Today we celebrate the birthday of one of the most fabulous women ever to rock a synth: Gillian Gilbert, who - in the wake of Ian Curtis’s death - was invited to join the band that formed from the ashes of Joy Division. Perhaps you’ve heard of them: their name is - dramatic pause - New Order.
To commemorate the day of Ms. Gilbert’s birth, we’ve put together a six-pack of songs that shine a spotlight on her efforts as a vocalist, but rather than limit ourselves solely to New Order, we’ve got a trio of tunes by The Other Two, too!
New Order, “Procession” (1981)
Even though it was released as a single, this is one of those New Order tracks that feels more like a deep cut, if only because the songs that surround it in the band’s discography ended up earning far more recognition. So it goes with singles sometimes, of course, but it’s important in this instance because of the backing vocals by Gilbert, something that we’d rarely heard up to that point.
New Order, “Doubts Even Here” (1981)
A song that the band hasn’t included in their live sets since the year it was originally released? Now that’s a real deep cut! Gilbert doesn’t actually sing on the track, but she does provide easily-heard spoken word vocals to the song, making it well worth including in this list.
New Order “Confusion” (1983)
Given that this Arthur Baker production was recorded in New York, does that make Gilbert a New York City girl? Nah, she’s Mancunian through and through. Still, she adds backing vocals, and it’s a classic track in the early New Order catalog, so we’re throwing it into the mix.
The Other Two, “Tasty Fish” (1991) / “Selfish” (1993)
When New Order frontman Bernard Sumner teamed with Johnny Marr to form Electronic and bassist Peter Hook stepped out to start his band Revenge, Gilbert and drummer Stephen Morris (who married in 1994) decided to go it on their own for a bit as well, and what better name for their new duo than this one? “Tasty Fish” was their debut single under this moniker, and proved to be a minor hit, climbing to No. 41 on the U.K. singles chart. Follow-up single “Selfish” didn’t do quite as well, only hitting No. 46, but upon earning a belated U.S. release, it managed to hit No. 6 on the Billboard Club Play chart and No. 30 on the Modern Rock chart.
The Other Two, “Super Highways” (1999)
It took six years for Gilbert and Morris to get around to releasing their sophomore album as The Other Two, and when they did so, it failed to make much of a ripple on the charts on either side of the pond. In fact, it didn’t get a U.S. release at all! That said, the title track is still pretty great, and it’s as good a way to close out things as any.