Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Enola Gay

Composed by Andy McCluskey

Song Review by

In 1979, new British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher began a thorough shake-up of British society, with a package of policies that, with time, totally redrew the landscape of the United Kingdom. Her agenda also encompassed a new world order that was as radical as her domestic legislation. Not only would she place Britain unequivocally by America's side, she also put the island firmly into the cold war frontlines by granting permission for US cruise missiles to be stationed on British soil.

A massive public outcry ensued, the long dormant Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) sprang into action, organizing some of the largest demonstrations ever seen in Britain (at least until another PM forced his unwilling nation to once more follow America's lead). And, amid the welter of protest themed singles that followed, a litany that stretches from TV Smith’s Explorers’ premonitory ”Tomahawk Cruise” to the Fun Boy Three’s ”The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum”, OMD turned the calendar back to August 1945, to relive the "Enola Gay" bomber's mission to Hiroshima.

Andy McCluskey says nothing about contemporary events, but he doesn't need to. A simple reminder of that fateful flight taken 35 years earlier makes his point more eloquently than any number of speeches or lyrical excesses on the dangers that nuclear weapons threaten. In a few months, Duran Duran would detonate their own bomb on "Planet Earth", and proclaimed they wanted to be the band to dance to when the end came. By then, however, "Enola Gay" was long airborne, obliterating Britain and most of Europe with the band's perfect synth-dance-pop extravaganza. The single, released in October, 1980, slammed into the UK Top 10 and mushroomed to the top of the charts in three European countries, giving the band their first international Number One.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Organisation 1980 Virgin EMI
Architecture & Morality 1981 EMI Music Distribution / Virgin
Urgh! A Music War 1981
Various Artists
A&M
The Best of OMD 1988 A&M 3:31
No Image 1990
Various Artists
Oldgold/Im 3:24
Pop & Wave, Vol. 1 1993
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:54
Dream of Me (Based on Love's Theme) [#1] 1993 Virgin
It's Electric: Classic Hits from an Electric Era 1994
Various Artists
Dino Entertainment
Sedated in the Eighties, Vol. 3 1995
Various Artists
The Right Stuff / Capitol 3:31
No Image 1996
Various Artists
Telstar
This Is the 80's [Alex] 1996
Various Artists
WEA International 3:32
Eighties Mix [Import] 1998
Various Artists
Import 3:20
The OMD Remixes EP 1998 EMI Music Distribution 4:08
Club Hits '98-99 1998
Various Artists
Virgin 4:05
The OMD Singles 1998 Virgin 3:33
The Biggest 80's Hits in the World Ever 1998
Various Artists
Virgin
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Postpunk Chronicles: Scared to Dance 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 3:34
Free to Be, Vol. 5 [Central Station] 1999
Various Artists
Central Station Records 6:26
The Best 80's Album In the World Ever 1999
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Relax!: The Ultimate 80's Mix, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Polygram 3:00
The Peel Sessions: 1979-1983 2000 Virgin / EMI Music Distribution 3:03
Decades: Story of the 60's, 70's & 80's [EMI] 2001
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:29
Dancemania 80's, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Toshiba EMI
Atomic 80's: The Definitive Eighties Album 2001
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:29
Electric Dreams: '80s Synth Pop Classics 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Totally New Romantic 2002
Various Artists
EMI
No Image 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:31
I Love Techno Pop, Vol. 2 2003
Various Artists
Beggars Banquet 4:41
The Original 80's Album 2003
Various Artists
EMI 3:30
New Romantics Are Back 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:31
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Disky
Brilliant 80's: Wishfull Thinking 2004
Various Artists
Disky 3:30
Temptation: 18 New Romantic Classics 2004
Various Artists
EMI 3:32
Left of the Dial: Dispatches from the '80s Underground 2004
Various Artists
Rhino 3:30
Reunited Again 2005
Various Artists
Disky 3:32
Triple J Archive Range: Enter the 80's [Bonus DVD] 2005
Various Artists
ABC Music
Electric '80s [Sony] 2005
Various Artists
Sony BMG 3:29
I Love 80's 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Les 100 Plus Grands Tubes de l'Ete 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:29
Excellent 80s 2006
Various Artists
Somerset Entertainment 3:32
The Original 80s Remix Box Set 2007
Various Artists
EMI
101 80's Hits 2007
Various Artists
EMI/Virgin 3:28
Essential 80s [EMI Gold] 2007
Various Artists
EMI 3:32
No Image 2007
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Pure: 80s [EMI] 2007
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:31
Années 80, Vol. 2 2007
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:30
Top of the Pops 1980 2008
Various Artists
EMI 3:31
No Image 2008
Various Artists
RFM
Playlist: 80's Pop 2008
Various Artists
EMD Int'l 3:29
Live: Architecture & Morality and More 2008 Eagle Rock
Top of the Pops Collection [43 CD] 2008
Various Artists
EMI
This Is 1980 2008
Various Artists
Mixed Repertoire 3:28
No Image 2008
Original Soundtrack
Mixed Repertoire / Parlophone 3:29
Messages: OMD Greatest Hits 2008 EMD Int'l 3:32
Legendary Decades 2008
Various Artists
Disky 3:29
Anthems: Electronic '80s 2009
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 3:29
Live in Berlin 2011 Bright Antenna 5:40
100 Hits: The New Romantics 2011
Various Artists
Demon 3:29
Années 80 [Wagram 2011] 2011
Various Artists
Wagram 3:31
Le Classement de Tous les Tubes: Années 80 2012
Various Artists
SM / Wagram Music 3:31
RFM Party 80 2012
Various Artists
Wagram Music 3:31
105 Friends '80: Gli Ottantoni Di Ross & Tony 2012
Various Artists
Time 3:32
Greatest Ever! Electric Eighties 2013
Various Artists
Greatest Ever 3:30
RTL2 100 Tubes Années 80 2013
Various Artists
Wagram Records 3:32
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa [The Original Movie Soundtrack] 2013
Original Soundtrack
Rhino 3:29
The Ultimate Collection: 80s Anthems 2013
Various Artists
Union Square Music 3:28
Electric 80's [Rhino] 2014
Various Artists
Rhino 3:10
The 80s, Pt. 2 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:31
Synth Pop 2015
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:30
Access All Areas 2015 Demon Records
Dazzle Ships: Live at the Museum of Liverpool 2015 100% Records 4:32
Stars 80: La Compil' Officielle, Vol. 2 2015
Various Artists
TF1 Musique
British Live Performance Series 2016 Rainman Records 3:04
RFM Party 80 [2017] 2017
Various Artists
Sempre Musica
No Image
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:32
No Image
Various Artists
Mixed Repertoire 3:32
Best of British: Classic Hits from the 80s, 90s and 00s
Various Artists
Parlophone 3:29
Brits in the 80s
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Gold / EMI Music Distribution
Classic '80s [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino
Classic 80's [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino 3:29
Classic 80s Party [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino
De Pre Historie: 1980, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Eva 3:30
Greatest Ever: Alternative 80s [USM]
Various Artists
Greatest Ever
I Grew Up in the 80s
Various Artists
EMI TV 3:28
Le 101 Canzoni Della Storia del Pop
Various Artists
Universal Music 3:30
New Wave Sound
Various Artists
Virgin
Original Hits: 80s Pop
Various Artists
EMI 3:28
Original Hits: Drivetime
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Gold 3:27
The  New Romantics [EMI 2009]
Various Artists
Mixed Repertoire 3:28
Top of the Pops: Eighties [2011]
Various Artists
3:32
No Image Private Issue 3:31
blue highlight denotes editor's pick