Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) embraced the synthesizer era of keyboard-driven pop perhaps more enthusiastically than any other band and came to symbolise that 1980s era of British music. Childhood school friends Andy McCluskey (born on 24 June 1959 in Heswell, Wirral, England)and Paul Humphreys (born on 27 February 1960 in London, England) formed various groups together in their teens in the 1970s before deciding to merge melodic pop with the denser, electronic mood music experiments being pursued by artists like Brian Eno and Kraftwerk. They had local success separately with The Id and Dalek I Love You, but it was when they united in OMD that their careers really took off. Their first single "Electricity" was released in 1978 and a support tour with Gary Numan the following year raised their profile, resulting in their breakthrough hit "Enola Gay." Their 1981 album Architecture & Morality defined their highly original sound as they augmented synths with Mellotron and had further hits with "Joan of Arc" and "Maid of Orleans." Their 1983 release Dazzle Ships was something of a commercial flop and it led to the group redirecting their musical ideals more towards the mainstream. Adopting their new sound, they achieved a top five single with "Locomotion" in 1984 and were asked to pen a track for the John Hughes rom-com Pretty in Pink, for which they wrote "If You Leave." After noticing a decline in their popularity, the group decided to split after their US tour in 1989. Three of the band's members – Paul Humphreys, Martin Cooper and Malcolm Holmes – formed The Listening Pool while Andy McClusky carried on performing under the OMD name. Andy McClusky managed a number three hit with "Sugar Tax" in 1991 and produced two albums - Liberator in 1993 and Universal in 1996 – but Andy McClusky decided to lay OMD to rest and focus on his songwriting for other groups. In 2006, ten years after the final split, Andy McClusky, Paul Humphreys, Malcolm Holmes and Martin Cooper announced that they were reforming OMD under the original line-up. They embarked on a tour while working on new material, resulting in their 11th studio album History of Modern, which was released in 2010. The album broke into the top 30 in the UK Albums Charts and they capitalised on this success by following it up with English Electric in 2013. English Electric proved even more successful, managing the number 12 spot in the UK and number ten in Germany. Shock shook the band in 2014 when Malcolm Holmes collapsed during a show in Toronto. Discovering he was suffering from heart failure, he announced his retirement from the band. 2016 saw them once again pen a song for film, with "Thrill Me" featuring Gary Barlow, Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman for the film Eddie the Eagle. Shortly after the film's release, they revealed they were working on their next studio album, The Punishment of Luxury, which was released in 2017 and went straight to number four on the UK albums chart. The 2019 Souvenir box set followed, nominated for Best Historical Album at the Grammy Awards in 2021 and in October 2023 they returned with their fourteenth studio album Bauhaus Staircase, which was released via White Noise Records.

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Stations Featuring Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

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