Genetic Engineering (song)

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"Genetic Engineering"
Single by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
from the album Dazzle Ships
B-side "4-NEU"
Released 11 February 1983[1]
Format 7" single, 12" single
Recorded The Manor, Shipton-on-Cherwell, Oxfordshire, England
Genre New wave
Length 3:37
Label Telegraph (Virgin)
Writer(s) Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys
Producer(s) OMD, Rhett Davies
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark singles chronology
"Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)"
"Genetic Engineering"

"Genetic Engineering" is a song by British band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, released as the first single from their fourth studio album Dazzle Ships. Frontman Andy McCluskey has noted that the song is not an attack on genetic engineering, as many assumed at the time, including veteran radio presenter Dave Lee Travis upon playing the song on BBC Radio 1. McCluskey stated: "I was very positive about the subject. People didn't listen to the lyrics...I think they automatically assumed it would be anti."[2]

Charting at number 20 on the UK Singles Chart, "Genetic Engineering" ended the band's run of four consecutive Top 10 hits in the UK. It was also a Top 20 hit in several European territories, and peaked at number 5 in Spain. It missed the United States Billboard Hot 100 but made number 32 on the Mainstream Rock chart. US critic Ned Raggett retrospectively lauded the "soaring", "enjoyable" single in a positive review of Dazzle Ships for AllMusic, asserting: "Why it wasn't a hit remains a mystery."[3]

Critics in prominent music publications have suggested that the first 45 seconds of the song were a direct influence on Radiohead's "Fitter Happier", which appears on that band's 1997 album OK Computer.[3][4][5] Theon Weber in Stylus argued that the Radiohead track is "deeply indebted" to "Genetic Engineering".[4] The synthesized speech featured on the track is taken from a Speak & Spell, an educational electronic toy introduced by in the 1970s intended to teach children with spelling.

Track listing[edit]

7" vinyl single and 7" picture disc[edit]

  • UK: Telegraph VS 527

Side one

  1. "Genetic Engineering" – 3:37

Side two

  1. "4-NEU" – 3:33

12" vinyl single[edit]

  • UK: Telegraph VS 527-12

Side one

  1. "Genetic Engineering" (312mm version) – 5:18

Side two

  1. "4-NEU" – 3:33

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1983) Peak
Belgian Singles Chart[6] 18
German Singles Chart 20
Irish Singles Chart[7] 11
Spanish Singles Chart 5
UK Singles Chart[8] 20
US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[9] 32

Cover versions[edit]

"Genetic Engineering" was covered by indie rock band Eggs and released as a single in 1994.[10]

It was also covered by Another Sunny Day as a limited edition single in 1989 and as an extra track on the re-release of on their 'London Weekend' album.

Optiganally Yours recorded a cover for a "very low-key tribute compilation".[11]

More recently, it has been covered by the indie rock band Oxford Collapse as part of the Hann-Byrd EP released in 2008.


  1. ^ "OMD Discography: Singles 1979-84". Retrieved 10 January 2010. 
  2. ^ Stanley, Bob. How to lose 3 million fans in one easy step. The Guardian. 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  3. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "Dazzle Ships review". Allmusic. Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Weber, Theon (13 March 2007). "On First Listen: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". Stylus. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Bergstrom, John (17 April 2008). "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Dazzle Ships Review". PopMatters. Retrieved 3 October 2009. 
  6. ^ "The Belgium Charts -". Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  7. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  8. ^ "Chart Stats - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "Allmusic - Billboard singles - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  10. ^ "Eggs - Genetic Engineering (7", Single)". Discogs. Retrieved 10 January 2010. 
  11. ^ " » Audio". Retrieved 25 June 2012.