Home > Electro, New wave, Top 5 records > The birth of dance music…and my top 1 record

The birth of dance music…and my top 1 record

Blue Monday is a dance song recorded in 1982 and originally released as a single in 1983 by British band New order. It was later remixed in 1988 and 1995. At nearly seven-and-a-half minutes, it is one of the longest tracks ever to chart in the UK. It has been cited as the biggest selling 12 inch all time by the band and in the film 24 Hour Party People. The song begins with a distinctive kick drum intro, programmed on an Oberheim DMX drum machine. Blue Monday is often seen as one of the most important crossover tracks of the 1980s pop music scene. Synthpop had 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. According to singer Bernard Summer, it was influenced by 4 songs :

1) The arrangement came from Klein + M.B.O. “Dirty talk”.
2) The signature bassline came from Sylvester’s disco classic “You make me feel (Mighty real)
3) The housy beat came from Donna Summer and her song “Our love”
4) And the long keyboard pad on the intro was sampled from the Kraftwerk song Uranium, from the Radio-activity.

Key to the track’s success was its ability to crossover into multiple scenes and club communities. Its ubiquity directly influenced the evolution of 80s synthpop dance music and left its legacy firmly in the hands of Djs and musicians : rarely will you see a track being played by nostalgic of the 80s, rock fans, pop fans, house heads and hardcore fans of trance as it’s been remixed by Hardfloor in 1995. Blue monday didn’t invent anything but upgraded the sounds of Giorgio Moroder and Kraftwerk.

This record was the start of the Hi Energy style and probably the beginning of dance music as it is today. Perhaps what’s even more impressive is how that record was made. Bernard Summer was talking about this tune in an interview, telling that it was actually made in an old mixing desk, without any automation and with old analogue FX machines. Which meant they had to do everything manually. Here is what a clubber in Hacienda who heard the record in 1984 had to say : ” From the very first moment I heard Blue Monday, I knew something really really BIG will happen. And indeed, this track took me light years away from what I was hearing before,  just like it took New Order light years away from the ashes of Joy Division.”

Today, it still is a dancefloor kick ass number :  nowadays, after 25 years of existence, a lot of the younger clubbers aren’t aware of the original release date and it blows them away when they realise that often the track is older than themselves. When it came out this track was groundbreaking. It’s surgical use of synth driven bass lines, beats, and melodies hadn’t been used quite like this before ; to produce an emotional complexity rarely matched in our era. A true and eternal masterpiece and will definitely be part of the ten records I’d take with me to a remote island…

New Order : Blue Monday [ Factory records : 1982 ]

  1. December 28, 2010 at 10:21 am

    I like your post. Blue monday is a hit 🙂

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