Well I know, the title of this piece doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as the phrase we often coin for fireworks night, but bear with me, as this is one date you’ll definitely want to put in your diaries.
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD) will be recording and filming a very special acoustic session for top radio station Absolute Radio. This session will be recorded on September 3rd, and has been booked to celebrate their guest appearance on the forthcoming tour by Simple Minds. It’s sure to be a unique radio event, so make sure you’re all turned on and tuned in on the 17th. The session will air on Absolute 105.8 fm between 7-8pm, which can also be accessed via Sky Digital 0107 and the DAB network. If you miss it, have no fear, as the session and an interview with the band will be available on www.absoluteradio.co.uk.
Don’t forget, all this is to promote OMD appearing on the Simple Minds tour, which kicks off on the 30th November in Newcastle at the Metro Arena. The tour then continues to The Birmingham LG Arena on December 2nd, Manchester MEN Arena (Dec 3), Sheffield Arena (Dec 5), Cardiff CIA (Dec 6), London Wembley Arena (Dec 7), Glasgow SECC (Dec 11) and Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (Dec 12). Lots of winter fun in store for all you OMD fans, but what if you’ve not heard of the band? Well if you haven’t, their official biographies below, hopefully that’ll encourage you to check them out for yourselves.
OMD – Biography
OMD emerged from the dynamic music scene of Liverpool in the late 1970’s. Founder members Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys had originally been inspired by German bands such as Kraftwerk and Neu. Working with radio sets and home made synthesisers, Humphreys and McCluskey created their own music.
Naming themselves after one of their own early songs, Humphreys and McCluskey launched a unique style of catchy electronic melodies that helped further OMD’s reputation for intelligent pop.
Back then, to burden your band with such an unwieldy name as Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark might have seemed unwise, but the obvious commercial appeal of their music, provoked enough interest that it eventually led to Factory Record’s Tony Wilson, offering them the chance to cut their debut single Electricity on the Factory label.
Electricity (and its flip side Almost) perfectly captured OMD’s infectious blend of melody and melancholia. Electricity, with its frenetic dance rhythm, rapidly became OMD’s theme song and maintained its status as a live favourite up to the present day. Attracting the interest of Virgin, OMD signed to their subsidiary label Din Disc in 1979.
After a brief period of touring, notably as support for Gary Numan, OMD quickly established themselves with a number of classic singles. Messages, with its simple but engaging melody, managed to get OMD into the public eye in 1980 by reaching No. 13 in the UK charts.
Later the same year, they made the UK top ten and scored their first international hit (5 million sales) with the dance pop of Enola Gay – an up tempo number inspired by the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The success in 1980 helped OMD to rapidly become one of the UK’s premier pop acts.
Their use of extra personnel for live performances, led to Humphreys and McCluskey recruiting people in the studio as well, with the band soon established as a four piece outfit with the assistance of Martin Cooper (keyboards, saxophone) and Malcolm Holmes (drums).
OMD’s 1981 album, the ethereal Architecture and Morality, proved to be one of their finest moments. Blending choral effects and wistful melody, the album produced three classic singles: Souvenir with its bittersweet Humphreys vocal, the religiously inspired Joan of Arc and its epic follow-up Maid of Orleans. All three singles secured a top 5 chart position and by 1982 had turned OMD into a household name.
The 1984 album Junk Culture, produced the instant pop of singles Tesla Girls and Locomotion, proving that OMD could still deliver classic 3 minute pop songs, while retaining a flavour for the unusual.
Producer Stephen Hague was drafted in for the 1985 album Crush and the subsequent 1986 album The Pacific Age. Hague managed to give the songs on both albums a polished edge, while retaining an essential energy that was vital to the songs.
Singles such as So In Love and (Forever) Live & Die, drew on OMD’s flair for writing engaging melodies, while demonstrating that they were taking much more of a traditionalist approach to song production. This period also saw the band touring extensively in North America. If You Leave, specifically written for the John Hughes movie Pretty In Pink, was a huge success.
The band ended an era in 1989 with the departure of Humphreys, Holmes and Cooper leaving Andy McCluskey to forge ahead under the OMD banner. This resulted in the 1991 album Sugar Tax. It was a brash and dynamic approach that fused the classic OMD sound with a more mainstream 90’s dance approach. Sugar Tax managed to win over a lot of new converts, as well as the die-hard OMD enthusiast, with singles such as the spectacular Sailing On The Seven Seas and the dance pop of Pandora’s Box (a paean to silent movie star Louise Brooks).
OMD were effectively retired for the latter part of the 1990’s while Andy McCluskey focused on management and production, most notably for the girl pop trio Atomic Kitten who scored a No. 1 hit single in 2001, with the McCluskey co-written song Whole Again.
Deciding the time was right for an OMD revival, Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys reunited alongside former band members Mal Holmes and Martin Cooper. In 2007 they embarked on an extensive UK and European tour, showcasing their classic Architecture & Morality album. As well as playing the album in its entirety, the band also presented a stage show of their most classic hits to a spectacular visual backdrop.
The 2007 Architecture & Morality tour served as a reminder of what an engaging band OMD were live. They had lost none of the power or the impact that they had demonstrated on those early 80’s performances. With a new album on the way and more live performances scheduled for the future, OMD continue to delight and entertain audiences globally.
For more information on OMD please visit www.omd.uk.com or www.myspace.com/officialomdmyspace