Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Dance Dissection

 I need a break from the general stupidity and nastiness of the current political campaign.  Last night, in an open threat at Wonkette, one of the commentariat posted some 80s music to liven up the mood, among which was New Order's 1983 new wave dance classic Blue Monday:  


The song charted in the UK, hitting number nine, which led to a glitchy live performance on Top of the Pops:


I figured I'd post videos of the various songs which inspired the song's various components.  It'll be interesting for me to line up all of these ancestors in one place, seeing that I first heard Blue Monday as an adolescent listening to the storied WLIR.

Various band members have copped to the fact that elements of the song were lifted from other songs.  Bassist Peter Hook confessed that the synthesized rhythm of the song was stolen from Donna Summer's Our Love:

Lead vocalist Bernard Sumner copped to stealing a bassline from Sylvester's You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real):

Sumner also copped to lifting portions of Klein + MBO's Dirty Talk:

The sepulchral chant in the song is sampled from Kraftwerk's Uranium:

Keyboardist Gillian Gilbert noted that the sound of the bass was reminiscent of Ennio Morricone, I'm hearing the guitar from the 'Musical Pocket Watch' theme from For a Few Dollars More:

There's also a resemblance between Blue Monday and a novelty track by Manchester act Gerry and the Holograms:

Poking around, I found a short video in which band members go over most of these influences:

There was a 1988 Quincy Jones remix of Blue Monday which was an international smash hit:

Well, this deep dive into an old favorite was a fun distraction from the current news, and who doesn't like dance music?


Li'l Innocent said...

I'm not familiar with any of the tracks mentioned, but that's very interesting.

J.S. Bach used to cop from Vivaldi. When suit was brought against George Harrison for lifting the tune from "He's So Fine" for "My Sweet Lord" he readily acknowledged the very close resemblance, that he had indeed used the tune but didn't realize he was doing it. Composer's and musician's minds must be so full of tunes. Even a mere mortal like me has all kinds of melodic snippets rattling around, and I couldn't tell you what half of them are.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

My favorite story along these lines is Paul McCartney's suspicion that 'Yesterday' was an old standard or folktale, and the effort he made to hunt down an elusive song which didn't exist, until he realized that it was original to him.

This is a great theme in Tim Powers' wonderful novel, The Anubis Gates.