Vinyl Friday #26: New Order “Blue Monday” 12″ single

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The last 12″ single I wrote about was Echo & the Bunnymen’s “Silver.” The one critic I had was while it was a great song, it wasn’t a fantastic 12″ mix. This, though, this… this New Order 12″ is the fucking holy grail of early-80’s dance music. The 12″ version of this song is totally necessary, and it’s still the biggest selling 12″ single of all time.

I chose to write about this particular single today because Halloween is tomorrow. Growing up, my sister and I had a soundtrack with “Blue Monday” on it (because it was the early 90’s, we shared CD’s). My sister and I would pick out the music to listen to in our rooms, but I really didn’t know what to think of this song. I was probably only five when I first heard it. It’s a lot for a child to comprehend, especially when the only pop music they had heard was the sickly-sweet 90’s sort or Tejano music.

But this song slightly frightened me as a kid. It’s quite a dark song. Now that I’m older, I love the song for it’s lyrics and the very dark atmosphere that used to frighten me when I was a kid. This was released three years after Ian Curtis’s death, but the dark Joy Division sound still lingered (though not as much as it would in Movement), but this was clearly a hallmark of where the band was going with their sound.

When I first met my husband, we had a discussion about which records we’d like to own one day. Without a moments hesitation, he replied with “New Order’s “Blue Monday” single where it looks like the floppy disk.” Being the young couple we were three years ago, I kept the secret to myself that I already owned this baby. On his first trip to visit me in the States, I presented him with this, so now I guess it belongs to him.

It’s a well-known story that the packaging for “Blue Monday” were so expensive, that it actually cost Factory Records more money to produce than they made. Later copies pressed in 1988 and 1995 were made in more conventional styles. Peter Saville (who I love and worship everything he does) designed the sleeve with die-cut and a silver sleeve. The colour-block code that runs down the side states “FAC 73 BLUE MONDAY AND THE BEACH NEW ORDER”; this is the same code that would also appear on several releases, including the back of the album Power, Corruption & Lies. 

For the longest time, I told myself that I had an original pressing from 1983, but after researching it, I finally had to admit to myself that I probably just had a cheap US reprint (though I am no expert and never will claim to be). Everything I own with actual value was stolen a long time ago. Normally things like “value” hardly mean a thing to me when it comes to collecting and buy vinyl, but I suppose each of us has something that we just have to have.

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