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Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)

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"Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)"
Single by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
from the album Architecture & Morality
  • "Navigation"
  • "Of All the Things We've Made"
Released15 January 1982 (1982-01-15)
RecordedThe Manor, Shipton-on-Cherwell, Oxfordshire, England
Songwriter(s)Andy McCluskey
Producer(s)OMD and Richard Manwaring
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark singles chronology
"Joan of Arc"
"Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)"
"Genetic Engineering"
Music video
"Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Maid Of Orleans" on YouTube

"Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)" is a song by English electronic band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), released in 1982 as the third single from their third studio album, Architecture & Morality. To prevent confusion with the group's previous single "Joan of Arc", the song was retitled "Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)" for its single release. Both songs are about the French heroine Joan of Arc and both reached the Top 5 of the UK Singles Chart—although this release was more successful internationally, topping the charts in several countries including Germany, where it was the biggest-selling single of 1982. "Maid of Orleans" has sold four million copies worldwide.

The single was the last release on the Dindisc label.


"Maid of Orleans" had originally been written by Andy McCluskey on 30 May 1981, the 550th anniversary of Joan of Arc's death. The track has been described by McCluskey as OMD's "Mull of Kintyre".[1] It is in 6/8 time, and the main theme is played on the Mellotron (using its "3-Violins" sound). The intro is made of strange noises and was added later:[2]

The intro was a problem for radio and we did do edited versions where it was shortened.

The idea came about because we actually had the song recorded but thought the track started oddly and needed something else to announce its arrival. At the time of A+M we were making a lot of music that was ambient soundscapes. The natural thing was to give the song an intro that set up the feel for the main themes to resolve out of the noises.

It's not meant to "mean" anything specific, just set up a feeling to let the track grow out of the strange noises. I think that it worked well!

BTW.. for the sound anoraks...most of the noises are melotron [sic] vocal sounds slowed down/sped up and greatly distorted simply by completely overdriving the old Helios desk in The Manor Studio. Pink noise and snare drum in lots of reverb.

Reception and legacy[edit]

Ian Birch of Smash Hits wrote, "Once again the dreamboat duo come up with a scintillating intro before settling into a stately canter which becomes more hypnotic with each listen. It could easily be their 'Mull of Kintyre'."[3] "Maid of Orleans" became Germany's biggest-selling single of 1982,[1] as well as the 33rd-biggest seller in the UK that year.[4] The single has sold four million copies worldwide.[5]

Ned Raggett of AllMusic retrospectively described the song as "epic", concluding, "With another bravura [Andy] McCluskey lead and a mock-bagpipe lead that's easily more entrancing than the real thing, it's a wrenching ballad like no other before it and little since."[6] Music journalist Garry Bushell hailed the track as "pop genius".[7] In critics' lists, "Maid of Orleans" was named by Record Mirror's John Shearlaw and Daniela Soave as one of the top three singles of 1982;[8] it placed 18th in Classic Pop's "Top 100 Singles of the 80s", the magazine asserting, "As soon as you hear this you remember greatness."[9] The Deutsches Museum included the song in their article, "Best of the 1980s—The Masterpieces of Synth Pop", noting its "unmistakable, almost bagpipe-like mellotron" hook.[10] In 1989, Radio Veronica listeners voted the track as the 60th-best in history.[11]

"Maid of Orleans" was recorded by London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1996.[12] It was used during the climax and closing credits to the final episode of the second series of BBC television program Ashes to Ashes.[13]


The songs on the B-sides are "Navigation" and "Of All the Things We've Made" (12" and CD single only). Both songs can be found as bonus tracks on the remastered versions of Architecture & Morality. "Of All the Things We've Made" was added to their next album Dazzle Ships, released in 1983. "Navigation" was the title track for the 2001 B-sides compilation album Navigation: The OMD B-Sides. The early 12" single sleeves list the track "Experiments in Vertical Take Off", but this song was never written.

Track listings[edit]

7" vinyl single[edit]

  • UK: DinDisc DIN 40

Side one

  1. "Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)" (Andy McCluskey) – 4:09

Side two

  1. "Navigation" (Paul Humphreys/McCluskey) – 3:26

12" vinyl single[edit]

  • UK: DinDisc DIN 40-12

Side one

  1. "Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)" – 4:09

Side two

  1. "Of All the Things We've Made" (Humphreys/McCluskey) – 3:31
  2. "Navigation" – 3:26

Two different sleeve designs were issued, firstly a silver coin design, and a stained-glass design (similar to the 7" picture sleeve) with three different variations.[14]

3" Mini CD single[edit]

  • Virgin CDT27 released 5 December 1988
  1. "Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)" (12" version) – 4:13
  2. "Joan of Arc" (12" version) (McCluskey) – 3:51
  3. "Navigation" – 3:30
  4. "Of All the Things We've Made" – 3:27

The sleeve erroneously states that there are 12" versions of "Maid of Orleans" and "Joan of Arc" on the CD single.

Promotional video[edit]

For the promotional video, the outdoor shots were made at Brimham Rocks and Fountains Abbey[15][failed verification] near Aldfield, North Yorkshire in January 1982 during an unusually colder winter and the indoor shots at The Manor Studio in Oxfordshire. The video was directed by Steve Barron and featured Julia Tobin, an actress from the Royal Shakespeare Company as Joan of Arc.[16] The promo video is included on the video version of The Best of OMD and on the bonus DVD of the 2007 reissue of Architecture & Morality.

In 1991, MTV Europe named the video as the 37th best ever made.[17]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Germany (BVMI)[38] Gold 500,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[39] Gold 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[40] Silver 250,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


The cover was designed by Peter Saville, Carol Wilson and Brett Wickens and was inspired by a stained glass design by Anton Wolff.

There are more than one sleeve designs for the 12" version. The original sleeve design featured an embossed coin motif on a silver foil. It was only released for a limited time, because the band didn't like this design. It was replaced with a similar stained glass sleeve as the 7" version in several variations.

Alternative versions[edit]

There is only one studio recording of the song, identical for both the album and single releases. A remix entitled Maid of Orleans (Afterhours Mix) by Mulu was released on the remix disc which accompanied the French edition of The OMD Singles compilation album in 2003.

Live performances[edit]

The song has been performed at live shows on a regular basis since the Architecture & Morality tour in 1981.[41] 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) [42] and later on DVD [43]

Maid of Orleans was chosen as one of the songs to be performed with an orchestra for the Night of the Proms concert tour in December 2006, effectively McCluskey and Humphreys' first live performances together since the pair had split in 1988. The performances of Maid of Orleans and Sailing on the Seven Seas were issued on CD.[44]

Live recordings have been made available on the Walking on the Milky Way CD single (1996), the Architecture & Morality & More album (2008), Dazzle Ships at The Museum of Liverpool CD/DVD (2015) 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.[45]


  1. ^ a b Stanley, Bob. How to lose 3 million fans in one easy step. The Guardian. 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  2. ^ McCluskey, Andy (20 September 2007). "Maid of Orleans intro". Retrieved 20 September 2007.
  3. ^ Birch, Ian (7–20 January 1982). "Singles". Smash Hits. Vol. 4, no. 1. p. 16.
  4. ^ "The Official Top 50 best-selling songs of 1982". Official Charts. 5 March 2021.
  5. ^ Houghton, Richard (2019). OMD: Pretending to See the Future (expanded paperback ed.). This Day in Music Books. p. 146. ISBN 978-1-9161156-2-0.
  6. ^ Ned Raggett (8 November 1981). "Architecture & Morality - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  7. ^ Bushell, Garry (4 October 2019). "Bushell on the Blog". Garry Bushell... Online. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Discs of '82". Record Mirror. 1 January 1983. p. 7. No. 2 (Shearlaw); No. 3 (Soave).
  9. ^ "Top 100 Singles of the 80s: 20-16". Classic Pop. March 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  10. ^ Deutsches Museum. "Best of the 1980s—The Masterpieces of Synth Pop". Google Arts & Culture. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  11. ^ "Rocklist.net...Radio Veronica (Holland) Top 500". Rocklistmusic.co.uk. 1989. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  12. ^ Mitchell, Frank (30 June 1997). "Staples (supplement)". Liverpool Daily Post. ...a stirring rendition [of 'Maid of Orleans'] by London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra [on 1996's Rock Dreams: Purple Rain].
  13. ^ "S2E8: Who Am I, Really? - Ashes to Ashes Soundtrack". Tunefind. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  14. ^ "OMD - Maid of Orleans". discogs.com. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  15. ^ "Omd Q&A : Videos – Messages". Omd-messages.co.uk. 8 February 2014. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  16. ^ Waller, Johnny; Humphreys, Mike (1987). Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Messages. Sidgwick & Jackson. p. 103. ISBN 0-283-99234-4.
  17. ^ "Top 100 Music Videos of All Time". MTV Europe. December 1991.
  18. ^ 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.
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  20. ^ "OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) – Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
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  22. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  23. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  24. ^ "OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) – Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  25. ^ "OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) – Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  26. ^ "SA Charts 1965–1989 (As presented on Springbok Radio/Radio Orion) – Acts O". The South African Rock Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 24 May 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  27. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (2015). Sólo éxitos 1959–2012 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 978-84-8048-866-2.
  28. ^ "OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) – Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  29. ^ "OMD: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  30. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) – Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  31. ^ "Jahreshitparade Singles 1982". austriancharts.at (in German). Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  32. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1982 – Singles" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  33. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1982" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  34. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1982" (in Dutch). Dutch Charts. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  35. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1982". hitparade.ch (in German). Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  36. ^ Rees, Dafydd; Lazell, Barry; Jones, Alan (1983). "The Top 100 UK Singles". Chart File Volume 2. London: Virgin Books. pp. 80–81. ISBN 0-907080-73-1.
  37. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts – 1982" (in German). Offizielle Deutsche Charts. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  38. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Orchestral Manoeuvr. in the Dark; 'Maid of Orleans')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  39. ^ "Dutch single certifications – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Maid of Orleasn" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 22 December 2020. Enter Maid of Orleasn in the "Artiest of titel" box. Select 1982 in the drop-down menu saying "Alle jaargangen".
  40. ^ "British single certifications – OMD – Maid of Orleans". British Phonographic Industry. 1 February 1982. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
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  43. ^ "Architecture & Morality (Collector's Edition CD & DVD)". discogs.com. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
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  45. ^ "Joan of Arc song". musicbrainz.com. Retrieved 18 May 2016.

External links[edit]