New Order’s inclusion on the Coachella 2013 lineup has sparked a renewed interest in the Manchester rock band, who will play their first U.S. shows in eight years at the California desert music festival.
However, with founding bassist Peter Hook now out of the band and singer Bernard Sumner stating that he doesn’t wish to record with the “Blue Monday” hitmakers any longer, this may be New Order limping to the finish line. If 2013 does mark the end of New Order, though, it will mark the final chapter in a nearly-four-decade career that’s seen a feature-length film’s worth of hits, misses, triumph and tragedy.
Casual music fans may not know that New Order rose from the ashes of post-punk pioneers Joy Division, who hit it big with “Love Will Tear Us Apart” in 1980 but whose singer, Ian Curtis, killed himself on the eve of the band’s first U.S. tour.
The iconic group’s gripping tale, told from their forming through the surviving members’ reforming as New Order, is recounted in 2007’s Anton Corbijn-directed Control ($9 on Amazon) and the same year’s Joy Division ($20).
Meanwhile, you can find New Order’s story in Item, a 2005 DVD set that includes one disc of music videos spanning the group’s career to that point and a second disc that features a three-hour documentary. New copies of the two-disc version run more than $250 on Amazon, but used copies can be had for around $30.
If you like proper movies, 24 Hour Party People is worth checking out, as well. Told through the point-of-view of Joy Division/New Order manager Tony Wilson, its partially-fictionalized account of events features Curtis, as well as Sumner and Hook, as prominent players in Wilson’s life.