"Blue Monday" is a song performed by English rock band New Order. It was released as a 12-inch single on 7 March 1983 through Factory Records and later as a 7-inch single through Tonpress in Poland in 1985. It appeared on certain cassette and CD versions of the band's second studio album, Power, Corruption & Lies (1983). The track was written and produced by Gillian Gilbert, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, and Bernard Sumner, the members of New Order at the time.
"Blue Monday" is a synth-pop and alternative dance song that drew inspirations from many works of other artists. The 12" single was backed with a primarily instrumental version of the song entitled "The Beach" on the B-side. The single's unique packaging was designed by Peter Saville and Brett Wickens. It features a die-cut sleeve designed to resemble a 5 1⁄4 inch floppy disk. The front cover features no words, but instead has code in the form of coloured blocks that reads out the artist, song, and label information, once deciphered.
The original single was a commercial hit, making the top 10 in many countries. In New Zealand, it peaked at number 2 and spent 74 weeks (spread across three calendar years) in the top 50. The 1988 remix reached number 3 on the British chart, number 4 on the Australian chart, and topped the dance chart in the United States.
It is the best-selling 12" single of all time. The song has been widely acclaimed, and is ranked by Acclaimed Music as the 38th most acclaimed song of all time. It was remixed by the band twice, in 1988 and 1995. The 1988 remix reached number 1 in New Zealand and the top 10 in other countries. The song has been covered by bands including Orgy, Flunk and 808 State; its beats are invariably mixed at raves into dance/psytrance sets.
"Blue Monday" was described by the BBC Radio 2 "Sold on Song" feature as "a crucial link between Seventies disco and the dance/house boom that took off at the end of the Eighties." Synth-pop had been a major force in British popular music for several years, but "Blue Monday", with encouragement by the band's manager Rob Gretton, was a dance record that also exhibited influences from the New York club scene, particularly the work of producers such as Arthur Baker (who collaborated on New Order's follow-up single "Confusion").
"Blue Monday" was composed on a prototype-level homebrew "step-time" sequencer in binary code. It was originally written in the key of D minor and contains a basic chord progression of Dm–F–C–Dm–G–C. The song has been labelled a "synth-pop classic" and described as cementing the group's movement from post-punk to alternative dance. It has been noted as an example of the hi-NRG style of club music, as well.
The song begins with a distinctive semiquaver kick drum intro, programmed on an Oberheim DMX drum machine. Keyboardist Gillian Gilbert fades in a sequenced melody, out of sync with the beat because she had forgotten to input a note into the sequencer. The verse section features the song's signature throbbing synth bassline, played on a Moog Source, overlaid with Peter Hook's bass guitar leads. The synth bassline was sequenced on a Powertran Sequencer home built by Sumner. Bernard Sumner delivers the lyrics in a deadpan manner. "Blue Monday" is an atypical hit song in that it does not feature a standard verse-chorus structure. After a lengthy introduction, the first and second verses are contiguous and are separated from the third verse only by a brief series of sound effects. A short breakdown section follows the third verse, which leads to an extended outro.
The band claimed to have written the song in response to crowd disappointment at the fact that they never played encores. The song was planned to allow them to return to the stage, press play on a synthesiser and leave the stage again, but while writing the song it evolved into a project that the band quite liked, and it was turned from an experiment into a single. However, the band since have become noted for playing "Blue Monday" as an encore. "Blue Monday" was influenced by several songs. Hook said the song was "stolen" from the Donna Summer song "Our Love" from the Bad Girls album. Bernard Sumner said part of the arrangement came from "Dirty Talk", by Klein + M.B.O, the synthesised bassline from Sylvester's "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)". Hook's bassline was derived from an Ennio Morricone soundtrack, For a Few Dollars More: Hook said "I stole it" after watching the film of the same name in the studio. In the Guardian, Clinton Heylin alleged that the starting point for the song came from "Gerry and the Holograms", the 1979 title track by the novelty group of the same name, but Sumner denied this. Some rhythmic and synthesizer elements of the song had been used by the band in an earlier composition, "Video 5 8 6", in 1982, which evolved into the track "5 8 6", appearing on the band's 1983 album Power, Corruption & Lies.
The B-Side is a stem remix of Blue Monday and is called 'The Beach'.
I’ll get a couple of things out of the way off the bat. First, I do not ascribe to the recently-emergent idea that New Order were either A) more influential –or – B) better than the group that they emerged from. Second, I happen to think that “Blue Monday” is, at best, at least a little bit “dorky.” With that said, this is some kind of a jam.
“Blue Monday” is New Order’s peak. While some of the group’s best moments found them exploring an airer atmosphere, “Blue Monday” is stifling and claustrophobic. Its intentionally mechanical elements draw a straight line back to Kraftwerk, but its bleakness was unquestionably a throwback to Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris’ time in Joy Division.
There’s a malaise to “Blue Monday” that is conveyed not only in the stilted rhythm, but in Sumner’s lyrics. Songs engineered for the dance floor – even dark ones – had rarely been associated with introspection, but “Blue Monday” matches its hypnotic beat with an overwhelming sense of dread. That combination was not only rare for the time, but it remains striking to this day.
A Blue Monday B The Beach
Engineer – Michael Johnson Engineer [Michael Johnson Assisted By] – Barry Sage, Mark Boyne Lacquer Cut By – F.A.* Producer – New Order
Replica of the original 1983 release remastered from the original master tapes. Cover has all the cut-outs as the original version. Small difference only that on the top of the back cover there is a QR code connecting to neworder.com