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Stereo Embers TRACK OF THE DAY: New Order with Ian McCulloch “Ceremony” (Live)

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“Ceremony” was one of the last songs that Ian Curtis wrote before he passed away in 1980, and when his former Joy Division bandmates continued on without him as New Order, they released it with Bernard Sumner’s lead vocals, along with the two other singles, “Procession” and “Everything’s Gone Green,” in 1980. New Order then released their first album, Movement, in 1981.

As Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook told me in one of our interviews, New Order’s 1980 and 1981 releases were “Joy Division music with New Order vocals.”

So it’s thrilling to hear Echo & The Bunnymen front man Ian McCulloch – whose range is much closer to that of Curtis than Sumner’s – sing “Ceremony.” Also, it’s terrific to hear Hooky join Mac at the mic, as well as the raw power that McCulloch injects into the majestic Joy Division-New Order track.

This recording was made on 19 July 1986 – and by then, Echo & The Bunnymen had the classic Crocodiles (1980), Heaven Up Here (1981), Porcupine (1983), and Ocean Rain (1984) albums behind them. As for New Order, they had found their voice as a band in 1983, with their Power, Corruption & Lies album and accompanying singles. They had also released the fine Low-Life album in 1985, and would go on to release the equally powerful Brotherhood in September of 1986.

Enjoy what happens when two legends meet.