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New Order Blue Monday04:29

New Order Blue Monday

Blue Monday

Personnel

  • Bernard Sumner (vocals, guitar, synthesisers)
  • Peter Hook (bass, synthesisers)
  • Stephen Morris (drums, electronic drums, synthesisers)
  • Gillian Gilbert (keyboards)

First play on Peel

History

New Order were formed by three members of Joy Division, who had dissolved the previous band pursuant to the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis on 18 May 1980. Although the earliest recordings are still firmly rooted in dark electronica, they began to develop a new style which married this with dance, and which saw them gain wide exposure not merely on Peel's show but also a large number of mainstream chart entries, in addition to becoming regular entrants to the Festive Fifty (see below). They were a major source of income for Factory Records, with Blue Monday consistently listed as the best-selling independent 12 inch of all time.

Post Joy Division

As with Joy Division, the band's name attracted some criticism since it appeared to be derived from Nazi culture (an opinion which Peel ostensibly subscribed to, as evidenced by his comments when interviewed on TV about punk), but the origin was actually an article in The Guardian about Kampuchea, seen by the band's long-standing manager, Rob Gretton. The band's first performance under that name was at the Beach Club in Manchester on 25 October 1980. Peel had missed out on seeing JD live, but was luckier with New Order, and got to see them on 9 February 1981 at the London gay club Heaven.

Once Kat's Karavan was aware of their existence, they were approached with a view to doing a session, but as JP averred on the first broadcast (16 February 1981), "they, showing a greater wisdom than us perhaps, decided to wait until they felt they'd got it absolutely right." The first session was recorded on 26 January 1981 and showed that they were yet to shake off their earlier style and forge their own identity, despite the fact that one song, 'I.C.B.', was rumoured to stand for 'Ian Curtis Buried.' Nevertheless, John labelled it "very impressive" and it was repeated once a month for the next three months.

The band's first single, 'Ceremony' b/w 'In A Lonely Place', debuted on Peel's show on 23 February 1981, nearly two weeks prior to release, and he took the unusual step on the fly of turning the 12 inch over and playing the B side while on air. (The single subsequently made number 34 in the UK charts, and a re-recording featuring Gillian came out in September.) These two songs had been written whilst JD were still extant, and in fact a live recording of 'Ceremony' turned up on Still, released on 8 October 1981. The fact that JD material was continually being released highlighted the fact that NO seemed to be treading water. Apart from the Ceremony re-release and the Peel Session repeats, the summer of '81 passed with no new material (in August, Peel suggested that if a new LP did not materialise soon, they could be re-christened 'Old Order.')

Movement, which came out in November, did little to assuage this assumption, meeting as it did with mixed reviews. The team had experienced difficulty working with producer Martin Hannett and this showed on the record (after 1981, they would never work with him again, even though he showed them how to use a mixing board during the sessions). The band visited New York and came into contact with the disco and club scene, which undoubtedly contributed to the more upbeat sound of the next single, 'Procession / Everything's Gone Green.'

Rebirth

Temptation was released in March 1982 and marked an epochal phase where the dance music they had been absorbing came to fruition. It was available in two different versions on the 7 and 12 inch, topped the 1982 Festive Fifty yearly chart and also made #18 in the All-Time. Their growing fan base ensured that it reached number 29 in the UK single charts. However, apart from their second Peel session in June, no other material by the band appeared during the year, presumably due to their heavy involvement with the opening of the Hacienda club in Manchester. That session featured two tracks that were neither subsequently recorded in the studio nor performed live, 'Too Late' and 'Turn The Heater On' (the latter virtually unique in the band's repertoire in that it was a cover of a reggae tune by Keith Hudson).

However, the appearance of Blue Monday in March and the album Power, Corruption & Lies in May 1983 cemented the new style with which the band would from now on become identified. The single in particular has become their defining moment, with the throbbing synth drums and swirling electro melisma (coupled with somewhat mysterious lyrics) became a club hit and reached the UK top 10 twice in the same year, with remixed versions also doing well in 1988 and 1995. It sold around three million copies worldwide. [1] It was followed up by the equally club-friendly Confusion.

This was also a period when the band were promulgating an 'anti-image': their sleeves did not mention tracks or names (instead relying on a kind of of colour coding system), singles did not appear on LPs, they gave few interviews, and their concerts were extremely brief, with no encores. Naturally, Blue Monday topped the 1983 Festive Fifty, despite some concerned listeners who begged Peel to fix the chart so that something less predictable would replace it. However, one cannot deny the fact that NO had forged an influential style and at last shaken off the ghosts of the past.

The Pinnacle Of Success

The band released only two singles in 1984, Thieves Like Us and Murder: the latter in particular featured a more bass-oriented sound that was in some ways a reversal of their earlier style. This extended hiatus was a lead-up to 1985's Low-Life which featured pictures of members of the band on the sleeve and a collection of thrilling, tuneful tracks that presaged the more accessible direction their music would take in their most commercially successful period at the end of the 80s. However, the singles did not sell particularly well at this time, with only Thieves Like Us managing to make the UK Top 40. It also seemed that the band were attempting to distance themselves from their origins somewhat: Peel claimed that he could not find anything out about their activities due to an inability to get past their management. [2]

The two Peel Sessions were finally released on Strange Fruit in 1986 and 1987, the former being the label's first issue. September 1986 saw the appearance of Brotherhood in tandem with Bizarre Love Triangle, the single that broke the band in the US and was the only separately released track on the LP. Surprisingly, NO did not feature in the 1986 Festive Fifty at all.

In the summer of 1987, Substance, a double album of A and B sides summing up their career, saw the first release on CD of singles to date only out on vinyl, and in tandem with this, the moody and beat-laden True Faith made number 4 in the UK charts and #7 in the 1987 Festive Fifty. (Despite the fact that the song hinted at drug influences, the unusual video for the song helped to popularise their music with a younger audience, due to the almost slapstick leanings. A remix would also crack the UK top 10 in 1994.)

The band were becoming heavily influenced by the dance scene evident in Ibiza and recorded 1988's Fine Time there. This opened 1989's Technique, their first new album for nearly three years. It debuted at number 1 in the UK album charts and mixed the then current fad for acid house with tracks that continued their earlier guitar and drums based style. In the following year, a one-off collaboration with comedian and actor Keith Allen and the England football team, World In Motion, written to tie in with the World Cup, gave the band their one and only number 1 single in Britain.

Side Projects, Hiatus, Reunion and final split

There was an extended gap between this success and the 1993 LP Republic, which was released on London (Factory Records now having gone bust) and the band began to fragment. Sumner formed Electronic, Morris and Gilbert became the Other Two, and Hook recorded with Revenge. The band did not meet for five years, when (at the instigation of Gretton) they reformed to play the Reading Festival (and started to feature long-neglected JD material again). On the back of this, Peel scored something of an exclusive by getting the band back in the studio for an interview, a selection of their favourite tracks, and their first session for 16 years (with Bobby Gillespie of Jesus & Mary Chain): the results went out on 30 December 1998. (This was a reversal of the situation bemoaned by Peel in 1993 when Republic was sent as an advance copy to Pete Tong, who according to John never even played it.)

Once again, a new LP was a long time coming, although Brutal, their contribution to the soundtrack of the film The Beach, received its first play on Kat's Karavan. Get Ready did not appear until 2001. In the autumn, they contributed a video track to Peel's 40th anniversary on the radio celebrations. At this time, Gillian Gilbert left the band: she and Stephen Morris were now married and she wanted to care for their children. She was replaced by Phil Cunningham, and in this guise they released Waiting For The Siren's Call in 2005. This was to prove their last studio album: there was an acrimonious split with Peter Hook in 2007 and the band reformed without him in 2011.

Festive Fifty Entries

New Order were the fourth most successful act in the history of Festive Fifty during Peel's lifetime, according to Mark Whitby in The Festive Fifty (Nevin Publishing, pg 151), using David Gedge's formula of one point for a 50th placing and 50 points for a chart-topper, additionally weighted to discount the effect of multiple entries of the same song in all-time lists. This puts the band ahead of Joy Division, who were 6th, and behind only the Smiths (3rd), the Wedding Present (2nd) and the Fall (1st).

New order - Perfect kiss (10 minutes version)09:30

New order - Perfect kiss (10 minutes version)

Perfect Kiss

True Faith - New Order (HQ Audio)04:11

True Faith - New Order (HQ Audio)

True Faith

Peelenium

Sessions

Four sessions. All were released by Strange Fruit, the first two as 12" singles (The Peel Session (26th January 1981) and The Peel Sessions), then re-released on the Peel Sessions CD. The third and fourth sessions were both included in New Order In Session. The first 12" and final CD were respectively the first and last releases by Strange Fruit.

1. Recorded: 1981-01-26. First broadcast: 16 February 1981. Repeated: 05 March 1981, 16 April 1981, 14 May 1981, 28 December 1981

  • Truth / Senses / I.C.B. / Dreams Never End

2. Recorded: Unknown (private tape). First broadcast: 01 June 1982. Repeated: 05 July 1982, 25 October 1982, 23 December 1982

  • Turn The Heater On / We All Stand / Too Late / 586

3. Recorded: 1998-11-24. First broadcast: 30 December 1998. No repeats.

  • Isolation / Touched / True Faith / Paradise / Atmosphere

4. Recorded: Unknown (video). First broadcast: 11 October 2001. No repeats.

  • Transmission

Live

  1. Regret
  2. Touched By The Hand Of God
  3. Isolation
  4. Atmosphere
  5. Heart And Soul
  6. Paradise
  7. Bizarre Love Triangle
  8. True Faith
  9. Temptation
  10. Blue Monday
  11. World In Motion

Other Shows Played

(The following list was compiled only from the database of this site and Lorcan's Tracklistings Archive and is certainly incomplete. Please add further details if known.)

1981
1982
1983
(JP: Many people...asked me to fiddle the results so that this wouldn't be number one, but that would have seemed to be an unfair thing to do, and not like me at all.)
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1992
1993
  • 26 February 1993: (JP: "I almost had for you tonight - I thought I had for you - the new New Order record, because I was down in Broadcasting House reception and I saw an envelope behind the desk which said, "acetates of new New Order record". So I went over and had a closer look and they were addressed to Pete Tong. And he didn't even play them to you! But there you are, old loyalties you know, they count for nothing really do they in these competitive times?")
  • 12 March 1993: Regret (Fire Island mix)
  • 06 April 1993 (John Peel Is Jakki Brambles): Regret (Fire Island mix) (single) London
  • 09 April 1993 (John Peel Is Jakki Brambles): Regret (single) London
  • 08 July 1993: Peel presents 1-hour New Order documentary 'How Does It Feel' on R1
  • 26 November 1993: Spooky (Magimix) (EP Spooky)
  • 25 December 1993: Regret (LP-Republic) London FF#13
1996
1998
1999
2000
  • 12 January 2000: True Faith (LP-Substance) Factory ATFF#32
  • 18 January 2000: Brutal (Soundtrack CD-The Beach) London (Exclusive first play for the song that would make the 2000 Festive Fifty at #26)
  • 19 January 2000: Temptation (12 inch) Factory ATFF#19
  • 19 January 2000: Ceremony (7 inch) Factory ATFF#17
  • 20 January 2000: Blue Monday 95 (Hawtin Mix) (CD-The Rest Of New Order) London
  • 20 January 2000: Brutal (Soundtrack CD-The Beach) London Peelenium 2000
(JP: I thought this one would be higher, to be honest.)
2001
2002
2003
2004
Other

See Also

External Links

Footnotes
  1. However, on the evidence of this World Service clip, JP was initially less than enthusiastic about it.
  2. See Peel 025 (BFBS).

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