Soundtrack Of My Life: Peter Hook

Bass hero, co-founder of Joy Division and New Order

The first song I remember hearing

Kenny Rogers – ‘Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town’

“The first song that made an impression on me was quite odd, because I stole a record before I had a record player. I had to buy one second-hand off me mate, and I’m sure he ripped me off because I paid 11 quid for it in 1971. I was so desperate to listen to this record I’d stolen. When I actually put it on, it was ‘Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town’ by Kenny Rogers. I’ve had a soft spot for that track ever since. Of course, because it was my first and only record I played it over and over again. I feel guilty about stealing it even now. If the shop was still there I’d go in and give them the sixpence.”

The first song I fell in love with


T. Rex – ‘Ride A White Swan’

“Marc Bolan is an absolute genius. It was quite strange getting into glam rock, because I was too young to dress up for it, or I didn’t have the balls to dress up for it. It was that weird thing where because your father and your mother hated it, it felt all the more attractive. Everybody was sort of flirting with this kind of unisex clothing, which meant taking your life in your hands in Salford. ‘Ride A White Swan’ is still one of my favourite songs now. Bolan did some great riffs. It’s amazing when you listen to Oasis how many riffs they nicked off them.”

The first gig I went to

Smithy – Salford Rugby Club, 1971

“They were a glam rock band – and it was at Salford Rugby Club, in a massive bar called The Willows. I used to go there on a Monday for the disco night, and one night there was a band on. They were bloody awful. The singer, Mike Sweeney, went on to do the Salford Jets and is now one of my great buddies. It made me think there was something more to music than just listening to records.”

The first album I bought

Various artists – ‘The New Age Of Atlantic’


“This was a label sampler for Atlantic Records, and it was really good actually. It had Led Zeppelin on it, and John Prine and Loudon Wainwright. I’ve still got it! It cost 49p, and the reason I bought it was because it was cheap. I only had 50p. It gave me quite the education, because I’m now a massive fan of John Prine.”

The song that reminds me of home

The Cliff Adams Singers – ‘Sing Something Simple’

“My mother and father used to go out drinking every night, which is probably why I ended up an alcoholic now I think about it. They would feed us and then they would go off to the pub until last orders. We had a little radio and before they went out they always used to put a radio show on called ‘Sing Something Simple’. Every time I hear the theme tune, it brings me right back to sitting there waiting for my mum and dad to come home when I was 9 or 10.”

The song that makes me want to dance

David Bowie – ‘The Jean Genie’

“When I was a kid and we first started going out, which was to [underground club] Pips in Manchester, they had the Bowie/Roxy room. This would have been 1974 or 1975, and they’d be playing Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry and Bowie songs like ‘The Jean Genie’ or ‘Rebel Rebel’.”

The song I do at karaoke

Roy Orbison – ‘Penny Arcade’

“I am a karaoke fan, and I always do ‘Penny Arcade’. Why on earth do I sing that? I have absolutely no idea, but I always do and I always do it daft.”

The song I can’t get out of my head

Dexys Midnight Runners – ‘Come On Eileen’

“I get really terrible earworms, and it’ll take me ages to get rid of them. Recently it’s been ‘Come On Eileen’ by Dexys Midnight Runners. Now that I’ve thought about it again it’ll be in there for weeks. I remember we played with them as Joy Division. We played a little shitty club in Birmingham. They were all dressed up like Star Trek characters and we were, you know… Joy Division. That was the most bizarre gig I’d ever seen in my life up to that point. Kevin Rowland had a reel-to-reel tape, and he’d finish a song and then he’d press the reel-to-reel and it would tell a joke. Bizarre.”

The song I want played at my funeral

John Prine – ‘When I Get To Heaven’

“I’ve actually got four written down – do you know when you go through a pandemic and you get a bit maudlin? The four songs are: Steppenwolf‘s ‘Born To Be Wild’, Jonathan Richman‘s ‘That Summer Feeling’, a wonderful song called ‘Poetry and Jazz’ by John Otway and ‘When I Get To Heaven’ by John Prine. That one is just my favourite song. I love the cigarette that’s nine miles long, and I love the fact that the first thing he does when he gets to heaven is form a band.”

‘Substance – Inside New Order’, the new audiobook narrated by Peter Hook, is out now on Audible

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