sumner. New Order reformed for a series of live shows in 2011, but Hook was not invited to take part and has instead started playing the band’s songs with his own group.