Andy McCluskey

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Andy McCluskey
Andy McCluskey 2008.JPG
30th Anniversary "Messages" Tour
(Newcastle City Hall, 2008)
Background information
Birth name George Andrew McCluskey
Born (1959-06-24) 24 June 1959 (age 56)
Origin Heswall, Wirral, Cheshire, England
Genres New wave, synthpop, electronic, post-punk, experimental
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, record producer
Instruments Vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, percussion, horns, programming
Associated acts VCL XI, Equinox, Pegasus, The Id, Dalek I Love You, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Atomic Kitten
Notable instruments
Fender Jazz Bass
Rickenbacker 4001 bass

George Andrew "Andy" McCluskey (born 24 June 1959 in Heswall, Wirral, Merseyside) is an English musician, songwriter and record producer[1] who is regarded as a pioneer of electronic music in the United Kingdom.[2] McCluskey is widely recognized as the frontman of globally successful new wave band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), but is also known as the founder of girl group Atomic Kitten.[3] An Ivor Novello Award-nominated songwriter,[4] he wrote or co-wrote multiple international hits, including: "Enola Gay", "Joan of Arc", "Maid of Orleans", "If You Leave" and "Sailing on the Seven Seas" for OMD; and "Right Now", "See Ya", "Whole Again" and "Cradle" for Atomic Kitten.

McCluskey has been described by critic Ned Raggett in AllMusic as an artist "who clearly could balance artistic and commercial impulses in a winning fashion."[5] His distinctive, self-deprecating on-stage routine was dubbed the "Trainee Teacher Dance" by the BBC's Stuart Maconie,[6] who wrote that it became "the dance-floor routine of choice" for students in the early-to-mid 1980s.[7] In live performances, McCluskey often plays bass guitar (with strings inverted) and occasionally, keyboard instruments and guitar; he continues performing with OMD to the present day.


McCluskey met Paul Humphreys at Great Meols Primary School, in Elwyn Road, and played with him in several bands, including Hitlerz Underpantz, VCL XI and the Id. McCluskey then attended Calday Grange Grammar School in West Kirby. McCluskey briefly joined Dalek I Love You as their lead singer, but left because he wanted to sing his own songs. McCluskey teamed up with Humphreys again to form OMD in 1978.

Humphreys and the rest of the band split with McCluskey in 1989, with McCluskey retaining the OMD name. He disbanded the group in 1996. A decade later, in 2006, McCluskey reunited with Humphreys and the other former OMD members for a successful reformation of the band. In the interim, he founded pop group Atomic Kitten.

Atomic Kitten and the Genie Queen[edit]

In 1998, McCluskey founded the UK pop group Atomic Kitten and co-wrote several of their hit singles. Their song "Whole Again", co-written by McCluskey, was his first UK No.1,[8] and he and his fellow songwriters were nominated for the Ivor Novello Award for excellence in songwriting.[4]

More recently, McCluskey formed White Noise Records and publishing label where he tried to recreate the formula of Atomic Kitten with Liverpool girl group, the Genie Queen.[9] He also bought a recording studio, the Motor Museum, in Liverpool.[10]

OMD reformation[edit]

McCluskey and Humphreys reformed OMD for a performance on German TV in June 2005, with the promise of more gigs to follow. 2007 saw the first tour of the reformed OMD, including Martin Cooper and Malcolm Holmes, commemorating the twenty-sixth anniversary of the release of their seminal album Architecture & Morality. The album itself was remastered and re-released to coincide.

The band released a CD and DVD of their triumphant Hammersmith Apollo (London) live gig from the 2007 reunion tour in the spring of 2008 before undertaking a short tour to celebrate thirty years as a band in the autumn of 2008, concluding at London's historic Roundhouse venue on 7 October 2008. A compilation of their singles and videos, Messages: Greatest Hits, was released to coincide with the tour. On 20 September 2010 Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark released their 11th studio album History of Modern, their first in 14 years.

Bass technique[edit]

McCluskey is right-handed, but originally learned to play bass guitar on a left-handed model. As a result, he plays with the strings "upside down" (i.e., with the lowest-pitched string on the bottom and the highest-pitched one on top), counter to normal practice.[11]


  1. ^ Andy McCluskey biography at IMDb
  2. ^ See Legacy and influence of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.
  3. ^ Andy McCluskey credits at AllMusic
  4. ^ a b "Gray and Healy battle for Ivors". BBC News. 23 April 2002. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  5. ^ Raggett, Ned. Sugar Tax review. AllMusic. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  6. ^ Fulton, Rick (12 May 2013). "Manoeuvring back on scene". Sunday Mail. The Free Library. Retrieved 12 October 2013. Fans love your distinctive dancing, which Stuart Maconie called the 'Trainee Teacher Dance'. 
  7. ^ Maconie, Stuart. Cider With Roadies. p.142. Ebury Publishing. 2004.
  8. ^ "Chart Stats – Atomic Kitten – Whole Again". Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  9. ^ "Three Wishes for Genie Queen". BBC. 9 October 2003. Archived from the original on 9 October 2003. Retrieved 4 September 2010. 
  10. ^ "Studiofile: Motor Museum, Liverpool, UK". Future Music (224): 22. March 2010. 
  11. ^ "A Message from Andy McCluskey of OMD". Archived from the original on 10 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-25. I play bass with the strings upside down even though I am right handed....because my first bass was a left handed Wilson Rapier...