DiscoverThe Art of LongevityThe Art of Longevity Season 8, Episode 1: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
The Art of Longevity Season 8, Episode 1: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

The Art of Longevity Season 8, Episode 1: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Update: 2023-10-13
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In the 70s, the teenage years of Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys, one would have heard new music by word of mouth, from the music papers, and DJs like John Peel, and it is one of these channels that would have led the young Andy McCluskey in September 1975 to see Kraftwerk play at the Liverpool Empire.

 It's lazy to suggest that Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark were entirely influenced by Kraftwerk – both founder members were keen music lovers and had performed together in a band called The Id – but their debut single Electricity wears that influence  on its sleeve.

There were some classic synthpop albums released in in 1980 and 1981 but in terms of maturity and sophistication, none came close to ‘Architecture and Morality’, OMD’s third album.

McCluskey & Humphreys always did things there own way:

"We kind of did songwriting in reverse. A lot of songwriters sit at the piano and hash out a melody and the chords first. With us, we start with a soundscape and crazy noises and quite often the song will land on top. We then realised we had a knack for a catchy tune". 
 
OMD arguably took a wrong turn with their fourth album 'Dazzle Ships', released in 1983.

"We forgot to sugar coat the experiment. The album shipped Gold and returned Platinum, more copies were sent back than sold. It did scare us that it wasn't commercially successful. Even though our songs always start as experiments, we were conscious to keep it more commercial in order to rescue our career". 

But even that record became a classic, eventually. Some 33 years on, in 2016, OMD played a triumphant show at London's Royal Albert Hall performing both Architecture and Morality and then Dazzle Ships back-to-back. That experience gave the band a new lease of life. 2017’s ‘The Punishment Of Luxury’ can arguably be confidently placed in the top three albums OMD had released to date. Almost forty years after they first got together, a band that was still adding to its finest work.

The band's forthcoming album, ‘Bauhaus Staircase’ bodes well for their late blooming fifth decade and extended longevity. This, despite McCluskey's wisdom suggesting otherwise. 

"It's usually dangerous and stupid to make a new album unless you are really going to invest in it. People tell us we're iconic and influential, so we don't want to fuck it up by making a shit album".

The band can rest easy. After 45 years working in their own unique way, they and their fans find OMD on a roll. 

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The Art of Longevity Season 8, Episode 1: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

The Art of Longevity Season 8, Episode 1: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

The Song Sommelier