OMD ¦ Dazzle Ships

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Dazzle Ships is the fourth studio album by English electronic band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), released on 4 March 1983 by Virgin Records (under the guise of the fictitious Telegraph label). Its title and cover art allude to a painting by Vorticist artist Edward Wadsworth based on dazzle camouflage, titled Dazzle-ships in Drydock at Liverpool.

The follow-up album to OMD's commercially successful Architecture & Morality (1981), Dazzle Ships marked a departure in sound for the group, who contended with writer's block and record company pressure to duplicate their previous release. The album is noted for its experimental content, particularly musique concrète sound collages, and the use of shortwave radio recordings to explore Cold War and Eastern Bloc themes. It also concerns itself with the rise of technology in society. The record spawned two singles: "Genetic Engineering" and "Telegraph".

Dazzle Ships met with largely negative reviews and, despite reaching the top five of the UK Albums Chart, was regarded as a commercial flop. It nevertheless attracted a cult following and has served as an inspiration for many artists across electronic, rock and hip hop music. Journalists eventually came to recognise the album as an underrated and misunderstood work, and a record ahead of its time. Since its initial re-release in 2008, Dazzle Ships has received critical acclaim.


Dazzle-ships in Drydock at Liverpool (1919), the ultimate source of the album's name

In the year following the release of commercially successful predecessor Architecture & Morality (1981), co-founder and keyboardist Paul Humphreys had married, and he and singer Andy McCluskey were growing apart.[1] The pair had never expected the success they had achieved,[2] and elected to retire OMD, having purchased their first cars and homes in Wirral. McCluskey said, "After two solid years of work... we had written our final epitaph – ["Maid of Orleans" B-side] "Of All the Things We've Made" – and didn't think we'd ever work together again. And all of a sudden, we were quite rich."[1] However, Humphreys and McCluskey – who had delivered only three of their seven contracted albums for Dindisc[3] – felt a debt to their fanbase, and began discussing new musical ideas.[1]

Virgin Records, who had assumed OMD's contract following the collapse of independent subsidiary Dindisc,[4] attempted to influence the sound of the album. Humphreys told how the label tried to sway the band towards duplicating Architecture & Morality, while assuring them they would become "the next Genesis"; this compelled the group to change musical direction.[5] OMD were daunted by the pressure of matching the success of their previous release, and early sessions were not fruitful. Seeking refuge in their radio experiments of old, Humphreys and McCluskey came up with the sound collages "Dazzle Ships" and "Radio Prague".[1] Paradoxically, in light of the eventual critical reaction to Dazzle Ships, the more experimental direction taken on the record was partly a response to muted reviews of Architecture & Morality, which "forced [OMD] into new areas".[6]

At the band's Gramophone Suite studio in Liverpool, they reshuffled their inventory of instruments, introducing the E-mu Emulator.[1] Experiencing writer's block,[7] Humphreys and McCluskey moved to California for six weeks to live with the parents of Humphreys' wife. Upon returning to Liverpool, however, the pair had failed to produce any substantial ideas for the album.[1] They elected to exhume "Of All the Things We've Made" for inclusion, feeling it had been squandered as a B-side, and resurrected "Radio Waves", a holdover from OMD precursor group the Id (this track was considered as a single).[4] "The Romance of the Telescope (Unfinished)", which had appeared as a B-side to 1981's "Joan of Arc",[8] was remixed and the "unfinished" caveat removed.[4] Instrumentalists Martin Cooper and Malcolm Holmes grew dejected by the largely unproductive recording sessions, with Holmes stating, "This was the first time that OMD had reached a major stumbling block."[1]

"At one Virgin meeting, the head of A&R asked us, 'Come on guys, are you [Karlheinz] Stockhausen or ABBA?' Andy and I said together, 'Can't we be both?'"

Paul Humphreys[9]

The band were encouraged by critics to become more political.[10] As such, they used shortwave radio recordings to explore Cold War and Eastern Bloc themes, while oscillating between moody pop music and experimental, musique concrète-influenced soundscapes.[11][12] "Radio Prague" features the interval signal of the Czechoslovak Radio foreign service, including the time signal and station identification spoken in Czech. "Time Zones" is a montage of various speaking clocks from around the world. Neither "Radio Prague" nor "Time Zones" carry a writing credit, with OMD being credited only for arranging the tracks. "This Is Helena", "ABC Auto-Industry" and "International" also include parts of broadcasts recorded off the air (a presenter introducing herself, an economic bulletin, and news, respectively).[4] The record also explores the pros and cons of the rise of technology in society;[13][14] "ABC Auto-Industry" attempts to recreate "the monotony of production line car manufacture".[15][a]

For a time the group sought inspiration in a new studio, Phil Manzanera's White House (latter Gallery Studios) in Chertsey, and hired producer Rhett Davies. McCluskey said, "We intimidated [Davies] in the end. The songs were simply not up his street. They weren't conducive to being handled with slick touches and it ended up with arguments."[1] This did little to help band morale, as Holmes explained, "Both myself and Martin seriously began to doubt Paul and Andy's judgement... More and more, it was becoming Andy's album." The sample-based approach to compiling the tracks further alienated Cooper and Holmes; the latter would ultimately play on only three songs, which had been recorded during the earlier Gramophone Suite sessions. Holmes spent his time at the White House "playing video games and trying to convince [him]self that Paul and Andy knew what they were doing."[1] Part of the album was also recorded at Mayfair Studios in London.[4] McCluskey has cited Kraftwerk's Radio-Activity (1975) as a key influence on the record.[19]

To maintain the band's image of being signed to an indie label, Dazzle Ships purported to have been issued by the fictitious "Telegraph" label.[4] It was released on LP, compact cassette and compact disc. The cover art was created by longtime OMD collaborator Peter Saville;[4] Dazzle-ships in Drydock at Liverpool, the painting which inspired the album's title and artwork, is in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.[20]

Commercial performance

Dazzle Ships peaked at number five on the UK Albums Chart (remaining in the top 20 for six weeks),[21] and also reached the top-10 in New Zealand and Spain. The record achieved global sales of 300,000 copies; this figure represented a fraction of the sales of multi-million selling predecessor Architecture & Morality (1981).[22] Dazzle Ships was therefore considered a failure.[14][23] McCluskey recalled, "The painful joke at Virgin was that it shipped gold and returned platinum."[23]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Classic Pop[25]
Record Collector[27]
Record Mirror[28]
Smash Hits8/10[29]

Initial reviews of Dazzle Ships were largely negative,[7][32] with NME and other outlets making unfavourable comparisons to the work of OMD heroes Kraftwerk.[13][33] A scathing Mark Moses in The Boston Phoenix rechristened the album "Guzzle Shit by Offensive Manure in the Park".[34] Record Mirror's Jim Reid observed a "nightmarish" album "replete with the worst kind of futuristic nonsense",[28] while John Gill of Time Out labelled it "redundant avant-garde trickery".[1] Sun Times critic Michael Lawson dismissed the record's experimental content as filler, adding that "too much attention [is] given to soundtrack-like effects that only clutter what decent electropop baubles there are here."[35] There were sporadic appeals for listener perseverance: Paul Colbert of Melody Maker portrayed the album as "a challenge and a reward",[36] while Smash Hits reviewer Johnny Black argued that "the songs are waiting to be found and are as melodic, passionate and vital as ever."[29]

Although a critical and commercial disappointment upon release, Dazzle Ships came to be seen as a noble failure.[22] In The Rough Guide to Rock (1996), co-author Dave Castle said, "This austere evocation of modern alienation is the classic OMD album. Excellent use of samples and incredible synths on strong, melodic and above all highly intelligent pop music."[37] During the 2000s it was endorsed by Mojo as a "buried treasure" and an "ignored masterwork",[38] while Ned Raggett of AllMusic wrote that the "dazzling" record "beats Kraftwerk at their own game, science and the future turned into surprisingly warm, evocative songs."[24] Trouser Press remained unconvinced, describing the album as "impressive but not satisfying". The magazine noted "some amazing sounds and a powerful atmosphere", but felt that "found-tape gimmickry" had taken precedence over songwriting.[39]

Dazzle Ships met with critical acclaim upon its initial re-release in 2008.[40][41] Tom Ewing of Pitchfork wrote, "Luckily, you don't need a contrarian streak to love it... history has done its own remix job on Dazzle Ships, and the result is a richer, more unified album than anyone in 1983 could have imagined."[7] In a five-star review, Record Collector's Daryl Easlea observed "consistently eccentric" and "dark and detailed" content, calling the album "a weirdly satisfying listen".[27] Luke Turner of The Quietus asserted, "It stands the test of time as a heroic statement... Dazzle Ships was a fine realisation of that desire to be both pop and important that OMD first hinted at with 'Enola Gay' and 'Electricity'."[42] In a later review, Uncut's Stephen Dalton referred to a "bold fusion of politically slanted electro ballads, sampled radio dialogue, musique concrète and otherwordly sound effects", hailing the album as a "brave experimental swerve" that has been "rightly recognised as a lost masterpiece of forward-thinking avant-pop."[31]


Dazzle Ships has been championed by many artists, including producer, Mark Ronson.

Critics have acknowledged Dazzle Ships as an underrated and misunderstood work,[43][44] and a record ahead of its time.[45][46] John Bergstrom of PopMatters argued that while positive reappraisals of flop albums had become "all-too-common", the "prescient" Dazzle Ships lived up to the hype.[41] Quietus writer Stuart Huggett charted the record's journey "from 1983 release to 2016 Classic Album", stating that it features some of the band's strongest material but is "likely to remain too off the wall ever to permanently join the general public's Classic Albums canon".[47] Dazzle Ships has nevertheless appeared in lists of 1983's best albums; The A.V. Club named it one of the year's "Great but Underappreciated Records".[b] It was included in that same publication's "Hall of Fame",[12] as well as the Chicago Tribune's "10 Essential New Wave Albums",[53] the 1980s editon of Uncut's "Ultimate Record Collection",[54] and music journalist Paul Roland's "Ten Essential CDs" of the decade.[55] The album maintains a cult following.[47][56]

Dazzle Ships has inspired many artists.[57][58] Critic John Earls wrote that the "wildly uncommercial" record "flopped at the time but has gone on to be named by the Killers, Arcade Fire and Radiohead as an influence".[9] It served as the template for the albums Foxbase Alpha (1991) and In Evening Air (2010), by Saint Etienne and Future Islands, respectively.[6][59] Elsewhere, Dazzle Ships has influenced artists such as Anohni,[60][61] Telekinesis,[62][63] and Death Cab for Cutie, whose former guitarist, Chris Walla, identified it as the record that "everyone points to as [OMD's] magnum opus". He added, "It's really a gorgeous album. It's daring and it's weird and it leans a lot on the paranoia of the Cold War."[64] Music journalist Alexis Petridis noted Dazzle Ships' impact on producers, with the likes of Mark Ronson and Moby "hailing it as an inspiration".[60] Ronson listened to the record continually, saying, "I was just completely floored... It's just so elegant but a bit lo-fi at the same time."[65][66]

Several artists have borrowed directly from Dazzle Ships. The indie groups Another Sunny Day and Eggs released cover versions of "Genetic Engineering" (as 1989 and 1994 singles, respectively), with the latter's artwork being inspired by Dazzle Ships' inner sleeve; critic Stuart Huggett saw both recordings as helpful to the album's "survival".[47] Arcade Fire orchestrator Owen Pallett arranged an encore of songs from the album for a 2006 solo tour, and commented, "There have been certain records in my life that I feel have saved me. Saved my life... records that sound unique or try some new form of human expression. Records like Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark's Dazzle Ships."[67][68] A number of rap musicians have drawn from the album:[60] Kid Cudi sampled "ABC Auto-Industry" on his track "Simple As..." (2009),[23] while Lushlife recorded a 2012 cover of "The Romance of the Telescope".[69] Singer-songwriter Anton Barbeau referenced the album with his electronic piece "Slash Zed Zip" (2022), whose title is an anagram of "Dazzle Ships".[70]

Noah "Panda Bear" Lennox of Animal Collective stated that his band have listened to Dazzle Ships "on many tours".[71] The record has received further endorsements from Liars' Angus Andrew,[72] Low's Alan Sparhawk,[73] Amanda "MNDR" Warner,[66] Terre Thaemlitz,[74] physicist/musician Brian Cox,[75] and novelist/visual artist Douglas Coupland, who called it "amazing" and one of his 12 "must-have" albums.[76] Andrew and Sparhawk each listed Dazzle Ships among their favourite records,[72][73] the former describing it as "such a cohesive statement, portraying a bleak and lonely environment of a different sort." He added, "It's such an incredible feat to feature experiments like 'Dazzle Ships, Pts. 1-3' [sic], and have them... enhance an album with more straight forward tracks like 'Telegraph'."[72] In The Quietus, critic Ian Wade noted that the record is also cherished by "a whole host of dance types".[58]

Band response

After the release of Dazzle Ships, the band came to view the record as a creative mis-step. Humphreys lamented that "the good songs on it were lost in the overall presentation aspect." McCluskey assumed much of the responsibility, saying, "When the ideas man ran out of ideas, there was nothing left for the melody man [Humphreys] to work on." OMD manager Gordian Troeller expressed regret over not insisting the album be re-recorded. He said, "I didn't fight, Virgin didn't either... I think some of the misgivings Paul felt about the work at the time were too easily overriden by Andy."[1] The disappointing commercial performance of Dazzle Ships prompted OMD to move in a more conservative musical direction on subsequent releases.[22]

By 1988, McCluskey and Humphreys had come to regard "The Romance of the Telescope" as their favourite OMD song.[77] Upon Dazzle Ships' initial re-release in 2008, McCluskey noted its improved critical standing: "The album that almost completely killed our career seems to have become a work of dysfunctional genius... it's taken Paul [Humphreys] 25 years to forgive me for Dazzle Ships. But some people always hold it up as what we were all about, why they thought we were great."[22] Humphreys later said, "When we re-released it a few years ago we got five-star reviews... so perhaps it was just a bit ahead of its time. I know fans still cite it as their favourite [OMD] record."[78] Both men have since placed Dazzle Ships in the top three of the band's albums, along with Architecture & Morality (1981) and The Punishment of Luxury (2017).[79][80]

Track listing

  • Label copy credits: All songs written and/or arranged by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (except "Radio Waves", by OMD/Floyd).
  • Writing credits below from ASCAP database.
Side one
1."Radio Prague"Arranged by Humphreys, McCluskey1:18
2."Genetic Engineering"Humphreys, McCluskey3:37
3."ABC Auto-Industry"Humphreys, McCluskey2:06
4."Telegraph"Humphreys, McCluskey2:57
5."This Is Helena"Humphreys, McCluskey1:58
Total length:16:21
Side two
7."Dazzle Ships (Parts II, III & VII)"Humphreys, McCluskey2:21
8."The Romance of the Telescope"Humphreys, McCluskey3:27
9."Silent Running"Humphreys, McCluskey3:34
10."Radio Waves"McCluskey, John Floyd3:45
11."Time Zones"Arranged by Humphreys, McCluskey1:49
12."Of All the Things We've Made"Humphreys, McCluskey3:27
Total length:18:23
Bonus tracks on 2008 reissue
13."Telegraph" (The Manor Version 1981)Humphreys, McCluskey3:25
14."4-Neu" ("Genetic Engineering" single b-side)Humphreys, McCluskey3:34
15."Genetic Engineering" (312MM version)Humphreys, McCluskey5:12
16."66 and Fading" ("Telegraph" single b-side)Humphreys, McCluskey6:33
17."Telegraph" (extended version)Humphreys, McCluskey5:38
18."Swiss Radio International"None; "Arranged by OMD"1:03
Total length:25:25

The "Manor Version" of "Telegraph" was recorded at the same time as Architecture & Morality. "Swiss Radio International" was dropped from the album at the last minute. Like "Radio Prague", it contains the call sign for a radio station and was once referred to as "The Ice Cream Song" by drummer Malcolm Holmes due to its similarity to the melodies played by ice cream vans. Another version entitled "Radio Swiss International" appeared on the Unreleased Archive: Vol. 1 disc, included in the Souvenir, 40th anniversary box set issued in 2019. The disc also featured further demos entitled "Violin Piece" "SMPTE" and "Guitar Thrash", all dating back to the 1982/83 recording sessions.

A 40th anniversary release of Dazzle Ships, featuring further bonus demos and rarities, was announced on 2 February 2023, and released on 31 March.[81] It was released on CD and on double 12" vinyl, as well as being made available on downloading and streaming platforms.

Bonus tracks on 2023 reissue
13."Telegraph 82" (Very Early Demo)Humphreys, McCluskey2:50
14."Silent Running" (Demo)Humphreys, McCluskey3:25
15."Sold Our Souls" (The Avenue Demo)Humphreys, McCluskey3:12
16."Shakespeare 82"McCluskey0:50
17."Untitled Instrumental 82"Humphreys, McCluskey3:22
18."In Heaven Above" (4-Neu Demo)Humphreys, McCluskey2:51
19."Telegraph" (Live 1984)Humphreys, McCluskey3:50


Production details

  • Recorded at The Gramophone Suite, Gallery Studio and Mayfair Studio
  • Mixed at The Manor Studio
  • Engineered by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Rhett Davies, Ian Little, Keith Richard Nixon, Brian Tench
  • Produced by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Rhett Davies
  • Mastered at The Master Room by Arun Chakraverty
  • Designed by M. Garrett, K. Kennedy, P. Pennington, Peter Saville, and Brett Wickens for Peter Saville Associates.


In terms of instrumentation, Dazzle Ships saw the band begin to explore digital sampling keyboards (the E-mu Emulator) in addition to their continued use of analogue synthesizers and the Mellotron.

List of used instruments:



Certifications for Dazzle Ships
RegionCertificationCertified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[92]Gold100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Overall, Dazzle Ships has been described as "OMD's musique concrete experiment",[16] an "uncommercial album of sound collages and radio samples",[17] and an abandonment of synth-pop in favour of "a more avant-garde approach",[18] while DIY Mag writes that the even-numbered tracks and "Silent Running" are "pop songs in the accepted sense of the word," while the odd-numbered tracks "were a mish-mash of sound collages and mood pieces."[6]
  2. ^ See: [32][48][49][50][51][52]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Waller, Johnny; Humphreys, Mike. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Messages. Sidgwick & Jackson. 1987. ISBN 0-283-99234-4. pp. 110–118.
  2. ^ @OfficialOMD (14 April 2020). "Yes. We had never expected the success" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ "OMG! It's 40 Years of OMD". The News. 8 November 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "OMD Official Website Discography entry". Archived from the original on 18 April 2001. Retrieved 9 April 2008.
  5. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (18 November 2010). "Forgive us our synths – how 80s pop found favour again". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  6. ^ a b c Ware, Gareth (4 March 2013). "OMD: Of All the Thing We've Made: 'Dazzle Ships' At 30". DIY. Archived from the original on 26 January 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ a b c d Ewing, Tom (17 April 2008). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Dazzle Ships". Pitchfork. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
  8. ^ West, Mike (1982). Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Omnibus Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-7119-0149-X.
  9. ^ a b Earls, John (February 2020). "OMD Interview: 'Stockhausen or ABBA? Can't We Be Both?'". Classic Pop. Archived from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  10. ^ Wilson, Lois (30 September 2019). "OMD". Record Collector. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  11. ^ Mark, Paytress (10 April 2010). "Lou Reed: back on the road at 68". The Times. Archived from the original on 24 October 2021. Retrieved 24 October 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  12. ^ a b O'Neal, Sean (26 December 2006). "Permanent Records: Albums From The A.V. Club's Hall Of Fame". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on 13 May 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  13. ^ a b Goldstein, Dan (June 1984). "Junk Culture". Electronics & Music Maker. pp. 28–30.
  14. ^ a b c Bergstrom, John (16 April 2008). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Dazzle Ships". PopMatters. Retrieved 3 October 2009. Dazzle Ships... was viewed as one of the all-time flops.
  15. ^ @OfficialOMD (12 June 2020). "The Emulator sampler comes into its element" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  16. ^ Toland, Justin (23 March 2011). "Siriusmo: Mosaik". Fact. Retrieved 26 April 2023.
  17. ^ The Newsroom (3 February 2007). "Orchestral leap in the dark". The Scotsman. Retrieved 26 April 2023.
  18. ^ Jonze, Tim (18 March 2022). "'Nobody can even find a photograph of him. He's quite mysterious' – OMD's Andy McCluskey on Maurice Wade". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 18 March 2022. Retrieved 26 April 2023.
  19. ^ Thomson, Graeme (May 2023). "Radio Waves". Uncut. pp. 74–78.
  20. ^ "National Gallery of Canada: Dazzle-ships in Drydock at Liverpool, 1919". Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  21. ^ The Virgin Rock Yearbook: Volume 4. Edited by Al Clark. Virgin Books (1983).ISBN 0-907080-87-1.
  22. ^ a b c d Stanley, Bob (7 March 2008). "How to lose 3 million fans in one easy step". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  23. ^ a b c Ryan, Gary (14 October 2019). "Does Rock 'N' Roll Kill Braincells?! – Andy McCluskey". NME. Retrieved 21 February 2021. [Dazzle Ships] was considered a flop upon its original release.
  24. ^ a b's review of Dazzle Ships uses prose by Ned Raggett, originally published in the All Music Guide to Rock (2002). The date of publication is noted here as Raggett's commentary is used in a historical context within this article.
  25. ^ Wallace, Wyndham (May–June 2023). "OMD: Dazzle Ships". Classic Pop. No. 81. p. 95.
  26. ^ Eddy, Todd (May 2003). "The Synthesists (supplement)". Q. No. 202. [Dazzle Ships] stands alongside Architecture & Morality as a document of OMD's creative zenith [...] never again would McCluskey and co shine like they did on this transcendent record.
  27. ^ a b Easlea, Daryl (April 2008). "OMD | Dazzle Ships". Record Collector. No. 348. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
  28. ^ a b Reid, Jim (5 March 1983). "Blinded by the Light". Record Mirror. p. 21.
  29. ^ a b Black, Johnny (3–16 March 1983). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Dazzleships". Smash Hits. Vol. 5, no. 5. p. 41.
  30. ^ Houghton, Richard (2019). OMD: Pretending to See the Future (expanded paperback ed.). This Day in Music Books. p. 161. ISBN 978-1916115620. [Sounds'] Chris Burkham thought Dazzle Ships not that outstanding.
  31. ^ a b Dalton, Stephen (December 2018). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Dazzle Ships". Uncut. No. 259. p. 47.
  32. ^ a b O'Neal, Sean (20 August 2013). "Not Murmur: 36 Great but Underappreciated Records from 1983". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  33. ^ Bohn, Chris (5 March 1983). "Mutiny Unbountiful". NME. p. 32.
  34. ^ Moses, Mark (17 May 1983). "Off the Record". The Boston Phoenix. p. 33 (of section three).
  35. ^ Lawson, Michael (8 April 1983). "Records". The Sun Times. p. 15 (F3).
  36. ^ Colbert, Paul (5 May 1983). "On the Dazzle". Melody Maker. p. 16.
  37. ^ The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. 1996. p. 632. ISBN 9781858282015.
  38. ^ "Buried Treasure". Mojo. No. 165. August 2007. p. 130.
  39. ^ "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Dazzle Ships". Trouser Press. Archived from the original on 29 January 2003. Retrieved 31 July 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  40. ^ Murphy, Tom (16 March 2011). "Andy McCluskey of OMD on Dazzle Ships, the influence of '70s Krautrock and Peter Saville". Westword. Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  41. ^ a b Bergstrom, John (15 December 2008). "The Best Re-Issues of 2008". PopMatters. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  42. ^ Turner, Luke (28 March 2008). "Dazzle Ships". The Quietus. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  43. ^ Dalton, Stephen (6 November 2019). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark review — a spectacle peppered with enduringly great tracks". The Times. Archived from the original on 29 August 2021. Retrieved 29 August 2021. In recent years some of [OMD's] more avant-garde releases have been reassessed as underrated classics, notably their boldly experimental 1983 flop album Dazzle Ships.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  44. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Biography". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 10 August 2020. Retrieved 18 February 2023. Dazzle Ships was later embraced as a misunderstood and inspired work, a creative high point.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  45. ^ Bergstrom, John (8 April 2013). "OMD: English Electric". PopMatters. Retrieved 24 April 2022. [Dazzle Ships] has in recent years been re-valued as a bold, ahead-of-its-time combination of popcraft and technology.
  46. ^ Cárdenas, Patricia (27 August 2019). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark Pioneered Millennial Pop Music". Miami New Times. Retrieved 24 April 2022. [Dazzle] Ships has since been reframed as an album ahead of its time.
  47. ^ a b c Huggett, Stuart (17 May 2016). "OMD's Cold War Album Comes In From The Cold: Dazzle Ships Live". The Quietus. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  48. ^ "The 25 Best Albums of 1983". Radio X. 30 August 2023. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
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  52. ^ "Trans FM Poll Results (1983)". Trans FM: A Guide to CKCU 93.1. Vol. 5, no. 7. CKCU-FM. March 1984. p. 2. Best Electronic Album: Dazzle Ships.
  53. ^ "Top of the Pops!". Chicago Tribune. 26 February 1998. p. 63 (Tempo, p. 1).
  54. ^ "Ultimate Record Collection: 1980s". Uncut. 2020. Retrieved 12 December 2023 – via
  55. ^ Roland, Paul (1999). Rock & Pop. Teach Yourself. pp. 142–143. ISBN 9780340749364. 5. OMD: Dazzle Ships.
  56. ^ Travis, Ben (1 September 2015). "OMD: watch Genetic Engineering live from Dazzle Ships show in Liverpool". Evening Standard. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  57. ^ Gray, Martin (7 April 2023). "OMD – Dazzle Ships: 40th Anniversary Reappraisal". Louder Than War. Retrieved 18 May 2023. A lot of bands now cite Dazzle Ships as an influence.
  58. ^ a b Wade, Ian (8 April 2013). "Souvenirs: Andy McCluskey of OMD's Favourite Albums". The Quietus. Retrieved 1 November 2013. In 1983 [OMD] released the slightly bonkers but deeply influential Dazzle Ships.
  59. ^ Stamp, Tony (6 April 2017). "The past and present of Future Islands". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
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  91. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts – 1983" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  92. ^ "British album certifications – OMD – Dazzle Ships". British Phonographic Industry. 7 March 1983. Retrieved 27 December 2020.

External links


Veröffentlichungen von OMD die im OTRS erhältlich sind/waren:

Liberator ¦ Universal ¦ Architecture & Morality: The Singles ¦ Dazzle Ships ¦ Bauhaus Staircase

OMD auf Wikipedia (oder andere Quellen):

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (englisch für: Orchestrale Manöver im Dunkeln), kurz OMD oder O.M.D., ist eine britische Popband. Sie gehörte in den 1980er Jahren zu den erfolgreichen Vertretern des Synthiepops sowie der New Wave.


1978–1984: Anfänge und Erfolge als Teil der New Wave

Die britische Band wurde 1978 von Andy McCluskey (* 24. Juni 1959 in Heswall) und Paul Humphreys (* 27. Februar 1960 in London) gegründet. Auf ihrer ersten Englandtour 1978 waren sie Vorgruppe für Gary Numan. Die erste Single namens Electricity erschien 1979 bei Factory Records, produziert von Martin Hannett unter dem Pseudonym Martin Zero. 1980 erschien die erste LP Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark auf Dindisc. Aus dem Erstling wurden Messages (auch als 10″) und Red Frame, White Light als Singles ausgekoppelt. Gerade in diesen ersten Veröffentlichungen hörte man sehr deutlich den Einfluss von Kraftwerk. Besonders Electricity wies musikalisch, textlich und konzeptionell starke Parallelen zum Album Radioaktivität von Kraftwerk auf.

Viele der Lieder aus dem ersten Album hatten zum Repertoire ihrer Vorgängerband, The ID, gehört.

Aus dem im Herbst desselben Jahres erschienenen Folgealbum Organisation wurde die erfolgreiche Single Enola Gay ausgekoppelt. Die Erstauflage der UK-Pressung enthält unter dem Titel The Unreleased ’78 Tapes eine 7″ mit teils recht experimentellen Mitschnitten früher Live-Auftritte.

Ende 1981 folgte Architecture & Morality mit den Hits Souvenir sowie Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc). Letzterer erreichte Platz 4 der UK-Charts und stand in Deutschland sogar vier Wochen lang auf Platz eins – 1982 war dies die in Deutschland meistverkaufte Single-Schallplatte. Vor allem in Südostasien hielt sich der Song wochenlang in den Charts und avancierte weltweit zur meistverkauften und meistgespielten Single des Jahres 1982. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt ergänzten Martin Cooper (* 1. Oktober 1958) und Malcolm Holmes (* 28. Juli 1960) die Gruppe.

Auf den B-Seiten der Single-Auskopplungen von Architecture & Morality erschienen bereits Stücke, die in kaum veränderter Fassung auf der folgenden Langspielplatte Dazzle Ships im Frühjahr 1983 enthalten waren. Stilistisch strenger und experimenteller, blieb diesem Album der große kommerzielle Erfolg des Vorgängers versagt. Die Single-Auskopplungen Genetic Engineering und Telegraph erreichten nur mittlere Chart-Positionen. Endpunkte dieser ersten Periode von OMD bildeten in der Folge die Stücke The Avenue als B-Seite der Maxi-Single Locomotion und (The Angels Keep Turning) The Wheels of the Universe, eine einseitig bespielte Single, die Beilage einer special edition des Folge-Albums Junk Culture wurde. Dieser Misserfolg korrespondiert mit dem Erfolg gitarrenorientierter Musik, deren Protagonisten Big Country und U2 waren und die im Fall von Simple Minds (Waterfront) und Ultravox (One Small Day) und sogar bei The Human League (The Lebanon) zu einer vorübergehenden Abwendung von der Verwendung elektronischer Klangerzeuger führte. Im Übrigen wagte Dazzle Ships thematisch wie stilistisch die größte Annäherung an Kraftwerk, zu denen OMD zwischenzeitlich auch persönlichen Kontakt hatten.

1984–1988: Musikalische Veränderungen

Mit dem ab April 1984 verkauften Album Junk Culture führte OMD Stilelemente lateinamerikanischer Musik ein und verwendete den Fairlight-Computer, der nach frühem Einsatz bei Kate Bush, Jean-Michel Jarre, Mike Oldfield und ABC die Produktions- und Kompositionsweise elektronischer Musik radikal verändert hatte. Als weitere Band-Mitglieder waren 1984 bis 1988 die Brüder Graham und Neil Weir (The Weir Brothers) dabei, obwohl sie ursprünglich nur als Live-Verstärkung der Band vorgesehen waren.

Die Mitte 1985 veröffentlichte LP Crush wurde, nicht zuletzt auf Druck der Plattenfirma, von Stephen Hague produziert, der in den Folgejahren durch seine Zusammenarbeit mit Bands wie Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, New Order, Climie Fisher oder The Communards zu einem der bedeutendsten Popproduzenten der späten 1980er wurde. Crush wandte sich noch deutlicher von den experimentelleren Vorläufer-Alben ab und war ein weitgehend auf den Mainstream-Geschmack zugeschnittenes Album, das vor allem akustischen Instrumenten (Drums, Saxophon, Gitarren) breiteren Raum einräumte und zudem OMD-untypisch viele Liebeslieder enthielt. Mit den Singles So in Love und (vor allem in Deutschland) Secret konnten OMD gute Charterfolge erzielen und fanden auch in den USA viele Fans.

Einziger Top-10-Hit der Gruppe in den USA war If You Leave aus dem Soundtrack des Films Pretty in Pink, der dort Platz 4 in den Single-Charts erreichte.

Mit dem letzten gemeinsamen und wiederum von Stephen Hague produzierten Album The Pacific Age (1986), dessen Single (Forever) Live and Die in Deutschland mit einer Top-Ten-Platzierung erfolgreich war, zeigte OMD Ansätze zu einer Rückkehr zu experimentelleren Formen. Die Single We Love You wurde in Australien ein Hit. Der Titel Shame wurde für die Singleveröffentlichung noch einmal neu aufgenommen, fiel aber beim Publikum durch. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt konnten sich McCluskey und Humphreys nicht mehr auf einen gemeinsamen musikalischen Kurs einigen. Es folgten 1988 die letzte gemeinsame Single Dreaming und ein Best-of-Album im Frühjahr 1988. Als B-Seite wurde mit dem Stück Gravity Never Failed ein Stück aus der Zeit der Aufnahmen zu Architecture & Morality erstmals veröffentlicht.

1988–2005: Spaltung und McCluskeys Erfolg mit Sugar Tax

Anschließend verließen Humphreys, Cooper und Holmes die Band und gründeten ein Projekt namens „The Listening Pool“ (1993) und das Label Telegraph Records, das allerdings bald insolvent wurde.

Andy McCluskey behielt nach einem Rechtsstreit die Namensrechte an „OMD“. Er unternahm nach einer dreijährigen Pause ein Comeback unter diesem Namen, das (auch für ihn) überraschend erfolgreich war. Bei Liveauftritten wurde McCluskey von einer Band begleitet: an den Keyboards Nigel Ipinson (* Mai 1970) und Phil Coxon (* 1. Juli 1963) sowie am Schlagzeug Abe Juckes (* 7. April 1971). Das Album Sugar Tax (1991) mit den Singles Sailing on the Seven Seas, Pandora’s Box und Call My Name sowie dem Kraftwerk-Cover Neon Lights verkaufte sich so gut, dass McCluskey 1993 ein weiteres Album aufnahm: Liberator. Dessen mäßige Verkaufszahlen veranlassten ihn zu einem musikalischen Kurswechsel mit dem Album Universal (1996), dessen Single Walking on the Milky Way immerhin Platz 17 der britischen Single-Charts erobern konnte. Zwei der Stücke hatte Karl Bartos beigesteuert, für dessen Projekt „Elektric Music“ McCluskey 1993 ein Stück geschrieben und gesungen hatte. Die mageren Verkaufszahlen des Albums führten im Herbst 1998 jedoch letztlich zur Auflösung des Projekts. Im selben Jahr folgten noch ein weiteres Best-of-Album (The O.M.D. Singles) und eine Remix-Single, die allerdings nicht in Deutschland veröffentlicht wurde. Das letzte offizielle Album war Navigation (2001), eine B-Seiten-Anthologie.

Im Jahr 1997 war McCluskey an der Gründung der Gruppe Atomic Kitten beteiligt, deren Produzent er im Folgenden wurde. Paul Humphreys arbeitete zwischenzeitlich auch mit Claudia Brücken (ehemalige Sängerin von Propaganda) als Onetwo zusammen, mit der er von 2013 bis 2016 auch privat liiert war.

Ab 2005: Neuanfang

Im Jahr 2005 kamen OMD in der Besetzung Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys, Malcolm Holmes und Stuart Kershaw erstmals seit Jahren wieder für einen Auftritt zusammen. Anlass war die Aufzeichnung der RTL-Sendung Die ultimative Chartshow – Die erfolgreichsten Künstler der 80er-Jahre. Dabei kündigten McCluskey und Humphreys eine erneute Zusammenarbeit an, und in einem BBC-Interview ergänzte McCluskey, dafür seien auch seine Kinder verantwortlich, die ihn immer wieder gedrängt hatten, wieder „so tolle Musik“ wie in den 1980ern zu machen.

Der Sänger Andy McCluskey bei der Nokia Night of the Proms im Dezember 2006

Im Dezember 2006 waren OMD neben u. a. John Miles und Mike Oldfield zu Gast bei der Nokia Night of the Proms, die durch zwölf deutsche Städte tourte. Auf dem dazugehörigen Album gibt es zwei live gespielte Songs der Band.

Im Frühjahr 2007 führte die Band eine erfolgreiche Europa-Tournee in Originalbesetzung durch; allein in Deutschland gab sie neun Konzerte (u. a. in Hamburg, Köln, Berlin, Leipzig, München und Mainz). Dabei wurden zwei unterschiedliche Konzertprogramme aufgeführt: Unter dem Namen Architecture & Morality spielte OMD das gleichnamige Album komplett, und unter The Best of O.M.D. Hits aus allen Jahren – auch die der 1990er. Weitere geplante Tourneen im Herbst 2007 wurden wegen einer Krebserkrankung von Andy McCluskeys Ehefrau abgesagt, doch im September/Oktober 2008 tourte die Band mit der Vorgruppe China Crisis durch England.

Am 7. Dezember 2009 erschien dann die Doppel-DVD Electricity – featuring a performance of The Energy Suite, eine Aufnahme eines zweiteiligen Livekonzerts im Juni 2009, zusammen mit dem Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. The Energy Suite enthält erstmals auch Kompositionen Andrew McCluskeys zu einem gemeinsamen Kunstprojekt mit Peter Saville und Hambi. The Energy Suite war zuvor lediglich im Rahmen einer Ausstellung in Liverpool 2008 zu hören gewesen und hatte ursprünglich nicht einem größeren Publikum zugänglich gemacht werden sollen.

Am 17. September 2010 erschien das Studioalbum History of Modern. Die erste Single If You Want It wurde eineinhalb Wochen zuvor als Download, 7″-Vinyl-Single, CD-Single und CD-Maxi veröffentlicht. McCluskey und Humphreys hatten das Album selbst produziert, arrangiert, aufgenommen und abgemischt.

Mit English Electric veröffentlichten OMD im April 2013 ihr zwölftes Studioalbum. Auch dieses hatte man zuvor schon in voller Länge als kostenloser Online-Stream[1] anhören können. Das Album führt die bereits von Dazzle Ships bekannte Mischung aus Songs und Sound-Collagen weiter fort.

Nachdem Malcolm Holmes auf der Tournee 2013 nach einem Herzanfall nicht mehr spielen konnte und die Band den Rest der Tour durch die USA absagen musste, vertritt Stuart Kershaw ihn seitdem am Schlagzeug. Mit Stuart Kershaw produzierte Andy McCluskey auch viele der Songs aus den 1990er Jahren, darunter auch Hitsingles, wie Sailing on the Seven Seas, sowie einige Hits von Atomic Kitten, darunter auch Whole Again.

Am 1. September 2017 erschien das 13. reguläre Studioalbum The Punishment of Luxury, das das Konzept von English Electric weiter fortführt. Die ersten vier Alben von OMD, also Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Organisation, Architecture & Morality und Dazzle Ships wurden 2018 als Vinyl-Ausgabe wiederveröffentlicht.[2] Am 27. Oktober 2023 erschien das 14. Studioalbum Bauhaus Staircase.



JahrTitelHöchstplatzierung, Gesamtwochen/​‑monate, AuszeichnungChartplatzierungenChartplatzierungen[3][4]Template:Charttabelle/Wartung/Monatsdaten
(Jahr, Titel, Plat­zie­rungen, Wo­chen/Mo­nate, Aus­zeich­nungen, Anmer­kungen)
1980Orchestral Manoeuvres in the DarkUK27

(28 Wo.)UK
Erstveröffentlichung: 22. Februar 1980
Verkäufe: + 100.000

(25 Wo.)UK
Erstveröffentlichung: 24. Oktober 1980
Verkäufe: + 100.000
1981Architecture & MoralityDE8
(27 Wo.)DE
(½ Mt.)AT

(39 Wo.)UK
(12 Wo.)US
Erstveröffentlichung: 8. November 1981
Verkäufe: + 450.000
1983Dazzle ShipsDE11
(24 Wo.)DE

(14 Wo.)UK
(6 Wo.)US
Erstveröffentlichung: 4. März 1983
Wiederveröffentlichung: 31. März 2023 (40th Anniversary Edition)
Verkäufe: + 100.000
in UK 2023 1 Woche auf Platz 59
1984Junk CultureDE32
(20 Wo.)DE
(1 Wo.)CH

(28 Wo.)UK
(6 Wo.)US
Erstveröffentlichung: 30. April 1984
Verkäufe: + 100.000
(19 Wo.)DE

(12 Wo.)UK
(53 Wo.)US
Erstveröffentlichung: 17. Juni 1985
Verkäufe: + 110.000
1986The Pacific AgeDE15
(10 Wo.)DE
(5 Wo.)CH

(7 Wo.)UK
(23 Wo.)US
Erstveröffentlichung: 29. September 1986
Verkäufe: + 160.000
1991Sugar TaxDE8

(56 Wo.)DE

(14 Wo.)AT
(23 Wo.)CH

(29 Wo.)UK
Erstveröffentlichung: 7. Mai 1991
Verkäufe: + 600.000
(20 Wo.)DE
(4 Wo.)CH
(6 Wo.)UK
(1 Wo.)US
Erstveröffentlichung: 14. Juni 1993
(8 Wo.)DE
(10 Wo.)AT
(4 Wo.)CH
(3 Wo.)UK
Erstveröffentlichung: 2. September 1996
2010History of ModernDE5
(9 Wo.)DE
(1 Wo.)AT
(1 Wo.)CH
(1 Wo.)UK
Erstveröffentlichung: 17. September 2010
2013English ElectricDE10
(4 Wo.)DE
(1 Wo.)AT
(2 Wo.)CH
(3 Wo.)UK
Erstveröffentlichung: 5. April 2013
2017The Punishment of LuxuryDE9
(3 Wo.)DE
(1 Wo.)AT
(1 Wo.)CH
(2 Wo.)UK
Erstveröffentlichung: 1. September 2017
2023Bauhaus StaircaseDE7
(3 Wo.)DE
(1 Wo.)AT
(2 Wo.)CH
(2 Wo.)UK
Erstveröffentlichung: 27. Oktober 2023

grau schraffiert: keine Chartdaten aus diesem Jahr verfügbar



  • 1992: in der Kategorie „Kraftrille des Jahres“
  • 1994: in der Kategorie „Ohrwurm des Jahres“


Commons: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Sammlung von Bildern, Videos und Audiodateien


  1. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: English Electric | Advance | Pitchfork. 4. April 2013, abgerufen am 8. Juni 2023.
  2. Die ersten OMD-Alben wieder auf Vinyl. Abgerufen am 18. Dezember 2018.
  3. Chartquellen: DE AT CH UK UK2 US
  4. The Billboard Albums von Joel Whitburn, 6th Edition, Record Research 2006, ISBN 0-89820-166-7.

Same album, but different version(s)...

OMD ¦ Dazzle Ships
CHF 27.00 inkl. MwSt