Organisation cover

Organisation is the title of the second studio album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark released on 24 October 1980 on Dindisc records. The album was produced by Mike Howlett and Orchestral Manoeuvres and was the group's second album release of 1980.


The group basically remained as core-members and song writing partners Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey (as pictured on the rear of the sleeve) although Malcolm Hilmes who had palyed on the first album and who had also been part of the live line-up is also credited on the album with 'drums and acoustic percussion'. Production is credited to Mike Howlett who had begun working with OMD earlier in t year producing a brand new version of Messages from the first album, which had become their first hit single.

Writing and recording

Although much of the album had been written and demoed in the group's own Gramophone Suite studios in Liverpool, the group relocated to Ridge Farm studios in Surrey and Advision in London for recording and mixing. Only 2nd Thought was recorded at The Gramophone Suite.

Although all the tracks were brand new recordings, tracks such as The Misunderstanding and VCL XI dated back to the group's early days as The Id. Enola Gay and Motion & Heart had had their first outing, albeit in embryonic form, during the group's second Peel session recorded back in April. The tracks had not been completed in time to be included on the first album. They had also been played live prior to the release of the album.

Songwriting credits for each track are specified for the first time. Promise is the first OMD track to have been written by Humphreys alone.

A new version of Electricity was also recorded with Mike Howlett and was released on the DinDisc 1980 compilation album.[1] It remained exclusive to this release until being included on the 2003 CD remastered re-release of Organisation.


As with previous single and album releases, sleeve design for Organisation was handed to Factory records 'shareholder' Peter Saville. The front cover photograph depicts a view of the Cuillin hills on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. the photograph and grey/black colour scheme and typography reflect the overall dark mood of the album. In a 1980 interview McCluskey said that he had spent a lot of the summer driving around with Saville, listening to a cassette of the Factory album Closer by Joy Division, whose lead singer Ian Curtis had committed suicide in May. Closer had been released posthumously in July.

The grey cover was later replaced by a back version with white typography.

Chart performance

The success of the preceding single Enola Gay and of the debut album, still in the charts up until July, had created much anticipation for Organisation and consequently, the album entered the UK album charts at no.6 (the highest new entry) immediately after its release. The lack of a follow up single to Enola Gay from the album meant however that success was fairly short-lived and it remained in the Top 40 for six weeks.


Original release

LP/cassette DID 6, 1980.

Initial 10,000 copies included free four track 7" EP "the unreleased '78 tapes". The tracks were also included on initial cassette issues.

Organsiation 1980 cassette extra tracks

Side One

  1. Enola Gay
  2. 2nd Thought
  3. VCL XI
  4. Motion and Heart
  5. Statues

Side Two

  1. The Misunderstanding
  2. The More I See You
  3. Promise
  4. Stanlow

7" EP

Side One (added onto side two of the cassette)

- Introducing Radios / Distance Fades Between Us

Side Two (added onto side one of the cassette)

- Progress / Once When I Was Six


CD DIDCD6 1985

  • first CD re-issue of the album. Original nine track LP tracklisting with no extra tracks.

CD DIDCDR6 Remastered edition with bonus tracks, 2003.

  • Bonus tracks
  1. Annex
  2. Introducing Radios
  3. Distance Fades Between Us
  4. Progress
  5. Once When I Was Six
  6. Electricity (Dindisc 1980 Version)


  • the title of the album is a homage to the experimental German group Organisation formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider who would later form Kraftwerk, a major influence on OMD.
  • Enola Gay is the only single featured on the album. An early version was recorded for the group's second peel session in April.
  • 2nd Thought is the only track on the album to have been recorded at the group's Gramophone Suite studios in Liverpool.
  • VCL XI was the name of one of McCluskey and Humphreys' short lived groups, which itself was named after a valve on the back of Kraftwerk's Radio-Activity album. A version of the track had been played live in early OMD performances.
  • Motion and Heart was also considered as a single as a follow-up to Enola Gay. As a result a new version was recorded at Amazon studios in Liverpool with Mike Howlett. The single was never released however but was issued as a B-side to the Souvenir single in August 1981. Enola Gay remains the only single from the album.
  • Statues was one of the albums newer tracks and is said to have been dedicated to Ian Curtis who had committed suicide at the same time that Organisation was being written and recorded. Some of the song's lyrics confirm this.
  • The Misunderstanding is a track that dates back to Humphrey and MCluskey's days as The Id. Their recorded version was later released on CD in 2002.[2] The track is also one of three recorded for the John Peel session in September 1980, broadcast 06 October 1980 just prior to the album's release.[3]
  • The More I See You is a cover version of a song originally composed in 1945 but made famous by Chris Montez in 1966. It is unknown as to why OMD chose to cover this particular song although Paul Humphreys in particular has since stated that he does not like their recording, which turns Montez' upbeat easy-listening version into something more dark and sinister, in line with the mood of the album. The track is also one of three recorded for the John Peel session (see The Misunderstanding above).
  • Promise was the first OMD track to be written by Paul Humphreys alone and to feature the group member on lead vocals. The track was singled out by The Old Grey Whistle Test when showcasing the album on its release. Typically for the time, the track was set to some very early animated film footage. [4]
  • Stanlow is the name of an oil refinery in Ellesmere Port, north-west England which would have been well known to the group. It remains one of OMD's longest song compositions.
  • Annex is a track released as the B side of the Enola Gay single, but not included on the original album. The song is also one of three recorded for the John Peel session (see The Misunderstanding and the More I See You above).
  • Introducing Radios - Distance Fades Between Us - Progress - Once When I Was Six: tracks were recorded live on "Winston" (the group's reel-to-reel tape recorder) in November 1978 at The FActory and at Henry's. A spoken voice at the end of the final track credits performers as MCluskey, Humphreys, Holmes and Cooper, as well as tape engineering by Paul Henry Collister. The tracks remained unique to the 7" EP (and initial cassette copies of Organisation) until being included on the 2003 CD re-issue.


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