In antici-PA-tion (thank you Rocky Horror) for the Howard Jones / OMD show tomorrow night (6.24.2016) in Portland, Maine (they are opening for Barenaked Ladies, though I think it should BNL opening up for HoJo and OMD), I wanted to share this today.
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (or OMD for short), the English Synthpop band formed in 1978 by Andy McCluskey (vocals, bass guitar) and Paul Humphreys (keyboards, vocals). OMD had already released five albums between 1980 and 1984 when they were brought to my attention in the second half of 1985 with their song, “So In Love” (from the brilliant album, CRUSH).
In their native U.K. homeland, the Synthpop pioneers charted 17 songs and one EP in the U.K. Top 40 singles chart between 1980 and 1996, including seven Top 10 hits, led by two songs that went to No. 3: 1981’s “Souvenir” and 1991’s “Sailing On The Seven Seas.” Here in the U.S., they charted just five songs on the BILLBOARD Hot 100, led by “If You Leave,” a No. 4 hit from the 1986 film John Hughes wrote and produced, PRETTY IN PINK.
“So In Love” (and parent album, CRUSH) was produced by Portland, Maine native Stephen Hague (I still dig the fact he was born here), and it became OMD’s first hit in America. I love a lot of the music that came out of 1985 (the best year of my youth), and still, “So In Love” (with Andy’s lush vocals complimenting Paul’s amazing keyboards) was a breath of fresh air in the world of music for me.
Strangely enough, “So In Love” was one of the last songs written for CRUSH. According to OMD’s website, Andy McCluskey said the song was about the painful end of a relationship.
After years of success in the U.K. and parts of the globe, OMD was still trying to break out here in the U.S., and with Stephen Hague at the helm as producer, the album CRUSH (with “So In Love” as the lead single) was a bit more commercial-sounding than previous albums (though still brilliant), and it paid off. CRUSH remains the band’s highest-charting album in America, and “So In Love” was their first Hot 100 hit, spending 2 weeks at No. 26 in November 1985.
Around the globe, “So In Love” stopped at No. 27 in the U.K., but reached the Top 20 in Germany, Holland, Ireland and the BILLBOARD Dance chart.
OMD is still going strong to this day (I don’t know if they’ve ever made an appearance in Portland, Maine before tomorrow night’s performance), and their last album, 2013’s ENGLISH ELECTRIC, was their highest-charting album in the U.K. since 1991’s SUGAR TAX. I’m so looking forward to seeing Andy and Paul, and I can safely say, after all these years, I’m still “so in love” with OMD…