Photo: Julien Lachaussee

Think Dr Hook and you probably think of the 1979 song offering advice on what to do when you’re in love with a beautiful woman. But the music industry will welcome another Dr Hook when Peter Hook is awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Salford next week.

The musician, whose bass guitar playing was a driving force in the sound of New Order and Joy Division and who continues to perform across the world as Peter Hook And The Light, will receive the honour at the University’s graduation ceremony at The Lowry.

The musician is receiving the Honorary Doctorate of Arts in recognition of his services to rock music and the history of rock music, after writing three well-received books about his life, The Hacienda nightclub and the bands in which he’s played.

Born in Ordsall, close to the University’s MediaCityUK campus, Hooky – as he is known to his fans – has strong links with the city.

He attended Salford Grammar School and once worked as a clerk at Manchester Ship Canal Company on Chester Road. Incidentally, the same job was also once held by George Best while the footballer was an apprentice at Manchester United.

But one obscure gig at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall changed Peter’s life forever. He attended the now legendary Sex Pistols concert in 1976 and, after borrowing £35 from his mum to buy his first bass guitar, formed Warsaw – the band which went on to become Joy Division.

Following the tragic death of lead singer Ian Curtis, the band reinvented itself as New Order, releasing a string of seminal albums under Tony Wilson’s Factory Records label and creating a sound which still continues to influence bands decades later.

“As a very proud Salfordian, this is very much a personal pinnacle for me,” said Peter about the honorary doctorate.

“I always looked on the University of Salford as a very special place, from my nights in the Student Union until Joy Division played the main hall,” he said.  “I always thought of it as a very special institution. To now be a part of it is incredibly humbling.

“Tony Wilson and Alan Wise always used to impress on me how underplayed Salford was in our region’s musical history. I am very happy to use this occasion to prove how important Salford was and still is.”

Pic Fabrizio Di Bitonto

As well as revisiting New Order and Joy Division’s extensive back catalogue with his new band The Light, Hooky has also revived The Hacienda nightclub – seen by many as the birthplace of rave culture – and is a director of FAC251 in Manchester.

He now oversees Hacienda Classical, which performs orchestral versions of the euphoric dance tracks the club became known for, at venues such as Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall and London’s Royal Albert Hall. They also opened Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage.

“Peter Hook has had a huge influence on music and popular culture over the last four decades, as well as a proud Salfordian who continues to have a deep involvement in his home city,” said Tim France, director of music at the University of Salford.

“Hook’s bass playing instilled the importance of rhythm and melody in punk rock, inspiring a generation of dance-oriented new wave bands. 

“Through New Order, Joy Division, Factory Records and The Hacienda he showed what artists can achieve if they are brave enough to take risks, and as an institution that encourages innovation we are delighted to welcome him as an honorary graduate.”

Hooky remains a passionate supporter of his home city, working actively with a wide range of organisations such as Salford Lads Club, Ordsall Juniors Football Club and Salford Arts Theatre.