Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
At nearly 7 and a half minutes in length, it is one of the longest tracks to ever chart in the UK. "Blue Monday" is recognised as the biggest selling 12-inch single of all time, but as Factory Records were not members of the British Phonographic Industry association, it was not eligible for an official gold disc. However, the Official UK Chart Company have estimated its total UK sales at just over one million. In the all-time UK best-selling singles chart they published in 2002, "Blue Monday" came 76th.
"Blue Monday" is often seen as one of the most important crossover tracks of the 1980s electronica scene. Synthpop had already been a major force in British popular music for several years, but "Blue Monday" was arguably the first British dance record to exhibit an obvious influence from the New York club scene, particularly the work of producers like Arthur Baker (who collaborated on New Order's follow-up single "Confusion").
As with many of New Order's songs, the meaning of "Blue Monday"'s lyric has been the subject of much debate. Although Bernard Sumner never publicly discusses his lyrics, many people have surmised that "Blue Monday" concerns the suicide of Joy Division vocalist Ian Curtis and the effect it had on his former bandmates. However, comparisons with the lyrics and the after effects of cocaine have also been made, which would fit in with the potentially drug related themes of many other New Order tracks.
"Blue Monday" has been a hit several times in the UK. In 1983 it was a hit twice, initially reaching number 12, then re-entering the chart later in the year and climbing to number 9, helped by the fact that neither side of the single (the B-side "The Beach" was an instrumental re-working of "Blue Monday") featured on the group's latest album, Power, Corruption & Lies.
In 1988 it was remixed by Quincy Jones and John Potoker under the title "Blue Monday 88" (with the instrumental flip being humorously titled "Beach Buggy") and climbed to number 3 in the British charts. A further remix/reissue in 1995, with a mix by Hardfloor as the lead track, also made the British Top 20.
In 1992, it was further remixed by Electroset and released as "How does it feel?"
In 2002 the music of "Blue Monday" was combined with the Kylie Minogue vocal of "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" to produce a new recording, commonly known as "Can't Get Blue Monday Out Of My Head" which was popular in nightclubs and received widespread radio airplay.
As of 2004, the track is still regarded for its timeless appeal, and still receives regular play by DJ's, both in oldies sets and as part of a normal nights music, with either of the three versions being played. The original is most common, however, due to the usual instant recognition of its intro resulting in it being a floorfiller.
"Blue Monday" and the Electroset version "How Does It Feel?" have also been a popular piece for demoscene groups to include in their works.
A popular story about "Blue Monday" holds that the single's die-cut sleeve cost so much to produce that Factory Records actually lost money on each copy sold. While this story may have some truth to it, it should certainly be taken with a pinch of salt. It is unlikely that Factory Records could have sustained the losses implied, and in any case the sleeve was soon changed to a similar, but non-die-cut, design that would cost no more than a regular sleeve. It is, however, probably true that New Order saw little profit from the single's success, since their investment in the Hacienda nightclub swallowed much of the money they made from their hit.
Another notable feature of the sleeve is that it does not display either the group name or song title in plain English anywhere. Instead the legend "FAC 73 BLUE MONDAY AND THE BEACH NEW ORDER" is represented in code by a series of coloured blocks. The key enabling this to be deciphered was printed on the back sleeve of the album, Power, Corruption & Lies.
Blue Monday 1983
- "Blue Monday" (7:29)
- "The Beach" (7:19)
Blue Monday 88
- "Blue Monday 88 [12" Version]" (7:09)
- "Beach Buggy" (6:52)
- "Blue Monday 88 [7" Version]" (4:09)
Blue Monday 95 [UK CD]
- "Blue Monday [1983 12" Version]" (7:23)
- "Blue Monday [Hardfloor Mix]" (8:34)
- "Blue Monday [Manuella Mix]" (7:29)
- "Blue Monday [Andrea Mix]" (8:26)
- "Blue Monday [Plutone Mix]" (6:29)
- New Order Discography (includes images of sleeve)
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