Electricity 1980 7in Dindisc cover front

Electricity is the title of a song by British new wave band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, initially released as their debut single on Factory records in 1979. The single was later re-released twice by new label Dindisc (once in 1979 and again in 1980) and is included on the group's eponymous debut album.


Electricity is one of OMD's oldest songs dating back to their earlier group manifestation of The Id, whose 1978 version has since been released on CD (see Media below). Unsurprisingly the fist radio DJ to play the single was John Peel who was given a copy, presumably by someone from Factory records (Tony Wilson?) while on a visit to Manchester to record a TV programme. He later invited OMD to record their first session for his show in August 1979, referring to them as "The Electricity Boys". [1] The song was not recorded for any of their four Peel sessions. Other radio DJs later picked up on the song, mainly during its 1980 re-release on Dindisc.

Despite never making the UK charts Electricity remains one of OMD's best known songs and is always played at live concerts, usually as an encore. The band claim to have never played a gig without including Electricity in the set-list. It has also been claimed that the keyboard riff is a speeded up version of Kraftwerk's Radioactivity.

Lyrics and style

The song's lyrics deal with man's use of electricity ("our one source of energy"), how it is created ("nuclear and HEP, carbon fuels form the sea") and its wastage ("a gift for man to throw away"). The song also calls for a more ecological way of creating electricity ("the alternative is only electricity"). As would prove typical with many OMD singles there is no chorus as such, and carries instead a repeated keyboard riff. The word "electricity" is however repeated many times.


Several versions of Electricity have been issued. See Wikipedia.

Single release


An initial run of 5000 copies of the single on Factory records (FAC6) was issued in a black on black thermographic sleeve [2] designed by Peter Saville, famous for his designs for Factory. For the 1979 and 1980 Dindisc re-issues the artwork was replaced by a standard black and white print. Saville would continue to work with OMD on future releases on Dindisc/Virgin.


7" FAC6 / DIN2 (versions vary)

A. Electricity

B. Almost

Promo video

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Electricity

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Electricity

OMD - Electricity, official promo video

A promo video for the song was made for its 1980 re-relsease and features a mimed 'live' performance of the song by McCluskey and Humphreys with Malcolm Holmes (drums) and Dave Hughes (keyboards) who were basically the live line-up for the Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark album tour.




2019 re-release

A special edition of the single is to be released on 27 September 2019 as part of the group's 40th anniversary celebrations. The A side features the Factory Records version of Electricity while the B side has a new remix of Almost by Vince Clarke. The limited edition release is pressed on clear vinyl and the sleeve is an adaptation of the original Peter Saville design.[3]


OMD Electricity 1979 version

OMD Electricity 1979 version.flv

1979 version

The ID - Electricity (1978) Pre - OMD

The ID - Electricity (1978) Pre - OMD

The Id - Electricity (1978)



Almost (Vince Clarke remix, 2019)

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.