Get the Message (song)

Infobox Single
Name = Get the Message

Caption = The first British 12-inch.
Artist = Electronic
Album = Electronic
A-side =
B-side = "Free Will"
Released = Start date|1991|4|15
Format = 7-inch, 12-inch, CD, cassette
Recorded = 1990
Genre =
Length =
Label = flagicon|UK Factory
flagicon|Europe Virgin
flagicon|USAflagicon|Canadaflagicon|Australia Warner
Writer = Bernard Sumner,
Johnny Marr
Producer = Bernard Sumner,
Johnny Marr
Certification =
Last single = "Getting Away with It"
This single = "Get the Message"
Next single = "Tighten Up"
Misc = Extra album cover 2
Upper caption = Remix 12-inch
Type = single

Lower caption = The second British 12-inch.
__NOTOC__"Get the Message" is a song by Electronic, the English band formed by Bernard Sumner of New Order and ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.

It was the first single from their 1991 debut album "Electronic" and was a commercial success around the world. It is a good example of Marr and Sumner's original concept of mixing the fluid synthesizers of New Order with The Smiths' rich guitar sound.


Marr composed the music then Sumner wrote the lyric as engineer Owen Morris played him the song every four bars."Select", November 1997] Marr was reluctant to layer multiple guitar parts as he was wary of treading ground, but Sumner convinced him otherwise. ["Electronic's Greatest Hits" (VH1, October 2006)]

During recording, Primal Scream backing singer Denise Johnson added a vocal at the end of the song. [ [] ] She would provide additional vocals on a number of songs on Electronic's second album "Raise the Pressure" five years later. [ [,,232520,00.html] ] Ref_label|a|a|none


The single was issued in the UK on 7-inch, 12-inch, CD and cassette by Factory Records on 15 April 1991 (and two weeks later as a second 12-inch comprising two additional remixes by DNA), and as a three-format maxi single and standard cassette by Warner Bros. Records in the USA.

"Get the Message" appeared as a remixed 7-inch edit on most of the formats, and in its original, full-length version on the first UK 12-inch. Later pressings of the UK 7-inch and the German CD maxi single featured an edit of the album version, which was also used for the music video. This was because Bernard Sumner objected to the earlier mix, having heard it on a Manchester radio station prior to the release of the single. ["NME", December 1990]

The US and German maxi singles compiled all of these versions collectively; the only recordings from this single that remain scarce are edits of the two DNA remixes which were released on promos, namely a British 7-inch and a US CD maxi single.

Like its predecessor "Getting Away with It", "Get the Message" featured a non-album track as its B-side: "Free Will", a mercurial, sample-heavy dance track. This appeared in greatly edited form on the 7-inch releases, and in its original six-minute form on all the others. (The German CD maxi single included both.)


The first releases were packaged by Johnson/Panas (the monicker of Trevor Johnson), who also designed Electronic's then imminent first album "Electronic". Each format bore a unique colour scheme, all versions featuring the artist and single name with a bold number "2" underneath, signifying its place in Electronic's discography. ["FAC461 Factory Records: The Complete Graphic Album" (2006)] The only format which differed from this theme was the second British 12-inch release, designed by 3a (who also oversaw third single "Feel Every Beat").


UK 7-inch, 12-inch and MC

# "Get the Message"
# "Free Will"
* The 7-inch and cassette comprised edits of both songs.

UK remix 12-inch

# "Get the Message (DNA Groove Mix)"
# "Get the Message (DNA Sin Mix)"
* This record was only released in Britain.


# "Get the Message (7")"
# "Free Will (12")"
# "Get the Message (12")"

US maxi singles

# "Get the Message (Extended Mix)"
# "Free Will (Extended Mix)"
# "Get the Message (DNA Groove Mix)"
# "Get the Message (DNA Sin Mix)"
* The CD included "Get the Message (Single Mix)".

EU CD maxi single

# "Get the Message (7")"
# "Get the Message (12")"
# "Free Will (7")"
# "Free Will (12")"
# "Get the Message (DNA Groove Mix)"
# "Get the Message (DNA Sin Mix)"

Music video

The single was promoted by a colourful music video in which Marr and Sumner strolled through the Maldive Islands ["Select", June 1991] and atop the still-active Taal Volcano — which Marr narrowly missed falling into. ["Melody Maker", 13 April 1991] It was directed by Gunther Deichmann, [ [] ] whose published photographs had impressed Electronic.

At least two versions of this film exist, one with phrases from the song lyrics punctuating the scenic shots (and lower-case letters spelling out 'electronic') and another more simple edit without any words. The former version is available on the "Get the Message" DVD.

Electronic also promoted the single with appearances on "Top of the Pops" in April and May 1991, miming to the album edit and the edit of the "DNA Groove Mix" respectively.


Critical reaction to "Get the Message" was generally positive. Writing in the "NME", Andrew Collins called the song "draught genius" and concluded that "New Order can now split up", ["NME", 20 April 1991] while David Quantick stated that "nothing anyone has ever done has sounded even vaguely like 'Get the Message'" in the same publication a month later. ["NME", 25 May 1991] Phil Sutcliffe in "Q" was less enthusiastic, suggesting it "almost slip [s] from identity into identikit", ["Q", July 1991] while "Melody Maker" described listening to the track as "Like watching a pony chew on a carrot for half an hour". ["Uncut", April 1999]

Today "Get the Message" is consistently cited as a defining track by Electronic. Allmusic picks it as a highlight of the "Electronic" album in a 4/5 review, [ [ allmusic] ] while states that "the excellent 'Get the Message' still holds its own alongside the best of early '90s Mancunian tunes". [ [, September 2006] ] In 2007 Johnny Marr said it was "...maybe the track I'm most proud of out of my whole career". ["Q", September 2007]


Live versions

"Get the Message" was first played live in 1990 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, when Electronic supported Depeche Mode on the 4th and 5th of August. [ [ Manchester District Music Archive] ] It was also performed at their first British gig the following January at the Haçienda nightclub in Manchester; ["Melody Maker", 19 January 1991] the Cities in the Park festival in the same city seven months later; and at each of the three gigs on their short tour of Europe in December. ["NME", 21 December 1991]


"Get the Message" was the seventh track on the British version of "Electronic" and the eighth on most of the international editions.Ref_label|b|b|none It later became the title track of the band's career-spanning compilation in 2006. The song received some exposure in 2003 when it was used in an episode of "". [ [] ] It has also appeared on a handful of various artists compilations. [ [ Discogs] ]

Notes and references


*a. Note_label|a|a|none "Raise the Pressure" was mainly recorded in 1995.
*b. Note_label|b|b|none Most of the international editions of "Electronic" included "Getting Away with It" as the fifth track, thus shifting "Get the Message" down one place.


External links

* [ feel every beat (unofficial website)]
* [ (unofficial website)]

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