New Order Peter Hook reveals How The Biggest-selling 12-inch Single in Music History
New Order’s “Blue Monday” released 40 years ago on March 7, 1983, and went on to become one of the most important and beloved songs of the new wave era. The nine-minute synth classic influenced and inspired everyone from Dave Stewart of Eurythmics to electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk, and to this day it holds the record as the best-selling 12-inch single in recording history, with one million copies sold. More than units transferred. The band’s original UK single.
Iconic founding bassist of the Manchester group, Peter
The “Hooky” hook explains that it all came down to the indie label Factory Records’ decision regarding the single’s very famous – but very expensive – packaging. [Graphic designer] Peter [Saville] came to the practice venue, and he made a floppy disc and he loved it,” recalls Hook, as he sits down with Yahoo Entertainment, reflecting on his illustrious discography with both New Order and the band. New Order sprung up, the equally impressive Joy Division, who were were recently jointly nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “And he felt that we should [look at] the sleeve like this. … Without them knowing, it was three times had to be die-cut, which made the sleeve ridiculously expensive – which [New Order bandmate] Stephen Morris thought was hilarious, because you were paying for the bits you didn’t get, the holes, Where did the card go!”
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Factory Records label head Tony Wilson
The sleeve could unfortunately earn 10p around 20 cents more than the record cost, so every time we sold a copy of ‘Blue Monday’ we were losing 10p,” Hooks elaborates with a wry chuckle: “It became the best-selling 12-inch of all time! I remember Factory Records label head Tony Wilson going to great trouble to make a brass factory emblem that said, ‘Well done, Hookie!’ Celebrating a loss of 50,000 pounds. … I think it really seals its place in history as a mythical creature.
A long line of errors both comical and tragic
The financial failure of what should have been the success of New Order’s commercial career was just one in a long line of errors, both comical and tragic, for the beleaguered band. Arguably, the saddest incident occurred when it came to the famed post-punk outfit known as Joy Division, fronted by the charismatic but deeply troubled Ian Curtis.