New Order spent the first half of the 1980s emerging from the wreckage of Joy Division—and, in doing so, became one of the best dance-rock bands in the world. As the decade went on, New Order would evolve into a dance band and a rock band—a divide that would never be fully reconciled. The change happened slowly, during the production of 1986’s Brotherhood. There’d always been a musical tension within the band, one that pitted the tech-savvy Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert against the more tech-skeptical Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook. But by the mid 1980s, as Sumner began embracing a new generation of more reliable Japanese synths and drum machines, Hook became the odd punk out. Soon, the mixing board became a battleground, with arguments about which instrument should be loudest. The resulting album was split like the Treaty of Versailles: The A-side of Brotherhood contains five rockers, while the B-side features four electronic compositions. But the members of New Order were used to adversity, and on Brotherhood, they were able to snatch an artistic victory from a creative stalemate. The album’s standout single, “Bizarre Love Triangle,” failed to chart in the US. But a longer club version, mixed by Shep Pettibone, became a dance-club smash. More importantly, it found a place on college rock radio, just as the the format was adopting the broader brand of “alternative radio.” Less than a decade later, “Bizarre Love Triangle” would be rereleased as a single on The Best of New Order—and wind up in the Billboard Top 100. That feat put the track in the same category as tunes like “Twist and Shout,” “Stand by Me,” and “Unchained Melody”—all songs that re-entered the charts years after their initial release. But only “Bizarre Love Triangle” would achieve this rare feat without having been a hit the first time—and without a movie soundtrack to remind a new generation of its brilliance.

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