Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark


Song Review by

A song so irrepressible that Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark released three separate versions of the number. Amazingly, this perfect electro-pop number was reputedly the first one Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys ever composed together, dating back to when the pair were still in their mid-teens. Three years and one band later, the duo finally recorded "Electricity" at a

friend's home studio.

The original version, while sounding like simple synthi-pop at its most irresistible, actually contains no synths at all, the twining melody lines actually emitting from a bass and an electric keyboard. The local indie Factory label were impressed, and released the song on single in May, 1979.

The 45 reaped swift reward, bringing OMD to the attention of the Virgin label, who signed the duo to the company's new subsidiary DinDisc. With the ink barely dry, "Electricity" was promptly remixed and reissued on 45 that September. That was better, but still not good enough for the pair, who

recut a more upbeat and lusher version for their debut, eponymous album which arrived in the shops in February, 1980. The following month, this recut was spun off onto 45, and thus is the one most fans are familiar with.

All failed to chart, but each version has its own unique musical charms regardless, with the Factory the most sought after for its rarity value. And the very recycling of this song adds further credence to the group's environmental theme. Far from a celebration of the power of our power sources, the lyrics drive home the need for a renewable energy source, some alternative to the fossil fuels we're permanently expending by the second, and a future of abundant electricity free from environmental depletion.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark 1980 Virgin EMI
Organisation 1980 Virgin EMI
Architecture & Morality 1981 EMI Music Distribution / Virgin
No Image 1983
Various Artists
The Best of OMD 1988 A&M 3:29
Palatine: The Factory Story/1979-1990 1991
Various Artists
Everyday 1993 Virgin
Electricity [Alex] 1994
Various Artists
Alex 3:29
Richard Blade's Flashback Favorites, Vol. 2 1994
Various Artists
Oglio Records 3:33
Different Colours, Different Shades... 1997
Various Artists
The OMD Remixes EP 1998 EMI Music Distribution 8:43
The OMD Singles 1998 Virgin 3:30
Machine Soul: An Odyssey Into Electronic Dance Music 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 3:33
The Peel Sessions: 1979-1983 2000 Virgin / EMI Music Distribution 3:44
Electric Dreams: '80s Synth Pop Classics 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
No Image 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:32
So What!/12" Versions 2004
Various Artists
Disky 3:30
Experiment 2004
Various Artists
No Image 2005
Various Artists
ZYX Music
Live Leigh Rock Festival 1979 2006
Various Artists
Interstate 3:53
Live: Architecture & Morality & More 2008 Eagle Rock 3:39
Live: Architecture & Morality and More 2008 Eagle Rock
Messages: OMD Greatest Hits 2008 EMD Int'l 3:31
Factory Records: Communications 1978-1992 2008
Various Artists
Rhino 3:45
Awaydays [Original Soundtrack] 2009
Original Soundtrack
Universal Distribution 3:34
Live in Berlin 2011 Bright Antenna 4:11
100 Hits: The New Romantics 2011
Various Artists
Demon 3:29
Dazzle Ships: Live at the Museum of Liverpool 2015 100% Records 3:45
British Live Performance Series 2016 Rainman Records 3:51
Les Annees New Wave
Various Artists
The  New Romantics [EMI 2009]
Various Artists
Mixed Repertoire 3:28
No Image Private Issue 3:26
blue highlight denotes editor's pick