Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wayback Whensday:
Joy Division's "Ceremony"

As the final song written and recorded by Joy Division's Ian Curtis, "Ceremony" carries a gloominess and portent that contrasts the song's decidedly upbeat tone (for a JD song, that is). A bit of history for the uninitiated... Two recordings exist of Curtis' swan song. The first is a rehearsal recording and can be found on the Heart and Soul compilation. The second appears on the compilation album Still and was recorded during the band's final concert at Birmingham University -- sixteen days before Curtis' suicide. He was 23.

After Curtis' death, as with so many bands abandoned by a gifted, ill-fated leader, Joy Division pressed on. They renamed themselves as New Order and rerecorded "Ceremony" twice (first with new vocalist Bernard Sumner, and later after guitarist Gillian Gilbert joined the group). As you can tell from Curtis' original recordings (after the jump), the lyrics are nearly inaudible, and Sumner had to put the rehearsal version through a graphic equalizer to determine what they were.

As a tribute to this storied, truly incredible song, I'm posting as many versions as I can get my hands on, including covers by Galaxie 500, Xiu Xiu, and -- awwww -- Radiohead.

Please be patient, as Imeem is sometimes slow loading... The first track is the rehearsal; the second is the live recording (it starts a few seconds into the song, but is the full version.)

Radiohead performing "Ceremony" on their Radiohead TV webcast, Nov. 9, 2007.


SonicRyan said...

Most of these are 30 second clips. If you can, upload the songs yourself instead of snagging them off other people's pages.

Femme Fatale said...

Poop. Sorry guys.

The Moon said...

I've noticed that being a problem with imeem...

You guys must be really busy with school ending soon. I've noticed the post frequency has gone way down. =(

Femme Fatale said...


Please check out these songs, guys. The Galaxie 500 in particular is a much-loved cover by, well, me.

As for our recent # of posts... yeah, it's something we discussed just yesterday actually. We love Range Life and want to keep writing. Unfortunately, with essentially two people writing, when the going gets rough, it gets real rough. We hope you guys will still check back with us... good things to come... and summer of course, means lots more time for music love.

BTW, Beach House videos on the way... if I can ever get the derned things to upload. :)