Procession (4:28)

Cover of Substance 1987

From Substance 1987 and 13 other releases

“Procession” is the second single by British group New Order, released in September 1981 on 7” vinyl record. The single’s Factory Records catalogue number is FAC 53.


Compared to the band’s previous single “Ceremony”, this one shows the band in an intermediate position between post-punk Joy Division and light electropop New Order. The lighter pop optimism, with a strong emphasis on rhythm, overcomes the song’s gloomy title, “Procession”. This “mixed message” may help to explain why the song remains obscure in the New Order repertoire, despite having been a single. The sound is much like Movement’s opening track “Dreams Never End”, but with an even more upbeat flavor and vocals that have nearly shed the Ian Curtis imitation. The lyrics are abstract and difficult to discern, given the density of the mix and the strength of the other instruments. The song is notable, also, because there are brief backing vocals by band member Gillian Gilbert, which serve as a bell effect.

Though all of New Order’s songs are credited as group compositions, it is known that the chief composer of “Procession” is Stephen Morris.

The song does not appear on any of New Order’s studio albums; it does, however, appear on the EP 1981 – Factus 8 – 1982, 1987 singles compilation Substance, the 2005 compilation Singles, and the 2008 Collector’s Edition of the band’s contemporaneous album Movement.


Notably, the UK release’s sleeve came in nine differently coloured versions: black, blue, aqua, yellow, red, brown, orange, green and purple. The B-side is an edited version of “Everything’s Gone Green”, the full-length version of which was later released as a 12” single on its own.


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