Many movies rely on songs to set the mood, and there are some that are relied upon a lot – what we like to call ‘Soundtrack Staples’. This time around we check out New Order’s majestic Blue Monday.
We defy anybody not to recognise this synth-based masterpiece from the opening kick drum pattern.
Originally released in 1983, the band intended Blue Monday to be an encore song – they could just press a few buttons to set it going and nick right off to the edible, drinkable and other delights of the band room. As they gradually realised what they had, however, they saw more potential for it.
It was subsequently exclusively released on 12″ vinyl, with no markings as to what it was called or who it was by (unless you cracked the colour code). The band and record company didn’t think it would sell that well, and spent a fortune creating cutout record sleeves that made it look like a giant floppy disk. They cost so much that legend has it a loss was made on each copy sold (although band member Stephen Morris duspiutes this in his book Fast Forward: Confessions of a Post-Punk Percussionist: Volume II). Blue Monday went on to become the biggest-selling 12″ single of all time…
That would likely be because it was brilliant – with nods to ’70s disco, classical music and a Kraftwerkian future that makes it still sound as vital today. Regardless, Quincy Jones saw fit to remix it in 1988 – producing Blue Monday ’88 – adding a whole bunch of stuff that made it busier, but arguably not better. It was then re-remixed again in 1995 – you guessed it, Blue Monday ’95 – but no messing about came close to brilliance of the original.
Chart-wise, the original peaked at number 13 in Australia, no mean feat when it was only available in the more expensive 12″ format (but only with a crappy printed sleeve). The more pocket-friendly Blue Monday ’88 came in a range of formats and hit number four here, while the 1995 remix struggled to 109 before free-falling.
New Order as a band have been popular on many soundtracks – Pretty in Pink alone featured three of their songs – but at last check Blue Monday has appeared more times than any other of their works. Still, while it has featured in several TV shows and video games, it wasn’t until 1998 that it first graced a movie soundtrack.
Here’s a recent “lyric video” for the original, which didn’t have a full-length video…
Meanwhile, here’s the genuine video clip that was made for Blue Monday ’88:
The Wedding Singer (1998)
What a mighty fine place to start a soundtrack career – in an (ace) Adam Sandler film that features almost every other song from the 1980s! Still, Blue Monday was presented as a perfect song to breakdance to at a club – a club ever-so-salubriously named ‘Spanky’s’.
Buffalo Soldiers (2001)
Joaquin Phoenix, Anna Paquin and Ed Harris starred in this post-Berlin Wall black market army brat scam flick. Which, obviously, featured Blue Monday.
A Norwegian flick that was a critic’s darling. Which, unfortunately, means that very few saw it.
A film about a Russian nuclear power plant worker being exposed to deadly radiation also exposed viewers to a deadly dose of the Blue Monday ‘Hardfloor’ remix.
Starter for 10 (2006)
Oh look, another club scene for Blue Monday, as James McAvoy and his new roomies go out for a bit of retro fun.
The History Boys (2006)
The Tony Award-winning play hit movie screens, and while we haven’t seen it, we do know that Blue Monday featured rather prominently in the trailer…
Liam Neeson does the typical have-somebody-take-over-your-life-while-you’re-in-a-coma schtick in this action thriller that has a snippet of a club scene shown in the trailer, so we’re guessing that’s where Blue Monday popped up. Especially as it’s the ‘Oliver Lang & Rob Blazye’ remix that features.
New Order and soccer, together at las- erm, again! No World in Motion though, instead this family-friendly flick features Blue Monday, which you likely sussed as that’s what this whole article is about. No sign of it in the trailer though.
Behaving Badly (2014)
A teen movie (that we missed) with a fairly known cast – Selena Gomez, Mary-Louise Parker, Elisabeth Shue, Dylan McDermott, Heather Graham, Jason Lee, Cary Elwes, Patrick Warburton, Gary Busey…
Matthew McConaughey goes searching for gold in Indonesia. Hopefully he packed his bongos so he could tap along to Blue Monday…
Atomic Blonde (2017)
There’s a double dose of Blue Monday in this slick Charlize Theron actioner, with New Order’s ’88 version and a cover by Californian noise rockers Health.
Ready Player One (2018)
Oh look! A club scene!