If You Leave

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For the Daughter album, see If You Leave (album). For the Eleanor McEvoy album, see If You Leave....
"If You Leave"
Single by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
from the album Pretty in Pink soundtrack
Released 21 April 1986
Format 7", 12"
Recorded 1986
Genre Synthpop, new wave
Length 4:30
Label Virgin Records (UK)
A&M Records (US)
Writer(s) Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys, Martin Cooper
Producer(s) Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Tom Lord-Alge
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark singles chronology
"La Femme Accident"
"If You Leave"
"(Forever) Live and Die"

"If You Leave" is a 1986 song by the British synthpop group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD). It was recorded for the soundtrack to the film Pretty in Pink (1986) where it was played prominently during the final scene.

It is the band's highest-charting single in the United States, where it reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May 1986. The song became an international hit, also reaching the Top 5 in Canada and New Zealand, and charting at number 15 in Australia. It failed to crack the Top 40 of the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number 48, but eventually gained popularity in the band's home country due to its inclusion on the multi-platinum selling The Best of OMD (1988) and the growing cult status of Pretty in Pink.[1]


The band wrote "If You Leave" after John Hughes decided to change the ending to Pretty in Pink after poor test audience reactions. Hughes had asked the band for a song for the new ending two days before they were due to begin a tour, and "If You Leave" was written and recorded in under 24 hours as a result.[2] The song was deliberately written at a tempo of 120 BPM, to match the speed of Don't You (Forget About Me), which the dancers in the scene had initially danced too. [3]despite this songwriter Andy McClusky later noted that an editing error meant that the dancing appears out of sync regardless. [3] The original ending featured another OMD song, "Goddess of Love", which was released on The Pacific Age later in 1986.[2]

Track listing[edit]

7": Virgin / VS 843 (UK)[edit]

  1. "If You Leave" – 4:30
  2. "88 Seconds in Greensboro" – 4:20

7": A&M / AM 8669 (US)[edit]

  1. "If You Leave" – 4:24
  2. "Secret" – 3:57

12": Virgin / VS 843-12 (UK)[edit]

  1. "If You Leave" (extended version) – 5:59
  2. "88 Seconds in Greensboro" – 4:20
  3. "Locomotion" (live version) – 3:50

12": A&M / SP-12176 (US)[edit]

  1. "If You Leave" (extended version) – 5:59
  2. "La Femme Accident" (extended version) – 5:36


Critic Mike DeGagne of AllMusic wrote: "Even though 'If You Leave' was the highlight of Pretty in Pink's soundtrack, its adult feel and smooth transition from stanza to chorus makes it their [OMD's] most memorable song".[4] Colleague Tom Schulte described the track as being – along with the previous year's "So in Love" – the "pinnacle" of the band's musical progression.[5] It has been included in various music magazine listings of the best pop songs of the late 20th century,[6][7][8] and pop culture references have appeared in US television shows like The O.C., Modern Family and Degrassi: The Next Generation, as well as the film Not Another Teen Movie (2001). Hugo Lindgren in The New York Times Magazine argued that the US popularity of the song – as well as that of the similarly pop-oriented Crush (1985) – "obscured OMD's legacy as musical innovators" in that country, however.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

The Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation, which was known in its early seasons for naming each episode after a 1980s hit song, named an episode after this song. On Modern Family, "If You Leave" is Phil and Claire Dunphy's song. However, Claire forgets this and thinks their song is "True" by Spandau Ballet.[9] In the Season 2 finale of The Goldbergs the song is played as Erica boards the plane on her way to her summer music school.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1986-2015) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10] 15
New Zealand Singles Chart 5
UK Singles Chart 48
US Billboard Hot 100 4
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 24
US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales 31

Other appearances[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

  • A cover version by Nada Surf was used on an episode of The O.C. It is played as a tribute to the John Hughes film Pretty in Pink where the original OMD version of the song appeared. It was released on Music from the OC: Mix 2.
  • It was also covered by Tom Racer on the compilation album Isn't She Still... the Pretty in Pink Soundtrack Revisited.


  1. ^ Beale (2005)
  2. ^ a b c Lindgren, Hugo (10 May 2013). "The Plot Against Rock". The New York Times Magazine. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Macantosh, Dan. "ANDY MCCLUSKY OF OMD". Songfacts. Retrieved 4 January 2016. 
  4. ^ The Best of OMD at Allmusic.
  5. ^ The OMD Singles review at AllMusic.
  6. ^ "The 1001 Greatest Songs to Download Right Now!". Blender. October 2003.
  7. ^ Top 500 Songs of the 80's-00's. Blender. 2005. Retrieved 23 October 2012. Archived at Acclaimed Music.
  8. ^ Terich, Terrance. The Top 200 Songs of the 80's: Part One. Treble. 13 February 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  9. ^ "Modern Family "Great Expectations"". 
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 224. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.  N.B. The Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA from mid 1983 until 19 June 1988.
  11. ^ Matthew Solarski (19 November 2008). "My Brightest Diamond, Frightened Rabbit Do Covers". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2010-06-26.