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Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Co-founders Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys in 2011
Co-founders Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys in 2011
Background information
Also known asOMD
OriginMeols, Wirral, Merseyside, England
GenresElectronic, new wave, synth-pop, experimental
Years active1978–1996, 2006–present
Labels100%, Virgin, Dindisc, Factory, Bright Antenna A&M[1] Epic[2]
Associated actsThe Id, Dalek I Love You, Godot, The Listening Pool, Atomic Kitten, Onetwo
MembersAndy McCluskey
Paul Humphreys
Martin Cooper
Stuart Kershaw
Past membersDave Hughes
Michael Douglas
Graham Weir
Neil Weir
Phil Coxon
Nigel Ipinson
Abe Jukes
Malcolm Holmes

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) are an English electronic band formed in Wirral, Merseyside in 1978. Spawned by earlier band The Id, the outfit is composed of co-founders Andy McCluskey (vocals, bass guitar) and Paul Humphreys (keyboards, vocals), along with Martin Cooper (various instruments) and Stuart Kershaw (drums); McCluskey is the only constant member. OMD released their debut single, "Electricity", in 1979, and gained popularity throughout Europe with the 1980 anti-war song "Enola Gay". The band achieved broader recognition via their album Architecture & Morality (1981) and its three singles, all of which were international hits.

Although retrospectively acclaimed, the experimental Dazzle Ships (1983) eroded European support. The band embraced a more straightforward pop sound on Junk Culture (1984), while continuing to experiment via newly acquired digital samplers; this change in direction led to greater success in the United States, and yielded the 1986 hit, "If You Leave". A year after the release of The Best of OMD (1988), creative differences rendered McCluskey the only remaining member of the group as Humphreys formed spin-off band The Listening Pool. OMD would return with a new line-up and explore the dance-pop genre: Sugar Tax (1991) and its initial singles were sizeable hits. By the mid-1990s, however, electronic music had been supplanted by alternative rock, and both OMD and The Listening Pool disbanded in 1996. McCluskey later conceived pop girl group Atomic Kitten, for whom he served as a principal songwriter, while Humphreys performed as half of the duo Onetwo.

In 2006, OMD reformed with Humphreys back in the fold and began to work on material more akin to their early output. The band re-established themselves as a chart act, and kept on touring extensively. They have sold over 40 million records to date.

Roots and early years (1975–1978)

Founders Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys met at primary school in Meols in the early 1960s, and in the mid-1970s, as teenagers, they were involved in different local groups but shared a distaste for guitar-driven rock with a macho attitude popular among their friends at the time.[3][4]

By 1975 McCluskey had formed Equinox, as bassist and vocalist, alongside schoolmate Malcolm Holmes on drums, while Humphreys was their roadie. During that time McCluskey and Humphreys discovered their electronic style, influenced by Kraftwerk.[5] After Equinox, McCluskey joined Pegasus,[6][7] and, later, the short-lived Hitlerz Underpantz, alongside Humphreys.[8][9] McCluskey would usually sing and play bass guitar; roadie and electronics enthusiast Humphreys graduated to keyboards. The pair shared a love of electronic music, particularly Brian Eno and Kraftwerk.

In September 1977,[10] McCluskey and Humphreys put together the seven-piece (three singers, two guitarists, bassist, drummer, and keyboard player) Wirral group The Id, whose line-up included drummer Malcolm Holmes and McCluskey's girlfriend Julia Kneale on vocals. The group began to gig regularly in the Merseyside area, performing original material (largely written by McCluskey and Humphreys). They had quite a following on the scene, and one of their tracks ("Julia's Song") was included on a compilation record of local bands called Street to Street. Meanwhile, Humphreys and McCluskey collaborated on a side-project called VCL XI (named after a misreading of a valve from the diagram on the back cover of Kraftwerk's Radio-Activity album; the name of valve is actually written with Arabic numbers, VCL 11, and not Roman numerals). This side-project allowed them to pursue their more bizarre electronic experiments, often working with tape collages, home-made kit-built synthesisers, and circuit-bent radios.

In August 1978, The Id split due to musical differences. The same month, McCluskey joined Wirral electronic outfit Dalek I Love You as their lead singer, but quit in September.[10]

Formation and first releases (1978–1979)

In September 1978, the same month he left Dalek I Love You, McCluskey rejoined Humphreys and their VCL XI project was renamed Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. The name was gleaned from a list of song lyrics and ideas that were written on McCluskey's bedroom wall;[4] the name was chosen so as not to be mistaken for a punk band.[11] OMD began to gig regularly as a duo, performing to backing tracks played from a TEAC 4-track tape-recorder christened "Winston" (after the antihero of George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four). Their debut performance was in October 1978 at Eric's Club in Liverpool.[12] Finding themselves on the cusp of an electronic new wave in British pop-music, they released a one-off single, "Electricity", with independent label Factory Records. The track was supposed to be produced by the Factory Records producer Martin Hannett. However, the A-side was the band's original demo produced by their friend, owner of Winston and soon to be manager, Paul Collister under the pseudonym Chester Valentino (taken from a nightclub called Valentino's in the nearby city of Chester). The single's sleeve was designed by Peter Saville, whose distinctive graphics provided OMD's public image well into the mid-1980s.

In 1979 they were asked to support Gary Numan on his first major British tour. Humphreys noted, "[Numan] gave us our first big break. He saw us opening for Joy Division and he asked us to go on tour with him... we went from the small clubs to playing huge arenas. Gary was very good to us."[13] Numan later supported OMD on a 1993 arena tour.[14]

Classic line-up (1980–1988)

The eponymous first album (1980) showcased the band's live set at the time, and was basically the Humphreys/McCluskey duo, although it included some guest drums from Id drummer Malcolm Holmes and saxophone from Wirral musician Martin Cooper. It had a raw, poppy, melodic synth-pop sound. Dindisc arranged for the song "Messages" to be re-recorded (produced by Gong bassist Mike Howlett) and released as a single – it gave the band their first hit. Dave Hughes, a founder member of Dalek I Love You who joined OMD in early 1980, is featured in the "Messages" video.

A tour followed, Winston the tape recorder was augmented with live drums from Malcolm Holmes, and Dalek I Love You's Dave Hughes on synths. Hughes then left OMD in November 1980, replaced by Martin Cooper.

The second album Organisation (a reference to the band which preceded Kraftwerk, founded by Kraftwerk's original members Florian Schneider-Esleben and Ralf Hütter) followed later that year, recorded as a three-piece with Humphreys, McCluskey and Holmes. It was again produced by Howlett, and had a rather moodier, dark feel. The album included the hit single "Enola Gay", named after the plane that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The song was intended to be included on the debut album, but was left out at the final selection. The tour for this album had a 4-piece band line-up, with saxophonist Martin Cooper (another Dalek I Love You alumnus) recruited for keyboard duties. In early 1981, Record Mirror named OMD as the fourth-best band of 1980; NME and Sounds both named the group as one of the 10 best new acts of that year.[15]

Howlett then presided over the recording of a further hit single, "Souvenir", co-written by Cooper & Humphreys. It ushered in a lush choral electronic sound. The song also became OMD's biggest UK hit to date. In November 1981, their most commercially successful album was released in the UK and Europe – Architecture & Morality. The group went into the studio with Richard Mainwaring producing. Cooper then temporarily dropped out and was replaced by Mike Douglas, but this change was reversed by the time the album was released and a tour followed. The album's sound saw OMD's original synth-pop sound augmented by the Mellotron,[16] an instrument previously associated with prog rock bands. They used it to add very atmospheric swatches of string, choir, and other sounds to their palette. Two more hit singles "Joan of Arc" and "Maid of Orleans" (which became the biggest-selling single of 1982 in Germany[17]) were on the album. "Joan of Arc" and "Maid of Orleans" were originally both titled "Joan of Arc"; the name of the latter single was changed at the insistence of the publishers and to avoid confusion. It became "Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)" and later simply "Maid of Orleans".

In 1983 the band lost commercial momentum somewhat, with the release of their more experimental Dazzle Ships album, which mixed melancholy synth ballads and uptempo synth-pop with musique concrète and short wave radio tape collages. It was recorded by the 4-piece Humphreys/Holmes/Cooper/McCluskey line-up, and produced by Rhett Davies. Its relative commercial failure caused a crisis of confidence for Humphreys and McCluskey and brought about a deliberate move towards the mainstream.[17]

Pop-oriented recordings (1984–1988)

1984's Junk Culture was a shift to a more pop-style sound and the band used digital sampling keyboards such as the Fairlight CMI and the E-mu Emulator. The album was a success, reassuring the group about their new direction. The "Locomotion" single returned the group to the top five in the UK and was a good indicator of the group's new found sound, notably the adoption of a classic verse–chorus form, which is something the group had often previously avoided. In 1985, the band expanded to a sextet, featuring new band members Graham Weir (guitar, keyboards, trombone) and Neil Weir (trumpet, bass guitar), and released Crush, produced by Stephen Hague in Paris and New York. The success of the single "So in Love" in the US Billboard Hot 100 also led to some success for the LP which entered the American Top 40, establishing the group in the US and making Stephen Hague a sought-after producer. During this period, the band also recorded a special version of "So in Love" in duet with the French pop singer Etienne Daho.[18]

Later in 1985 the band was asked to write a song for the John Hughes film Pretty in Pink. They selected "Goddess of Love". The ending of the film was re shot. After the song received a negative reaction from test groups, OMD wrote "If You Leave" in less than 24 hours[4] and it became a top 5 hit in the US, Canada, and New Zealand in 1986. At the end of this year, the same six piece line-up also released The Pacific Age, but the band began to see their critical and public popularity wane notably in the UK. The album's first single, "(Forever) Live and Die", was a top 10 hit across Europe[19] and entered the top 20 in both the UK[20] and US. Journalist Hugo Lindgren argued that the success of "If You Leave" has concealed from US audiences the group's history of making innovative music.[4]

Split and McCluskey-led OMD (1989–1996)

During 1988 the band appeared poised to consolidate their US success, with a support slot for Depeche Mode's Music for the Masses Tour at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on 18 June 1988, a top 20 US hit with "Dreaming" and a successful "Best of" album. However, it was at this point when OMD broke in two. Graham and Neil Weir left at the end of the 1988 US tour and co-founder Paul Humphreys subsequently called it a day, unhappy with the band's commercial orientation. Finally, Cooper and Holmes left OMD to join Humphreys in founding a new band called the Listening Pool in 1989.

It left only McCluskey to carry on, essentially becoming a solo artist working under the OMD banner. McCluskey's first album from the new OMD was the dance-pop Sugar Tax album in May 1991, which charted at No. 3 in the UK. McCluskey recruited in 1989 Liverpool musicians Raw Unlimited (Lloyd Massett, Stuart Kershaw, Nathalie Loates) as collaborators for the making of Sugar Tax: writing credits carefully distinguished between songs written by OMD (i.e., McCluskey) and songs written by OMD/Kershaw/Massett. This iteration of the group was initially successful with hits like "Sailing on the Seven Seas" and "Pandora's Box", with lesser success on fellow chart entries, "Call My Name" and "Then You Turn Away". McCluskey's live band was then formed by Nigel Ipinson (keyboards), Phil Coxon (keyboards), and Abe Juckes (drums) since late 1990. Kershaw, Ipinson, and Coxon from 1992 to 1996 contributed to OMD albums and a 1993 tour.

The album Liberator was released in 1993. It peaked at No. 14 on the UK Albums Chart. Lead single "Stand Above Me" peaked at no. 21 on the UK Singles Chart, with follow-up "Dream of Me" charting at no. 24. Paul Humphreys, while no longer part of the group, co-wrote the single "Everyday" (a No. 59 UK chart entry).

The fifth track from Liberator, "Dream of Me", was built around a sample from "Love's Theme" by Love Unlimited Orchestra, a track which was written and produced by Barry White.[21] To release the "Dream of Me" track as an OMD single, however, McCluskey had to agree that the single release of the track would remove the actual "Love's Theme" sample, but still be officially titled "Dream of Me (Based on Love's Theme)", and furthermore would still give a writing credit to White.

Also in 1993, McCluskey made contributions to the Esperanto album, a project by former Kraftwerk member Karl Bartos (then working under the moniker of Elektric Music).

McCluskey returned with a rotating cast of musicians for the 1996 album Universal, which featured two songs co-written by Humphreys as well as a holdover from the Esperanto sessions, co-penned by Bartos. The record spawned OMD's first Top 20 hit in five years, "Walking on the Milky Way".

Disbandment (1996)

Though both Liberator and Universal produced minor hits, McCluskey retired the OMD name in late 1996, due to waning public interest. A second singles album was released in 1998, along with an EP of remixed material by such acts as Sash! and Moby.

Post-1996, McCluskey decided to focus on songwriting for such Liverpool based acts as Atomic Kitten and the Genie Queen, and trying to develop new Merseyside artists from his Motor Museum recording studio. With McCluskey focusing his talents elsewhere, Humphreys decided to work with his new musical partner Claudia Brücken, of the ZTT bands Propaganda and Act, as Onetwo. He also undertook a US live tour under the banner Paul Humphreys from OMD.

Reformation (2006–present)

An unexpected request to perform from a German Television show and McCluskey's divorce led the group to reform.[4] On 1 January 2006, Andy McCluskey announced plans to reform OMD with the McCluskey, Humphreys, Holmes, and Cooper line-up. The original plan was to tour the album Architecture & Morality and other pre-1983 material, then record a new album set for release in 2007.

In May 2007, the Architecture & Morality remastered CD was re-released together with a DVD featuring the Drury Lane concert from 1981 that had previously been available on VHS. Through May and June, the band toured with the "classic" line up of McCluskey, Humphreys, Holmes and Cooper. They began their set with a re-ordered but otherwise complete re-staging of the Architecture & Morality album. The second half of each concert featured a selection of their best known hits.

In Spring 2008, a live CD and DVD of the 2007 tour, OMD Live: Architecture & Morality & More, recorded at the London Hammersmith Apollo, was released as was a 25th anniversary re-release of Dazzle Ships, including six bonus tracks. At the same time, a brief October 2008 tour was announced, partly to tie-in with the Dazzle Ships album's 25th anniversary. China Crisis supported OMD on this tour.

In June 2009, an orchestral concert with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic was given in Liverpool. A recording of this concert was released on DVD in December.[22] In November and December, the band returned to arena touring as support for Simple Minds. OMD had performed with Night of the Proms in December 2006 in Germany and renewed the experience again in Belgium and the Netherlands that year.

They were the headline act at Britain's first Vintage Computer Festival at The National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park, in June 2010.[23] On 9 September 2010, Trevor Horn announced that OMD would perform as a special guest at the "first live gig" of The Buggles.[24] Their 11th studio album, History of Modern, was released in September, reaching No. 28 in the UK Albums Chart. A European tour followed in autumn.[25]

In March 2011, OMD played their first North American tour as the original line up since 1988. In September, the band appeared at the Electric Picnic 2011 festival in Stradbally, Co Laois, Ireland. In November 2011, OMD announced they were getting back to the studio to start work on their latest album, English Electric.[26]

On 12 March 2012, the band played a concert at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines. In August, OMD performed to South African audiences in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

On 29 January 2013, Goldenvoice announced that OMD will play the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, on 14 and 21 April.[27] On 11 February, OMD announced "Metroland" would be the first single from the forthcoming album English Electric. The single was released on 25 March, and includes the B-side "The Great White Silence."[28] The album English Electric was released in the UK on 8 April and entered the UK album chart at No. 12 and the German chart at No. 10. Reviews for both the album and their concerts have generally been positive.[4] For Record Store Day 2013, on 20 April, a 500-copy limited edition 10-inch picture disc EP "The Future Will Be Silent" from English Electric was made available, which includes a then-exclusive non-album track titled "Time Burns".[29][30]

For Record Store Day 2015, on 18 April, a 1000-copy limited edition 10-inch EP "Julia's Song (Dub Version)" from Junk Culture was made available, which includes an exclusive non-album track titled "10 to 1".

The band performed a one-off concert at The Royal Albert Hall, London on 9 May 2016 to a sell-out crowd, playing both Architecture & Morality and Dazzle Ships in their entirety, along with other songs that were pre-1983. The only song post 1983 they played was "History of Modern Part 1". The concert was recorded and made available on double CD right after the show. A triple LP vinyl recording of the concert was also made available.[31] OMD collaborated with Gary Barlow, Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman on the song "Thrill Me", co-written by Barlow and McCluskey for the soundtrack of the film Eddie the Eagle.[32] In October, work was begun on what was to be their 13th studio album The Punishment of Luxury,[33] which was released on 1 September 2017.[34] OMD toured Europe and North America in support of the album, with Stuart Kershaw replacing Holmes as the band's drummer.[35]

In 2018, OMD published a book entitled "Pretending to See the Future", which is a first-person "autobiography" about the band. It mixed fan-submitted memories with commentary from McCluskey, Humphreys, Cooper, Holmes, and Kershaw. For people who pre-ordered the book on PledgeMusic, they received a limited-edition flexi-disc containing a previously unheard demo of "Messages" from 1978.[36][37]

As part of the group's 40th-anniversary celebrations, a UK and European tour was announced in March 2019.[38] A retrospective deluxe boxset entitled Souvenir was also announced in August 2019.[39] The 40th anniversary collection will include the group's forty singles, including new release "Don't Go". It will also contain 22 previously unreleased recordings from the group's archive, selected and mixed by Paul Humphreys. Two audio live shows, one from 2011 and one from 2013, are also included together with two DVDs bringing together two more live concerts – Drury Lane in 1981 and Sheffield City Hall in 1985 – plus Crush – The Movie, and various BBC TV performances from Top of the Pops, The Old Grey Whistle Test and Later... with Jools Holland.

The 40th anniversary has seen their first since "Electricity" reach the charts for the first time, albeit in Scotland, reaching #22 in its first week.

Legacy and influence

Critic Hugo Lindgren wrote that OMD have cultivated a "legacy as musical innovators".[4] In February 2007 a Scotsman journalist said: "If Kraftwerk were the Elvis Presley of synth-pop, then Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark were its Beatles."[40] In 2008, American publication The A.V. Club noted that McCluskey and Humphreys were "often labeled as the 'Lennon-McCartney of synth-pop.'"[41] In a 2008 piece on OMD, The Quietus magazine editor John Doran called them "the only Liverpool band to come near to living up to the monolithic standards of productivity and creativity set in place by the Beatles," and asserted: "Orchestral Manouevres in the Dark are not one of the best synth bands ever: they are one of the best bands ever."[42] Veteran BBC DJ Simon Mayo described OMD as "the fathers of electronic music in this country [the UK]."[43]

OMD's experimental brand of synth-pop[44] has garnered limited mainstream attention.[45][46] The group generally eschew choruses, replacing them with synthesizer lines, and opt for unconventional lyrical subjects such as war and machinery;[47][17] the BBC wrote that "OMD were always more intellectual" than "contemporaries like Duran Duran and Eurythmics".[48] The band also rejected celebrity status[45] and strove "to have no image".[49] Despite the group's experimentation, they had an established knack for pop hooks;[50] AllMusic critic Mike DeGagne wrote that OMD's music was "a step above other keyboard pop music of the time, thanks to the combination of intelligently crafted hooks and colorful rhythms".[51] DeGagne's colleague Jon O'Brien remarked that the outfit were "ahead of their time".[52]

McCluskey in 2010 opined that OMD had become "the forgotten band"[45] (he had predicted in 1981, at the peak of the group's popularity, that they would soon be forgotten[53]). The band have nonetheless earned a growing cult following.[54][55] DJ Chris Evans remarked: "There are fans, and then there are OMD fans. [Their] fans may be among the greatest in the world... they are devout."[56] OMD have come to be regarded as one of the great Liverpool acts of the 1980s,[42][57] and pioneers of the synth-pop genre.[58][25][59][60] Architecture & Morality (1981), regarded as the group's seminal work,[61] had sold more than 4 million copies by early 2007; Sugar Tax (1991), the album that marked a commercial renaissance for the band, had sold more than three million by the same time period.[40] The experimental Dazzle Ships (1983), while not as commercially successful, has been retrospectively praised by critics.[62][63] OMD's overall record sales stand in excess of 40 million.[47][64][65]

The group regularly features on 1980s compilation albums and box sets; multiple OMD tracks feature on each of the three volumes of Ministry of Sound's Anthems: Electronic 80s series.[66][67][68] The band's songs (and samples of their work) have featured in films such as Urgh! A Music War (1982),[69] Weird Science (1985),[70] Pretty in Pink (1986),[4] Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988)[71] as well as in television shows including Scrum V, Ashes to Ashes,[72] Top Gear,[73] Chuck,[74] Cold Case,[75] Modern Family, The Goldbergs[76] and Castle.[77] Cover versions of "If You Leave" have appeared in the film Not Another Teen Movie (2001)[78] and the TV series The O.C.;[79] a season 6 episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation was named after the track. The 2015 film Ex Machina also incorporated their song "Enola Gay". Additionally, every episode of the TV show Hunters is named after an OMD song.[80]

Mid-1980s stylistic change

The group's ambitious early work earned them critical acclaim.[44] However, in response to the commercially underwhelming Dazzle Ships, the band moved toward a more radio-friendly sound on fifth album Junk Culture (1984) – while continuing to incorporate experimentalism[81][50] – which polarised critics.[82] Retrospective opinions are also mixed, with some journalists dismissing the group's recordings during that time, and others expressing an appreciation for the new direction. In a reflective 2006 article, Sean O'Neal in The A.V. Club said OMD would "give up" creatively after 1983's Dazzle Ships.[83] The Quietus writer Julian Marszalek in 2010 suggested that the band would have been "more fondly remembered" had they split up after releasing that album, rather than in 1996.[84] Conversely, Marszalek's colleague John Doran said: "It's quite popular to see OMD as nose-diving into the effluence after Dazzle Ships but the truth is there is still much to recommend".[42] Ian Peel, in a piece written for Record Collector, opined that the group's legacy consisted of "two brilliant, but very different, bands".[85] In contrast to other critics, AllMusic journalist Dave Thompson saw Junk Culture as part of the group's early experimental tenure, and considered 1985 – the year in which they issued sixth album Crush – as their shift toward the mainstream.[86]

OMD's recent work – specifically English Electric (2013) – has been seen as more akin to their early output.[87][88]

Impact on other artists

As one of the new wave pioneers, OMD impacted several musical peers. Vince Clarke, original composer of Depeche Mode, and later songwriter of the bands Yazoo, The Assembly and Erasure, said that "Electricity" "really made me want to make electronic music, 'cause it was so (sic) unique".[89] He noted that "Almost" was "what motivated me to actually buy a synthesiser", adding that "OMD sounded more home-made, and I suddenly thought, 'I can do that!' There was this sudden connection".[90] Tony Kanal of No Doubt lauded OMD, and recalled: "As pop songs, the early stuff like 'Electricity' and 'Enola Gay' were such inspirations to [singer] Gwen [Stefani] and I, especially melodically."[91] Howard Jones credited them as a prominent influence in his early career, and "used to cover 'Enola Gay' in my set when I was starting out, because I loved the simplicity of it and the electronicness of it".[92] IDM pioneer Mike "μ-Ziq" Paradinas also named OMD as an inspiration,[93] while Jim Kerr of Simple Minds recalled: "'I bought ['Electricity'] and played it nonstop, as I eventually did with the accompanying track called 'Almost'. I was downright jealous to be honest, and I still am when I hear those tunes!"[94]

Ian Wade in The Quietus wrote that OMD's 1983 album Dazzle Ships is "held close to the hearts" of multiple artists.[95] Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley said it was "a huge influence on us – a massive pop group putting together two or three recognisable pop songs and loads of found sounds.[96] Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie called the "gorgeous" and "daring" record "a big chunk of the inspiration" for his group's Codes and Keys (2011).[97] Mark Ronson, to whom the album was recommended by singer Amanda "MNDR" Warner, remarked: "I was just completely floored [...] It's just so elegant but a bit lo-fi at the same time."[98] Terre Thaemlitz, another proponent of Dazzle Ships, owns five different pressings of the LP.[99]

Several 21st-century acts have namechecked OMD. Kristian Bush of Sugarland, whose 2010 album The Incredible Machine was influenced by the band, stated: "OMD wasn't something you got a lot when growing up in eastern Tennessee [...] Who's making those songs today—those anthemic songs?"[100] Peter Morén of Peter Bjorn and John cited the group as an inspiration for Living Thing (2009), noting that his band recalled listening to OMD on the radio while growing up.[101] Liars frontman Angus Andrew pointed to Dazzle Ships as one of his favourite records, while noting that he is "a fan of OMD albums from all of their phases." He added: "It's kinda strange to us that we've never been compared to OMD [...] we do realise it would be an enormous compliment."[102] Michael Lerner of Telekinesis became "obsessed" with OMD's early 1980s work, and in particular, "fell in love" with Dazzle Ships.[103] Nicholas "Gravenhurst" Talbot professed to "love" the band, and recalled how seeing "the video to [OMD's] 'Souvenir' [...] on Top of the Pops is one of my earliest memories."[93] LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy related that he has a fondness for early OMD dating to childhood, describing it as "the kind of music you loved in your room, but the minute someone else walked in who didn't like that kind of music, you suddenly realised how fey and absurd it was. When you suddenly hear it through someone else's ears and think: this is so great!"[104]

OMD's songs have been covered and sampled by later acts. "If You Leave" was covered by Nada Surf,[105] and also by Good Charlotte.[106] Scooter covered "Enola Gay" on their Jumping All Over The World album.[107] MGMT performed in 2012 a live version of "Electricity".[108] NOFX covered the same song on their album 45 or 46 Songs That Weren't Good Enough to Go on Our Other Records.[109] Ania recorded a cover version of "Souvenir",[110] while Belgian band Third Bass covered "Maid of Orleans".[111] The 2001 album Messages: Modern Synthpop Artists Cover OMD comprises interpretations by various artists, such as White Town, The Faint, Color Theory and Ganymede.[112] Pretending to See the Future: A Tribute to OMD, also a 2001 release, features covers by Mahogany, the Acid House Kings and Majestic, among others.[113] A version of "Maid of Orleans" was recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1996.[114] In 2015, Mike Paradinas released a cover of "Souvenir", which he had recorded as a child 30 years earlier.[115] OMD tracks have been sampled by Zki & Dobre,[116] Kid Cudi[117] and DJ Quicksilver,[118] as well as by Leftfield for the soundtrack of 2000 film, The Beach.[119]

BBC Radio's Steve Lamacq has named "Electricity" as the track that made him want to become a DJ.[120] McCluskey's distinctive onstage dance routine – dubbed by the BBC's Stuart Maconie as the "Trainee Teacher Dance"[121] – has been influential. ZZ Top, who shared a studio with OMD on a 1980 edition of BBC2 show The Old Grey Whistle Test, adopted the routine as part of their live set (and also played OMD's self-titled debut album over the PA prior to concerts).[122] Maconie wrote that the "jerky, leg-snapping" dance became "the dance-floor routine of choice" for teaching students in the early-to-mid 1980s.[123]


Current members
  • Andy McCluskey – bass guitar, keyboards, vocals (1978–1996; 2005–present)
  • Paul Humphreys – keyboards, vocals (1978–1989; 2005–present)
  • Martin Cooper – keyboards, saxophone (1980–1989; 2005–present)
  • Stuart Kershaw – drums (1993; 2015–present); piano (2010)
Former members
  • Malcolm Holmes – drums and percussion (1980–1989; 2005–2015)
  • Dave Hughes – keyboards (1979–1980)
  • Michael Douglas – keyboards (1980–1981)
  • Steve Davis - Keyboards (tbc)
  • Graham Weir – guitar, brass, keyboards, writer (1984–1989)
  • Neil Weir – brass, keyboards, bass guitar (1984–1989)
  • Phil Coxon – keyboards (1991–1993)
  • Nigel Ipinson – keyboards (1991–1993)
  • Abe Juckes – drums (1991–1992)



Studio albums

See also


  1. ^ "A&M Album Discography, Part 10". Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark". Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  3. ^ Taylor, Paul. Popular Music Since 1955. Mansell Pub., 1985. ISBN 0-7201-1727-5, ISBN 978-0-7201-1727-1
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Lindgren, Hugo (10 May 2013). "The Plot Against Rock". The New York Times Magazine. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  5. ^ "Liverpool: E". 7 February 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Page Title". Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  7. ^ "Liverpool: P Q". 7 February 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
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