La Femme Accident

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"La Femme Accident"
La Femme Accident.jpg
Single by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
from the album Crush
B-side "Firegun"
Released 12 October 1985
Format 7" single, 12" single
Recorded The Manor, 1984
Length 2:50
Label Virgin Records
Songwriter(s) Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys
Producer(s) Stephen Hague, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark singles chronology
"La Femme Accident"
"If You Leave"

"La Femme Accident"
"If You Leave"

"La Femme Accident" is a song by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark released as the third and final single from their 1985 album Crush. Like two of their previous singles, it references Joan of Arc. Unlike those two singles, it was not a substantial hit, peaking at number 42 in the UK.

Release history[edit]

The single was released in both 7" and 12" formats. Although the 7" single version does not differ in any way from the album version, the 12" version is a radically different remix. The 12" release features both versions as well as the new track "Firegun". Initial releases of the 12" came with a bonus 12" disc in a gatefold sleeve featuring a live recording of the 1984 hit "Locomotion" and the 1980 hit single "Enola Gay". The 12" version of "La Femme Accident" was released as a bonus track on the group's first compilation album The Best of OMD in 1988. The 7" version was excluded from this release and has never been included in any of OMD's compilation albums since.

La Femme Accident was not released as a standalone single in the US and Canada but coupled with the successful North American single "If You Leave". The Canadian 12" release of "If You Leave" (1985) also features the 12" mix of "La Femme Accident" although it is an edit of the UK 12" with a timing of 5:38.[1]

"La Femme Accident" features as the B-side of some US versions of the "If You Leave" single. Some issues state a running time of 3:56, whereas the record actually features the standard 2:50 7" version.[2] Other issues state a duration of 2:42 but record actually plays the 5:39 version.[3]

A promo video was made for the song and is included on the CD/DVD compilation Messages: Greatest Hits. The video features the two main band members Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey with Humphreys in the role of a professional photographer in difficulty with a blonde model (the "femme accident") with whom he also seems to be in a relationship. McCluskey on the other hand is in the role of a sharp suited businessman who, singing the song straight into camera in close-up, manages to convince a board of members that the model is good material and towards the end of the video is taken away by McCluskey in a chauffeur driven car leaving a forlorn Humphreys behind.

The track "Firegun" is available on the OMD B-side compilation album Navigation: The OMD B-Sides.

Critical reception[edit]

Writing in Smash Hits, reviewer Vici MacDonald described the song as "pleasant" and "wistful" and noted a similarity to the song "Can't Get Used to Losing You" as sung by Andy Williams.[4]

Live performances[edit]

La Femme Accident was included in the setlist of the band's live performances in 1985 promoting the Crush album. The band also appeared on the BBC programme The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1985 (then known as "Whistle Test") to perform the song live. It was also part of the live setlist performed with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in June 2009, as documented on the Electricity DVD release.[5]

Track listing[edit]

7": Virgin / VS 811 (UK/Europe)[edit]

  1. "La Femme Accident" – 2:50
  2. "Firegun"

Some 7" releases printed and manufactured in Germany have side A as the mirrored image of the original side B cover whereas side B is the mirrored image of the original side A cover. The text is on the correct sides and not mirrored. Although the time on the label states 3:43 the singles play the 2:48 album version of La Femme Accident.[6]

12": Virgin / VSD 811-12 (UK)[edit]

  1. "La Femme Accident" (7" version) – 2:50
  2. "Firegun"
  3. "La Femme Accident" (12" version) – 6:15
  4. "Locomotion" (live)
  5. "Enola Gay"

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
UK Singles Chart 42


  1. ^ "Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – If You Leave, vinyl 12", Canada - VSD 1307". Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  2. ^ "Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – If You Leave / La Femme Accident, vinyl 7", USA - AM-2811 (1)". Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  3. ^ "Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – If You Leave / La Femme Accident, vinyl 7", USA - AM-2811 (2)". Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  4. ^ Macdonald, Vici (9 October 1985). "Single reviews (OMD – 'La Femme Accident')". Smash Hits. 7 (20): 58. 
  5. ^ "Release: Electricity (DVD)". Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  6. ^ "La Femme Accident, vinyl, 7", Europe". Retrieved 2016-08-29.