“Ceremony” is known in most music fans knowledge as the song that bridged Joy Division’s transition to New Order following the death of the former’s frontman. As one of the last songs Ian Curtis wrote, there are recordings of Joy Division performing it but there is sadly not a fully realised studio version out there.
When the remaining members of Joy Division regrouped as New Order following the death of their frontman they realised the song was too good to be thrown away and recorded it with Bernard Sumner on vocals. It went on to be the Manchester band’s first single. It was a song that still sounded heavily like Joy Division but the new lighter vocals by Sumner definitely gave it a more defiant, even optimistic, sound.
Fast forward to 1990 and the shoe-gaze type band Galaxie 500 decided they would give the song their own spin, slightly slowing it down, giving it an almost Velvet Underground sound. Despite it being a cover, it went on to become one of the band’s most revered recordings.
Dean Wareham, Galaxie 500’s guitarist and vocalist, is currently touring a new solo album and so, while playing a recent session for KEXP, he wheeled out the much loved cover from his previous band. Listen below for a great, chilled out version of a song that was so important in the transition of one great band to another.