Messages (OMD song)

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Sleeve of the UK 7" single
Single by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
from the album Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
B-side "Taking Sides Again"
"Waiting for the Man"
Released 2 May 1980 (1980-05-02)
Format 7" vinyl, 10" vinyl
Recorded Advision Studios, London
Genre Synthpop, new wave
Length 3:59 (7" version)
4:06 (album version)
4:41 (10" version)
Label Dindisc
Writer(s) Paul Humphreys
Andy McCluskey
Producer(s) Mike Howlett
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark singles chronology
"Red Frame/White Light"
"Enola Gay"

"Messages" is the third single of the synthpop group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), released in 1980. The song originally featured on their eponymous debut album, but a re-recorded version provided OMD with their first Top 40 hit single in the UK, reaching number 13.[1] As with debut single "Electricity", the band embraced the concept of machines singing the song's chorus.[2]

Most copies of the original 10" pressing with the album version were scrapped on behalf of the Band (because they wanted to re-record the song), but a handful did escape destruction. Some of these were given away as part of a competition for the OMD fan club in 1980. These pressings can only distinguished by the shorter track time and different runout information.

The later Grey two tone labels incorrectly state the producer as Chester Valentino. Mike Howlett is the producer, as the track was remixed and times at 4:48 - later editions again feature Grey labels correctly attributed to Mike Howlett and were also issued with different coloured record labels including Red, Green and a Pink/White combination. These labels also correctly credit Mike Howlett for the production.

The song was featured in the second series of Ashes to Ashes (2009).

Critic Ned Raggett in AllMusic said: " 'Messages' wears the emotion of its lyrics on its sleeve, with a killer opening line - 'It worries me, this kind of thing, how you hope to live alone and occupy your waking hours' - and a melody both propulsive and fragile." He described the re-recorded single version, which would later appear on the band's compilation albums, as "a far more stunning reworking".[3] Colleague Dave Thompson concurred, writing: "The result was glorious, with the song boasting a more bittersweet atmosphere and a stronger emotional feel, fed by the even lusher keyboards. There's a new brightness and crispness to the overall sound as well, emphasized by the prominent rhythm. Where the original 'Messages' brooded, the more sharply defined recut brings a touch of anger and self-reproach that its predecessor lacked."[4]

Song versions and B-sides[edit]

The re-recorded versions differ strongly from the album version. The 7" version is an early fade out of the 10" version. The 10" version is found on the compilation albums The Best of OMD (1989), The OMD Singles (1998) and Messages: Greatest Hits (2008), which takes its title from this song and also includes the music video. The 10" version was also added as a bonus track on the remastered Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark album, released in 2003.

An early version of "Messages", recorded on 20 August 1979, appears on the group's Peel Sessions 1979–1983 album, showing that the song originally had a slower tempo than either the single or album versions.

An instrumental dub version of "Messages", titled "Taking Sides Again" is featured as the B-side on both the 7" and 10" singles.

Live performances of "Messages" can be found on the DVD's OMD Live: Architecture & Morality & More (2007) and Electricity: OMD with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (2009).

On the 10" single, a cover version of The Velvet Underground's song "I'm Waiting for the Man" was included, retitled "Waiting for the Man". Both B-sides can be found as bonus tracks on the remastered Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, only "Waiting for the Man" was included on the Navigation: The OMD B-Sides compilation album, released in 2001.

Sleeve design[edit]

There are different sleeves for the 7" and 10". Both were designed by Peter Saville and Brett Wickens. The photography was done by Trevor Key.


7" vinyl[edit]

  • UK: DinDisc DIN15
Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Messages" (7" version) Paul Humphreys, Andy McCluskey 3:59
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Taking Sides Again"   Humphreys, McCluskey 4:19

10" vinyl[edit]

  • UK: DinDisc DIN15/10
Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Messages" (10" version) Humphreys, McCluskey 4:41
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Waiting for the Man"   Lou Reed 2:54
2. "Taking Sides Again"   Humphreys, McCluskey 4:19


  1. ^ "Chart Stats - Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Messages". Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  2. ^ "Interview: Andy McCluskey, OMD". PRS for Music Online Magazine. 19 March 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013. Many of our songs use the synth melody as the chorus. There are verses but generally the melody is the chorus. 
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links[edit]