Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: “Enola Gay” (1980)

You know what the difference is between post-war Germany and post-war America? A sense of shame.

Kronomyth 1.9: Hiroshima mon amour.

Hiroshima Mon Amour was the name of a 1959 film by French director Alain Resnais. It’s an odd juxtaposition, love and nuclear annihilation, until you recall that the bomber in the Hiroshima attack was named after the pilot’s mother (Enola Gay) and the bomb it dropped was called “Little Boy.” In the subsequent Nagasaki attack, the bomb was named “Fat Man.” Leave it to the land of the free and the home of the slaves to put an Oedipal twist on genocide.

In 1977, Ultravox released a song entitled “Hiroshima Mon Amour.” Perhaps taking their inspiration from the song, OMD released Enola Gay several years later. Although OMD’s song is clearly about the bombing of Hiroshima, the song’s romantic delivery likely meant that the song’s dark message flew over more than a few heads. Regardless of whether or not the song’s message hit its target, it’s an early synthesizer classic that has aged remarkably well, particularly its pioneering use of electronic drums.

The B side in most regions was the non-album Annex, a dream-like track that’s heavy on atmosphere but doesn’t feel fully baked. The main melody, for example, seems to consist of two notes for much of the way, with percussive sounds layered on top. Generally speaking, the material on Organisation is much better than this B side would have you believe. FYI, the title alludes to annex the verb, not the noun.

Read more OMD reviews

Original 7-inch single version

A1. Enola Gay (Andy McCluskey) (3:36)
B1. Annex (Andy McCluskey/Paul Humphreys) (4:32)

Original 7-inch single version (Canada)
A1. Enola Gay (Andy McCluskey) (3:36)
B1. Almost (Andy McCluskey/Paul Humphries) (3:39)

Original 7-inch single version (Italy)
A1. Enola Gay (Andy McCluskey) (3:25)
B1. Electricity (Andy McCluskey/Paul Humphries) (3:32)

Original 7-inch single version (Spain)
A1. Enola Gay (Andy McCluskey) (3:27)
B1. The More I See You (Harry Warren/Mack Gordon) (3:56)

The Plastic

Released on 7-inch single on September 26, 1980 in the UK, Australia and New Zealand (Dindisc, DIN 22), Canada (Dindisc/Virgin, VS 1123), France (Dindisc, 102454), Germany (Virgin, 102 454), Italy (Dindisc, VIN 45033), Japan (Victor, VIPX-1549), the Netherlands (Dindisc, 102.454), Portugal (Dindisc, VVD-45.035 ES) and Spain (Dindisc, A-102454) with picture sleeve; reached #8 on the UK charts (charted on October 4, 1980 for 15 weeks).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *