12 TUNES OF CHRISTMAS: Incredible Intros. #1: New Order – Blue Monday [1983]

Well, we’ve made it. Over the past 12 days, 909originals has brought you what it deems to be the most devastating track openers and incredible intros in the history of dance music (the full list can be found below). And what better way to round off proceedings than with a track that arguably influences the lot.

You could write a treatise on the significance of New Order’s Blue Monday to the history of modern music – it enabled Messers Sumner, Hook etc to lay the ashes of Joy Division firmly to rest, was released in an iconic die cut ‘floppy disk’ sleeve designed by Peter Saville, and originally started life as a 20-minute soundscape called Video 5-8-6, copies of which are floating around on the Internet.

Is it overplayed? Certainly. Is it epoch-defining? Most definitely.

As for the intro? Find me a more influential electronic drum loop in music history, and I’ll call you a liar. To create the epic, stuttering drum beat, the band turned to an Oberheim DMX drum machine, used widely in early hip hop and synth pop, which is followed by a rising synthesiser riff – it’s not until around the 1.18 mark that an actual instrument makes an appearance – Peter Hook’s characteristic bass.

As Songlexikon recalls, ‘Running at over seven minutes, Blue Monday begins with an extended instrumental intro. The track features a unique rhythmic stutter and a sixteenth-note quantized drum beat that were famously programmed on the Oberheim DMX. These beats are followed by a pulsating bassline, originating from a Moog Source synthesizer, and sequenced with a Powertran ETI 1024 Composer that Sumner had assembled at home. As the intro gradually unfolds, the listener hears a high-register melodic lead, played by Peter Hook on his Shergold Marathon 6-string bass guitar. […] An evocative angel-like chorus is sampled by Morris on the Emulator and Gilbert finally enters with a shimmering string sequence on a Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 synthesizer.”

Or, in layman’s terms, THIS is how you create history.

Congratulations to New Order for taking the top spot in this year’s 12 Tunes of Christmas countdown. Do you agree? We’d love to get your feedback, and suggest any tunes that you feel should have made it in to the list. And most importantly, MERRY CHRISTMAS!


#12: Royal House – Can You Party
#11: LFO – Freak
#10: Maurice – This Is Acid (K & T Mix)
#9: T99 – Anasthasia
#8: Laurent Garnier – Sound of the Big Babou
#7: Aphex Twin – Come To Daddy
#6: X-101 – Sonic Destroyer
#5: The KLF – What Time is Love?
#4: Pump Panel – Confusion (Pump Panel Reconstruction)
#3: Underworld – Rez
#2: Orbital – Chime
#1:  New Order – Blue Monday

[Kudos to KingOSynthPop for the YouTube upload]

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