Joan of Arc (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark song)

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"Joan of Arc"
JoanOfArc single.jpg
Single by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
from the album Architecture & Morality
B-side"The Romance of the Telescope" (Unfinished)
Released9 October 1981 (1981-10-09)
StudioThe Manor (Shipton-on-Cherwell, Oxfordshire)
Songwriter(s)Andy McCluskey
  • OMD
  • Richard Manwaring
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark singles chronology
"Joan of Arc"
"Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)"

"Joan of Arc" is a 1981 song by English electronic band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), released as the second single from their third studio album Architecture & Morality. It became an international hit, reaching the Top 5 in the UK and Canada and number 13 in Ireland.

This is the first of two OMD songs written by singer Andy McCluskey on the subject of the French saint Joan of Arc. The second, "Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)" was also issued as a single (renamed "Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)" for its release). Both tracks feature on Architecture & Morality.


In a retrospective review, Ned Raggett of AllMusic described the track as "a towering heartbreaker, with Andy McCluskey and band in full flight".[1] Critic Dave Thompson observed a "revelation of a single" with a "gorgeous melody", adding that "the power of this song is almost equal to Joan's own".[2] Trouser Press called the track a "magnificent, ethereal hit".[3]

The Charlatans vocalist Tim Burgess wrote, "For anyone who wasn't around in 1981 you could not go anywhere without hearing this song... so romantic – such a classic."[4] In a poll of 9,082 Slicing Up Eyeballs readers, "Joan of Arc" was voted the 71st-best track of 1981.[5]


The B side to the single was a new track entitled "The Romance of the Telescope (Unfinished)", another new track but one which was not included on the original Architecture & Morality album. The song was however included on the successive Dazzle Ships album in 1983 without the "unfinished" caveat in the title, even though the arrangement and mix are practically identical to the first issue. The track labelled as the "unfinished" version was included on remastered re-issues of the Architecture & Morality album in 2003 and 2007. "The Romance of the Telescope" has also been performed live on several occasions since 1981 when it was usually played as a concert opener, although more recently as a final song on live set lists.[6]

Track listings[edit]

7" vinyl single[edit]

  • UK: DinDisc DIN 36

Side one

  1. "Joan of Arc" (McCluskey)

Side two

  1. "The Romance of the Telescope (Unfinished)" (Humphreys/McCluskey)

12" vinyl single[edit]

  • UK: DinDisc DIN 36-12
  1. "Joan of Arc" (McCluskey)

Side two

  1. "The Romance of the Telescope (Unfinished)" (Humphreys/McCluskey)

Track timings were not stated on vinyl releases.

Single cover photograph[edit]

The cover of the single depicting a statue of Joan of Arc is thought to be the same statue that was present in the National Trust Gardens at Cliveden in Buckinghamshire. In 1980/81, this statue could be found among the trees in the Ilex Grove at Cliveden.[7]


Chart (1981) Peak
Ireland (IRMA)[8] 13
UK Singles (OCC)[9] 5


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[10] Silver 250,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Live performances[edit]

The song has been performed at live shows on a regular basis since the Architecture & Morality tour in 1981.[11] A live performance from 1981 was filmed for the Live at The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane concert in December 1981, initially released on VHS (1982) and laserdisc (1984) [12] and later on DVD [13]

Live recordings have been made available on the "Walking on the Milky Way" CD single (1996), the Architecture & Morality & More album (2008), and on Architecture & Morality / Dazzle Ships – Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2016). The song was also performed with The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in June 2009 as documented by the Electricity DVD release.[14]


  1. ^ Architecture & Morality at AllMusic.
  2. ^ Joan of Arc at AllMusic
  3. ^ "Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". Trouser Press. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  4. ^ @Tim_Burgess (14 April 2020). "For anyone who wasn't around in 1981..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  5. ^ "Top 100 Songs of 1981: Slicing Up Eyeballs' Best of the '80s Redux — Part 2". Slicing Up Eyeballs. 10 February 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  6. ^ "The Romance of the Telescope by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Joan of Arc (C.1412-1431) 766374".
  8. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Joan of Arc". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  9. ^ "OMD: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  10. ^ "British single certifications – OMD – Joan of Arc". British Phonographic Industry. 1 December 1981. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  11. ^ "Joan of Arc by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark". Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  12. ^ "Live at The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane". Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  13. ^ "Architecture & Morality (Collector's Edition CD & DVD)". Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  14. ^ "Joan of Arc song". Retrieved 18 May 2016.