In May 1980, the band Joy Division was devastated by the death of lead singer Ian Curtis. The three remaining band members, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris, decided they would keep making music together, and a few months later, Gillian Gilbert joined them. They called the band New Order.
New Order is one of the most influential bands of the last four decades. Their song “Blue Monday” came out in 1983, and it holds the record for being the best-selling 12-inch single of all time. Rolling Stone put “Blue Monday” on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and Pitchfork included it in its Top 5 Best Songs of the 1980s.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of “Blue Monday,” in this episode, New Order discusses how they created the song. This episode was produced in collaboration with Transmissions, the official New Order and Joy Division podcast produced by Cup & Nuzzle. We’ve put together this story out of the hours and hours of interviews they’ve recorded, along with a new interview I did with Peter Hook. As you’ll hear the four of them explain, nothing about Blue Monday’s success, or really even its existence, was something that they planned for.
You can buy or stream “Blue Monday” here.
Illustration by Carlos Lerma.
For a transcript of this episode, click here.
MOOG – synth
Britannia Row Studios
Shergold Marathon, Peter Hook’s 6-string bass
For a Few Dollars More – Clint Eastwood movie featuring music by Ennio Morricone
Prophet-5 – synth
Rob Gretton – manager of Joy Division and New Order