Originally an experimental outfit featuring home-made keyboards, electronic sound effects recorded with the help of their reel-to-reel tape recorder Winston, some bass guitar and voice, the duo gradually moved towards more melodic compositions, releasing their first single 'Electricity' b/w 'Almost' on Manchester's Factory label. The pair were soon snapped up by Virgin subsidiary Dindisc and 1980 singles Messages and even more prominently Enola Gay made Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, by now OMD, a household name with two albums (their eponymous debut and Organisation) to their name within the year.
Greater success came almost 12 months later with top 10 singles Souvenir and two songs about the French saint Joan of Arc, all featured on the million-selling album Architecture & Morality, which took the electronic experimental zeitgeist of 1981, mixing strong melodies and unusual subject matter, to the upper ranges of the album charts. By now the group had also become a consolidated four-piece with Humphreys and McCluskey joined on stage and in the studio by Malcolm Holmes on drums and Martin Cooper on keyboards and other instruments.
Their success was however quick to diminish with the follow up Dazzle Ships in 1983 when pop music was already less in favour of experimentalism, albeit still in symbiosis with catchy melodies. Songs about genetic engineering and the demise of the telegraphic system were no longer chart fodder. Some ground was regained in 1984 with Junk Culture and a series of strong singles, followed by Crush in 1985 and The Pacific Age in 1986, although the latter two suffered too much from an over zealous effort to break the US market. A first Greatest Hits collection followed in 1988 although the duo of Humphreys and McCluskey had already called it a day.
In 1991 Andy McCluskey exhumed the cumbersome group name and despite grunge and the return of rock, managed to break the charts again with the album Sugar Tax and the electro-heavy yet catchy singles Sailing on the Seven Seas and Pandora's Box. McCluskey, aided mainly by Stuart Kershaw, tried again with Liberator (1993) and Universal (1995) but things were brought to a grinding halt in the Brit-pop years.
Nostalgia eventually won through in 2006 when McCluskey and Humphreys got back together again to perform some live dates as a duo, later touring the Architecture & Morality album in its entirety with former band mates Martin Cooper and Malcolm Holmes. A brand new album History of Modern emerged in 2010 followed by more touring, and another new album English Electric was released to critical acclaim in 2013. A third album of the new OMD-era, The Punishment of Luxury, was released on 01 September 2017.
Original drummer and percussionist Malcolm Holmes retired from the group for health reasons in 2013 and has since been replaced by long-time group collaborator Stuart Kershaw.
40th anniversary celebrations are planned for 2019.
- UK only. (UK peak chart placings in brackets)
- see also OMD Singles & B sides
|1980||Red Frame/White Light||Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark|
|1981||Souvenir||Architecture and Morality|
|Joan of Arc|
|1982||Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc) |
|1983||Genetic Engineering||Dazzle Ships|
|1984||Locomotion||Junk Culture |
|Talking Loud & Clear|
|Never Turn Away|
|1985||So In Love||Crush|
|La Femme Accident|
|1986||If You Leave ||-|
|(Forever) Live & Die||The Pacific Age|
|We Love You|
|1988||Dreaming||The Best of OMD|
|Brides of Frankenstein |
|1991||Sailing on the Seven Seas||Sugar Tax|
|Pandora's Box |
|Then You Turn Away|
|Call My Name |
|1993||Stand Above Me||Liberator|
|Dream of Me (Based on Love's Theme)|
|1996||Walking on the Milky Way||Universal|
|1998||The OMD Remixes |
|The OMD Singles|
|2000||Peel Sessions 1979–1983|
|2001||Navigation: The OMD B-sides|
|2008||Messages - Greatest Hits |
|OMD Live: Architecture & Morality & More|
|2010||If You Want It||History of Modern|
|Sister Marie Says|
|History of Modern Pt.1|
|2011||OMD: The History of Modern Tour – Live in Berlin|
|2015||Dazzle Ships Live at the Museum of Liverpool|
|Access All Areas |
|2016||Architecture & Morality/Dazzle Ships Live at the Royal Albert Hall|
|2017||Isotype||The Punishment of Luxury|
|The Punishment of Luxury|
|What Have We Done|
|The Punishment of Luxury: B-Sides & Bonus Material|
- ↑ released initially on Factory records FAC6 then on Dindisc (see page).
- ↑ second Dindisc release
- ↑ name changed from original Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans) to avoid confusion with previous single
- ↑ initial copies of album also contained free one-sided 7" single the Angels Keep Turning (The Wheels of the Universe).
- ↑ from Pretty In Pink soundtrack.
- ↑ re-recording of The Pacific Age album track
- ↑ DJ promo import 12"
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 remix of album track
- ↑ EP with remixes of Enola Gay, Souvenir & Electricity
- ↑ also features DVD with promo videos
- ↑ 1980 live recording
- see OMD chronology