Do you remember where you were in 1983? If you’re old enough to recall, chances are you were watching “Return of the Jedi” or attempting to do the Moonwalk. In addition to those two events, another phenomenon took place. The biggest selling 12” single of all time was released on March 7th, 1983-New Order’s Blue Monday.
New Order was formed in 1980 following the suicide death of Joy Division’s vocalist Ian Curtis. Rather than disbanding, the remaining band members persevered and produced one of the most influential Synth-Pop, Alternative/Dance acts of all time.
Blue Monday was initially released as a single but can now be found on the band’s iconic album Power, Corruption & Lies, other compilation cd’s, and, of course, iTunes. The original version of Blue Monday clocks in at 7:25 seconds and the B-Side “The Beach” runs in at 7:18 seconds. The two tracks share the same drum pattern, bass-line and other musical tones & rings, making them sound very, very similar. In fact, some DJ’s would flip the record over and play “The Beach” instead. Since Blue Monday was only available as a 12” single, it never got played on the radio, but it became a huge hit due to the DJ’s playing it in the clubs. While Blue Monday is an original piece of work, influences and samples of Kraftwerk’s Uranium and Donna Summer’s Our Love can distinctly be heard throughout the melody.
Over the years, Blue Monday has been sampled, remixed, covered, edited, released and played profusely; yet, it continues to shine as it did 32 years ago. I hail it as the most important Alternative/Dance record of the 1980’s (if not of all time) and an abundance of other DJ’s share the same viewpoint. This is how BBC Radio 2 chronicled Blue Monday – “The track is widely regarded as a crucial link between Seventies disco and the dance/house boom that took off at the end of the Eighties”. Blue Monday is a monster of a record and a massive achievement for New Order. This song paved the way for musical acts like The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Moby, and the list goes on.
Back in 1998, Metal/Alternative band Orgy gained some popularity by covering the song. In 2002, Flunk (a Norwegian Electronic band) gave it a cool rendition as well. Furthermore, (if House music is your thing), Kurd Maverick gave it an excellent re-work with the “Vandalism” remix in 2009. These three versions are extremely different from one another and worth checking out. If you’re interested in listening to “Blue Monday” and other cool songs that were released from that same time period, follow the link and give my mix “Citizen Edge Vol. 1 – Spirit of Radio” a listen. If you like New Order, other notable bands to check out are: The Chemical Brothers, MGMT, Hot Chip, La Roux, Depeche Mode, Scissor Sisters and Joy Division.