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Blue Monday (1983) - New Order - All about the song "Sad Monday"

“When we played it, people went crazy. And one day we got into a fight on stage with a DJ in Nottingham because we didn't want to play Blue Monday...

History of "Blue Monday" by New Order

"Blue Monday" is a song by British rock band New Order released in the spring of 1983. The track is an alternative synth-pop record, inspired by the works of the band members' favorite artists... The packaging of the single, designed by Peter Saville (more on that later), deserves special attention.

The song became a big hit breaking into the top 10 in many countries! "Blue Monday" is the most commercially successful 12" single ever... Over 1 million copies sold in the UK alone! Subsequently, the track was performed by many famous bands. The BBC reviewers described "Sad Monday" as "the crucial link between '70s disco and the '80s house dance boom". According to the members of New Order, the record was inspired by the atmosphere of New York nightclubs ...

Song idea

The members of New Order said that they wrote "Blue Monday" as a response to the disappointed crowd... The fact is that the group never went to an encore, which made the fans very upset... So what does "Blue Monday" have to do with it? Everything is very simple…

new order
new order

The composition was conceived in such a way that during its performance New Order could return to the stage, press the play button on the synthesizer and disappear backstage again. However, in the course of work, the project became more ambitious ... From an experiment, it grew into a high-quality single! And yes: the performance of this particular song was the first time that New Order played an encore!

According to the musicians themselves, this composition was inspired by several records at once. And quite famous even today! So, in part "Blue Monday" "copies" the style of "Our Love" by singer Donna Summer. And the interesting bass sound was borrowed from Ennio Morricone, or rather, from one of his soundtracks. Bernard Sumner, one of the songwriters of the hit, said:

“I stole this bass sound from the movie “For a Few Dollars More” right after I watched it in the studio… It’s a masterpiece and I admit it!”

Attentive listeners must have noticed that some of the synth elements sound quite familiar... And it really is! The band had previously used them on the track "5 8 6" (from the album Power, Corruption & Lies).

The cover is a separate art form...

In addition to the single itself, its packaging deserves attention. It looks more like a work of art than a cover! Outwardly, it resembles a 5-inch floppy disk ... And the absence of any inscriptions immediately catches the eye! The only thing written on the sleeve is "FAC SEVENTY THREE" on the spine.

Blue Monday single cover by New Order
Blue Monday single cover by New Order

The packaging was designed by Peter Saville and Brett Wickens. Inside the envelope is a perfect silver color… Probably, the fact that the production of the cover cost Factory Records a round sum is not worth talking about… The packaging turned out to be so expensive that the label was almost at a loss from each sale! As Saville himself later recounted:

“No one expected that the single would be in demand at all ... Therefore, no one could have thought that the price would be a problem ...”

For this reason, later copies were slightly modified: in order to reduce the cost of the envelope, the die-cut areas were printed with silver ink.

Music video

The music video for the song, created in 1983, includes random visual effects from stop-motion animation on paper, video clips of the band members and much, much more ... Everything is done in the spirit of the 80s ...

https://youtu.be/nOTRqbEKgXM

Success!

The composition "Blue Monday" was a great success in the UK! The song hit the UK Singles Chart several times, reaching a record-breaking number 9 for the second time! But ... despite the success and great demand from the audience, the single did not go gold. This is due to Factory Records, which was not a member of the BPI ...

Overall, in the United Kingdom alone, "Blue Monday" has sold over 1 million copies! In total, more than 3 million copies have been sold worldwide. In 2012, the single entered the top 70 best-selling in this country.

Interesting Facts

  • The name "Sad Monday" doesn't appear anywhere in the lyrics, so where did it come from? Turns out it was inspired by a book New Order drummer Stephen Morris was reading at the time. Written by acclaimed science fiction writer Kurt Vonnegut, the book was called "Breakfast of Champions: Or, Goodbye Blue Monday!"
  • In one of their interviews, New Order recalled: “When we played it, people went crazy. And one day we got into a fight on stage with a DJ in Nottingham because we didn't want to play Blue Monday…”
  • It's no secret that New Order insisted on performing this song live on BBC Top of the Pops at a time when the policy of the music show was for the artists to imitate the backing track... However, the live performance of New Order took place and was due to technical problems ( I wonder if it's random...
  • Rock band Orgy covered the song in 1998, peaking at number 56 in the US. Other artists who have performed "Blue Monday" include Radio Star, Doctor Explosion, Swan Lee, Flunk, Klutae, Nouvelle Vague and Cosmosis. The band's version of Health was used in the 2017 film Explosive Blonde.

  • American Express used this track in an ad in the 90s.

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