Happy 2008!

And welcome to another year of "Happy 25th Birthdays!"

1983 was an outstanding year for Waist High music, so let's begin with one of the greats, shall we?

At 7:27 minutes in length, "Blue Monday" is one of the longest tracks ever to chart in the UK. It is recognised as the biggest selling 12" single of all time, but as Factory Records were not members of the British Phonographic Industry Association, it was not eligible for an official gold disc.

"Blue Monday" is often seen as one of the most important crossover tracks of the '80s music scene. Synthpop had been a major force in British popular music for several years, but "Blue Monday" was arguably the first British dance record to exhibit an obvious influence on the New York club scene, particularly the work of producers like Arthur Baker.

In an interview for Channel 4's countdown of the biggest selling UK singles, the band claimed to have written the song in response to crowd disappointment at the fact that they never played encores. This song, they say, allowed them to return to the stage, press play on a synthesizer and leave the stage again.

"Blue Monday" has been a hit several times in the UK. In 1983, it charted twice, initially reaching #12, then re-entering the chart later in the year and climbing to #9, helped by the fact that neither side of the single (the B-side "The Beach" was an instrumental re-working of "Blue Monday") was featured on the UK version of the group's subsequent album, Power, Corruption & Lies.

In 1988, "Blue Monday" was officially remixed by Quincy Jones and John Potoker under the title "Blue Monday 88." The single reached #3 in the British charts. A further official remix/reissue in 1995, with a mix by Hardfloor as the lead track, also made the British Top 20.

So what do you do when you happen to be absolutely obsessed with such a legendary and influential piece of wax? Well, just like this dude named Spencer Graham, you start an owner's club.

Graham in his own words:

"What is it about this record that so fascinates me? Is it its ubiquity? Is it its timelessness? Is it its sampleablity? [...] There are countless other reasons why I'm so into this record, not least the fact that it is a perfect, complete package of sound and design. I've yet to see a better record sleeve, thanks Peter Saville and Brett Wickens! This is where 12" vinyl comes into its own, I still buy it in preference over CDs. Those shitty little j cards you find in CD singles just can't compete with the visual and tactile impact of a 12"s sleeve.

"Whenever I see a copy of 'Blue Monday' in a charity shop or at a bootsale, I have to buy it. I can't bear the thought that it might otherwise get thrown out. End up in a landfill site somewhere. Criminal. Currently I have 8 copies of the Fac 73 version. But this is nothing compared to Erol Alkan's 14 copies. A fact which acted as a catalyst for this very work."

Graham's aim is to unite all owners of this legendary 12" by inviting them to send in photos of their copy. Currently there are dozens of pictures of owners from all around the globe.

Photo courtesy: Spencer Graham via bluemondayownersclub.com
Material: wikipedia.org & filter27.com