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.