“Ceremony” is a song by Joy Division, released as New Order’s debut single in 1981. The song, as well as the B-side, “In a Lonely Place”, were written as Joy Division prior to the death of Ian Curtis. Both were carried over to the band’s re-incarnation as New Order.
New Order released the song as a single twice. Firstly in March 1981 and secondly in September 1981 featuring new member Gillian Gilbert.
“Ceremony” was one of the last Joy Division songs to be composed, with lyrics written by Ian Curtis. There are three recorded versions by Joy Division in existence. The first is a live version, available on the Still album, from their final concert at High Hall, Birmingham University on 2 May 1980, sixteen days before Curtis’ suicide. The second, available on the Heart and Soul four-disc box set is from a rehearsal tape made in April/May 1980. The third is a version recorded at the soundcheck on the afternoon of 2 May 1980 (along with “Decades”) and is only available on bootleg. In all recordings, the vocals are only partially audible.
This is why events unnerve me They find it all, a different story Notice whom for wheels are turning Turn again and turn towards this time All she ask’s the strength to hold me Then again the same old story World will travel, oh so quickly Travel first and lean towards this time
I’ll break them all, no mercy shown Heaven knows, it’s got to be this time Watching her, these things she said The times she cried, too frail to wake this time
I’ll break them down, no mercy shown Heaven knows, it’s got to be this time Avenues all lined with trees Picture me and then you start watching Watching for ever For ever, watching love grow For ever, letting me know For ever