Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Enola Gay

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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 3:33
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
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
Now: 1980 [2 CD] 1999
Various Artists
Virgin / EMI 3:29
The Peel Sessions: 1979-1983 2000 Virgin / EMI Music Distribution 3:03
Atomic 80's: The Definitive Eighties Album 2001
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:29
The Original 80's Album 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 0:00
New Romantics Are Back 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:31
Left of the Dial: Dispatches from the '80s Underground 2004
Various Artists
Rhino 3:30
This Is 1980 2008
Various Artists
EMD Int'l 3:30
No Image 2008
Original Soundtrack
EMI 3:33
Messages: OMD Greatest Hits 2008 EMD Int'l 0:00
Anthems: Electronic '80s 2009
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 3:29
RFM Party 80 2012
Various Artists
Wagram Music 3:31
Greatest Ever! Electric Eighties 2013
Various Artists
Greatest Ever 3:30
The Ultimate Collection: 80s Anthems 2013
Various Artists
Union Square Music 3:28
Anni '80: The Hits, Vol. 1
Various Artists
EMI / Mixed Repertoire 3:34
Best of British: Classic Hits from the 80s, 90s and 00s
Various Artists
EMI Gold 3:34
No Image
Various Artists
EMI 3:34
Mega 50: Die 80er Jahre
Various Artists
Electrola 3:34
No Image
Various Artists
EMI 3:34
The New Romantics [EMI 2009]
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution