In 2020, to mark the 40th anniversary of the original release of Enola Gay, the song was given the remix treatment and issued in various formats.
A 40th anniversary T-shirt was also made available via the OMD official store.
OMD feiern 40. Jubiläum ihres Hits „Enola Gay“ mit limitierter 12-Inch-Vinyl
Vier Jahrzehnte Enola Gay: Aus diesem Anlass veröffentlichen die Elektropop-Pioniere Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD) ihren Hit in einer ganz speziellen Edition.
OMD Celebrate 40 Years Of Enola Gay With Limited Edition 12”
The single has also received a thrilling remix from Hot Chip’s Al Doyle, out today. Of the remix, Al commented: “Getting your hands on the raw material of Enola Gay feels like stealing into hallowed halls. It’s already a perfect song, so this is just a tribute and an homage, made all the more meaningful with the occurrence this year of the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombs on Japan. OMD forever.” You can listen to Hot Chip’s remix of Enola Gay here
The Definitive ENOLA GAY Guide
Despite its troubled beginnings, OMD’s ‘Enola Gay’ has remarkably seen very little variation from its original incarnation to final release. While the song has had its own unique history, the classic Organisation cut has avoided the complicated evolution that tracks such as ‘Tesla Girls’ or ‘Telegraph’ has endured.
Despite this, ‘Enola Gay’ has seen a few officially sanctioned remixes and variations – plus more than a fair share of cover versions – ranging from good to terrible. In our article discussing the recording of ‘Enola Gay’, we looked at the genesis of the song, here we’ll list the various official versions that form the catalogue of releases.
OMD’s “Enola Gay” Given Coats Of Remix Paint For 40th
We last visited this topic a month ago when the record was preordered but had not yet arrived. Lots has happened since then [including an attempted insurrection of the United States government], but the record finally arrived and I have subsequently bought the second DL remix, so we’re finally ready to dispense thoughts on OMD’s remixes of “Enola Gay.” For a song that had famously been released in 1980 without the then-trendy second remix version on 12″ or even 10″ single, this represents a bit of having cake and eating it too for the band. Technically, that means that these will all be Post-Modern Remixes; the topic of which has been a scourge for PPM with their 1998 attempts in this field of endeavor being among the very worst remixes I’ve ever had the displeasure to hear. But the band’s own 12″ mix is reputed to be an “old school” style extended version. Can they avoid the guillotine 22 years later?
The band’s Extended Version began with the distinctive drum machine toms and the bass synth isolated for a classic 12″ buildup lasting almost a full minute as one by one, the rest of the song’s elements join in on the crescendo. It sounds exactly like what we were all expecting in 1980 when we bought the 12″ single but didn’t get. All of the elements here were from the master tape and there aren’t any modern elements that stick out like a sore thumb. If they cheated then they did a great job of it.
The only part where it rankled me is in the drop before the middle eight. First of all, The Drop was not an established part of the remix vernacular at that time. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it was something that came much later in dance music. And the sound fo the song putting on the brakes like that to stop cold was jarring. The middle eight itself was less convincing than the original was with the chilling bomb blast drums of the original dissipated into less monolithic force. I did like the winsome synth leads at the end of the middle eight, though. And McCluskey’s vocals were doubled with chorus on the coda for a different feel. Overall the mix and EQ didn’t vary drastically, which meant that this “Enola Gay” still had the DNA of what we all know and love.
The “Slow Mix” was as its name implied, a radical Post-Modern Remix of the song by the band as someone else would do it today; basically re-constructing the song with a different arrangement, tempo, and even lead vocal. The slow, stately pace was very OMD, but the vocal was vocoded throughout. It might even be a new vocal by Andy given the treatment. The glockenspiel was a delicate touch. I would not be surprised. The melody was constructed here as a methodical rondo which was pretty catchy. The bomb blast drums and the drum machine toms made a re-appearance in the middle eight here, for the only call back to the original mix.
Hot Chip have been one of “those bands” who I’ve heard their name bandied about for 10-15 years without actually hearing. The mix was superficially closest to the original, at least at first, but with a really obnoxious, super busy drum loop loosed in the mix; making it fight the original rhythm box for supremacy. While the droning hum of perhaps a bomber engine assumed the front and center spotlight. it sounded like the mix was fighting itself. And that busy drum loop at a much higher BPM than anything else in the song was flat out wrong. Worse, the drum loop itself sounded dangerously close to the “bongo feet” sound used to indicate running in Scooby Doo cartoons!
At least Andy McCluskey was still in the mix, but his vocal sounded like it may have been a re-recording. Once Andy started singing in the mix, there were new shimmery tremolo synths that sounded as if they were playing the melody from the middle eight of “Good Vibrations” dropped into this hot mess. This mix was pulling in several different ways simultaneously and I can’t listen to it and hear anything worth recommending. It only sounded good as compared to the sheer atrocity of the 1998 Micronauts remix of “Electricity.”
The Theo Kottis remix was just the thing… if you needed to hear “Enola Gay” brought to its knees in a House Mix that flashed me back to 1994. The song featured an echoey Andy McCluskey amid the heavy 808 and I swear that all but the band’s own “Extended Version” used a new vocal track as this one sounded somewhat different to the performance from 1980. It’s not uncommon for “remixes” to be new from the ground up, including vocal, and this one sounded like just that. The accelerated crescendoes of drum machine fills were particularly galling. But not so much as the notion that McCluskey and Humphreys signed off on this mix! Then again, those guys also green-lit Micronauts, so there’s that.
All of these mixes were available in the usual download stores, but my copy of the OMD mixes were from the oxblood 12″ single that I pre-ordered from the UMG web store and was released on November 27th. European copies from the OMD web store in the UK came with a DL voucher and I thought that they all would. But no WAV files was the price I paid for saving a bundle on postage from the US UMG web store. Postage was free in The States. The other upside was that unlike the CZ pressed “Roxy Music” Steven Wilson 2.0 remix LP I got in August, this German [Optimal Media GmbH] pressing sounded perfect! If they have to make me buy vinyl, at least let it sound this good. Since I am interested in buying modern OMD on physical single format I was thrilled that I did not dawdle. This record is now shifting hands at around $50 a pop.
Overall, these mixes run the gamut from almost good to negligible. The band’s mixes are best, and if push came to shove, I’d recommend the band’s “Extended Version” as the one to get as a DL since it almost did the neat trick of sounding like an unheard 12″ mix that got caught in a wormhole and leapt forward in time for 40 years. The rest? Missable, though your mileage may vary.
OMD Revisit Enola Gay Four Times For Forty Years
I swear I posted on this earlier but it may have just been a private text thread among my friends my muddled mind is recalling, was if I’m wrong, I apologize. Last year OMD revisited their debut single in a new clear 7″ reissue [complete with Vince Clarke remix of the B-side, “Almost.” This year it was time for another reissue of their hit single “Enola Gay” after 40 years of bringing us that oh-so-OMD blend of euphoria and melancholy.
The single was being reissued in an oxblood 12″ by EMI and featured two new remixes of the song by the band themselves. The brief was to create the “extended version that never was” on the A-side. And the B-side had something a little more adventurous with what was deemed the “slow mix.” As we can see, Peter Saville’s sleeve design has been appended with an image of the effect of the Enola Gay’s mission. I had immediately pre-ordered the single and had forgotten about it [as these things tend to happen] but got notice yesterday about the shipping of my single from UMG. According to the tracking, it’s shipping from Nashville, Tennessee, so it’s won’t take too long to travel the ~300 miles to my doorstep.
The price was right. $16.98 + FREE domestic shipping. Right now it’s even better: there’s a 30% off price and [still] free US shipping to get you this little slice of technopop heaven for the low, low price of just $11.89 delivered!
But that’s only two times. I listed four times in the headline. At the time that this was first on sale, there was a new Hot Chip remix on iTunes, that I bought immediately. I was looking again at iTunes and just released today, there’s a brand new, fourth remix by Theo Kottis also available in a full-four track remix EP with all four 2020 post-modern remixes of “Enola Gay.”
I already have the Hot Chip Remix. The 12″ with OMD mixes is en route. I need to get the Theo Kottis Remix. Once that’s been accomplished, I should probably review these and weigh in on the results of this exploitation of this OMD classic 40 years hence. Which reminds me that I still have not heard the Vince Clarke remix of “Almost” from last year, even though I’ve had it for over a year. That came with a WAV DL voucher and the new “Enola Gay is said to do so as well. So I should probably gang all of these 40th anniversary mixes together for scrutiny.
Then again, The last time OMD made post-modern remixes in 1998, the results were some of the absolute worst remixes I’d ever had the displeasure of hearing. Should I just go full tilt and have an OMD Post-Modern Remix Week thread? I’d hate to re-open old 90s remix wounds but maybe it will be a cleansing thing. Weigh in in the comments below.
This kiss you give, it’s never going to fade away…
It’s one of OMD’s most iconic songs and gained them their first UK Top Ten – as well as their first international hit single. ‘Enola Gay’ remains a classic OMD song – and today celebrates its 40th Anniversary.
The release of OMD’s second album Organisation in 1980 saw a shift in OMD’s sound. From the ‘garage punk’ aesthetics that had dominated their debut album, Organisation instead opted for more gothic, broody tones and soundscapes. Yet, in the midst of all this solemnity, was a pop song which seemed curiously out of place with its broody neighbours.
‘Enola Gay’ actually dated back to the era of OMITD, the band’s eponymous debut album, in particular a period where Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys were penning new material (much of OMITD’s content actually dates back further, to the days of The Id). ‘Enola Gay’ (along with ‘Motion And Heart’) had been written by Andy in the back room at Paul’s mum’s house in the week before the first album had been released.
‘Enola Gay’ had originally been composed on the trusty Korg Micro-Preset (OMD’s particular workhorse of choice at the time) with the bass accompaniment of the song supplied by a Roland SHO9. In its original incarnation, ‘Enola Gay’ had lacked the distinctive drum machine rhythms that give the song its unique identity. In fact the drum elements, culled from a Roland CR-78 drum machine, were the last parts to be added to the song.The band teamed up with producer Mike Howlett (formerly a member of Gong, who had previously worked his magic on ‘Messages’) to record ‘Enola Gay’, initially at Ridge Farm and then Advision Studios.
No one could make a clear decision on how to get the song sounding the best, a situation made worse by record label DinDisc’s hurried insistence at getting a single out. In fact even when a decision was made and DinDisc were pressing the single, Andy had a crisis of confidence and ordered the pressings to be scrapped. Taking time to reassess things, Howlett managed to get a new, much improved vocal from Andy by encouraging him to just relax and sing along to the speakers.
The final version of the song was actually assembled from a composition of the various vocal takes from both the Ridge Farm and Advision sessions.
Despite Andy’s concerns over the song, ‘Enola Gay’ surprised everyone when it was released in September 1980 and reached no. 8 in the UK charts. Although OMD had made an impression on the public with the success of ‘Messages’ in May the same year, something about ‘Enola Gay’ struck a much stronger resonance in the record-buying public.
The single took the No. 1 spot in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal and sold more than 5 million copies worldwide. Even today, the song remains popular in many of these countries and has become OMD’s signature song for many.
It’s also a popular touchstone for remixes and cover versions from a broad selection of artists and bands. In 1988, Sash (see Messages interviewremix to coincide with the OMD Singles compilation release. More recently, contemporary electropop duo Ooberfuse collaborated with Japanese chiptune artist Hibari for their own take on the song to coincide this year with the 75th Anniversary of Hiroshima.
Today, ‘Enola Gay’ remains as one of the most potent weapons in OMD’s live arsenal and has rightly established itself as a classic example of synth-pop perfection.
To celebrate ‘Enola Gay’s anniversary, Hot Chip have produced a new remix of the song which opts for a more spacey approach with more of a lean-in to the bass and percussion elements.
Meanwhile, a special 40th anniversary reissue of ‘Enola Gay’ on limited 12″ coloured vinyl is now available for pre-order via the OMD Website.
Scheduled for release on 27th November, the 12″ will feature two brand new mixes created by OMD: ‘Enola Gay (Extended Mix)’ and ‘Enola Gay (Slow Mix)’.
You can read more about Enola Gay in the following Messages articles:
2 Responses to OMD’s “Enola Gay” Given Coats Of Remix Paint For 40th
I haven’t needed an extended Enola Gay for 40 years and nothing presented has changed my mind in that direction. In fact I don’t think anyone needed remixes of the perfection that is Enola Gay.
Echorich – Due to the drop and the middle eight in the one halfway decent thing here, I’m probably inclined to join you. One hopes that no other singles of their get this sort of attention on their 40th anniversary going forward. What was done in 1998 was still traumatic. And you’re right. When I first heard “Enola Gay” on the US OMITS compilation [I thought he was singing “it’s all a game…] it was an immediate stunner. A huge leap forward from “Electricity.”
15 Responses to OMD Revisit Enola Gay Four Times For Forty Years
Oddly there are two of the new EP on iTunes — a three-song version without the Theo mix for $2.99 (US) or the four-mix version for an extra buck! As I have Apple Music I can listen to all four tracks immediately, and that will help me determine whether I “need” to purchase a physical copy of this EP or just buy the “permanent” digital files.*
chasinvictoria – Yeaaaaah. I got the Hot Chip mix from the initial 3x track version on iTunes, but the new 4x version just came out today. They do things like this all the time on iTunes. Possibly owing to various factions of the vendors not knowing what the other hand is doing. Caveat – Hot Chip do the song no favors. I still like collecting OMD singles on vinyl/CD-5 so I go there. Almost no one else does this to the extent that they do. Since these are post-modern mixes, you can probably get by with the DL.
Have to agree, that Hot Chip remix is so much Hot Sh… The Theo mix is what the song would sound like if Camouflage had recorded a cover in 1987. Big fat pass for me.
Echorich – [insert rimshot] on the Hot Chip! I’d not sampled the Theo mix yet, too busy. [takes a moment to do so…] Maybe… if Camouflage were more into house music than Depeche Mode.
You can also find the digital version in lossless formats (WAV, FLAC, AIFF and ALAC) for $4.99 the four track EP or $1.99 for each track.
DM1966 – Welcome to the comments! Many thanks for pointing out alternatives I didn’t have the time to seek during my lunch break when said post was hastily written. I have heard references to on Steve Hoffman Music Forums but I usually lean on Bandcamp for CD-res downloads, or iTunes if worst comes to worst.
I like 2 of the 3 1998 remixes. I particularly like the Moby remix. Whilst the Micronauts remix of Electricity is an abomination, I have heard much worse. A quick look in my library reveals some equally terrible remixes: Bjork – Hyperballad (Over the edge mix), Pet Shop Boys – Burn (Baba Stiltz Remix), Depeche Mode Never – Let Me Down Again (Digitalism Remix). So 2 of them are far from the worst I have ever heard.
Gareth – Good lord! Are you seriously telling me that there’s not just one remix more likely than Micronauts “Electricity” to make me want to commit suicide [just to avoid it]…but two??!! This knowledge makes me break out into a Coldsweat [Meat Mix].
I’ve just purchased the Remixes ep on iTunes in the UK but have a problem. For some weird reason all the tracks play fine on my computer except one, the Extended Mix, the one I really want to hear. For some reason its saying my computer isn’t authorised to play that one track, while it is for the other three even though I bought them together as one purchase. I’ve reauthorised my computer a number of times now but it still wont play. I’ve reported this to iTunes but has anybody else experienced this problem?
Richard Anvil – I have the 12” coming and it has a DL voucher. But I did buy the Hot Chip remix when it was released, and the cover art only shows on some of my devices, not all of them. Anyone else have a clue? Chasinvictoria?
iTunes actually got back to me really quickly. They advised I delete the track from my library and redownload, which I’ve done and its playing fine now. Not had that problem before so its good to know for the future.
Richard Anvil – Are you on Big Sur? I’ve not upgraded at home yet. I’m in the middle of designing a book right now, but I upgraded at work with no problems, though I don’t use iTunes at work! I was actually liking Big Sur after a decade of disappointments.
To be honest I’ve never heard of it so I’ll check it out. By the way I only realised today that OMD posted up a YouTube video last year with the Vince Clarke remix of Almost . I’m not aware of any download available for this (unless you forked out for the vinyl) so it’s great to hear it for the first time. It’s pretty obvious given the new vocal recording by Andy that this is more of a new recording than just a remix. I like it.
RichardAnvil – That’s right. I bought the vinyl and it had a lossless DL voucher. Nice! But I still have not remembered to listen to it. There’s no time to listen to files on my computer and I never remember as there’s always something more pressing to be doing on the computer. It’s encouraging to hear that you like it, though! Maybe one day…
Richard Anvil – Actually, my copy arrived [a stately fortnight after it shipped, which is another story indeed – Thanks trumpy!] and unlike what I’ve seen online, there was no hype sticker or voucher for a DL inside the sleeve. I bought it from the OMD webstore, as I did with the “Electricity” 7″ of last year [which DID have a voucher for WAV files]. Grrrrrrrrr. I had to play my damn record to hear it, but the German pressing as mastered at Abbey Road sounded as good as a record can. Unlike the GZ trash I’ve heard lately.
Zwei Versionen von Enola Gay
Dafür haben sich Andy McCluskey und Paul Humphreys ihren Hit Enola Gay auf zweifache Weise nochmal vorgeknöpft. Ein Extended Mix wurde vom originalen Multitrack-Masterband erstellt und hört sich so an, als käme er direkt aus den 1980er-Jahren. Bei der zweiten Version bewegten sich OMD weit weg vom Original und machten aus dem Stück ein entschleunigtes Chill-Out-Stück.
Remix von Hot Chip
Aber OMD haben nicht nur selbst Hand an dem Song angelegt, sondern auch Kollegen zur Arbeit gebeten. Erhältlich ist nämlich auch din Remix von Al Doyle von Hot Chip. Der hatte extremen Spaß wie auch eine gehörige Portion Ehrfurcht bei der Arbeit, wie er erzählt: „Das Rohmaterial von ‚Enola Gay’ in die Hände zu bekommen, fühlt sich an, als würde man sich in heilige Hallen einschleichen. Es ist bereits ein perfektes Lied, also ist dies nur eine Hommage und eine Huldigung, die durch das Ereignis des 75. Jahrestages der Atombombenangriffe auf Japan in diesem Jahr noch bedeutungsvoller wird. OMD für immer.“
ENOLA GAY (PEEL SESSIONS VERSION)
The 2000 release of the OMD Peel Sessions had finally satisfied one of the ‘Holy Grails’ for OMD fans who, prior to its release, had had to make do with 4th generation cassette copies that had originally been hastily recorded directly from the radio on transmission.
Recorded in April 1980, this version of ‘Enola Gay’ has some subtle differences from the more familiar single version which would arrive several months later. The drum machine intro is slightly different and Andy’s vocal style is much more casual. The result is a much more laconic version of the track than perhaps we’re used to, but it has its own unique charm regardless.
Where to find it:Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark Peel Sessions 1979-1983 (CDV2908)
ENOLA GAY (ORIGINAL RECORDED VERSION)
Recorded at Advision Studios in the final months of summer 1980, this version was planned to be the original single release, but although it was committed to press by DinDisc, Andy McCluskey changed his mind and ordered the pressings to be halted.
This version of ‘Enola Gay’ has never been officially released, but judging by the Peel Sessions version (and the version that was introduced into the live set at concerts in the early part of 1980), it’s more than likely that it’s similar to those early versions.
The classic version, which appeared on Organisation and also issued as a single in September 1980.Here, the drum machine intro is much more robust than on the Peel Sessions version and there’s a much harder edge to Andy McCluskey’s vocals. Plus, Mike Howlett’s production skills give the entire track a much more widescreen sound.
This version was recorded at Advision Studios following the scrapping of the original take. Mike Howlett advised Andy to be more relaxed and to simply sing along to the speakers. Despite this, the vocal elements for the final version were actually combined from a variety of takes from both the Advision sessions and Ridge Farm recordings.
Where to find it:Enola Gay 7” Single (DIN22)Enola Gay 2” Single (DIN22-12) (DIDCDR6)
ENOLA GAY (URGH! VERSION)
Released in 1981, Urgh! A Music War boasted a huge variety of artists and bands that had originally been filmed back in 1980 (a video release arrived in 1982). Among them, was OMD performing in Portsmouth with an unusual version of ‘Enola Gay’.
Here, the familiar drum machine intro is missing which gives the song a much more raw feel to it. This odd arrangement of ‘Enola Gay’ featured on many of OMD’s pre-Organisation concerts where the song was essentially being tested for a live audience, hence the stripped-down arrangement.
It was only when the band embarked on the Organisation tour in the winter months of 1980 that the more familiar drum machine rhythms were reintroduced into the live version. It’s also where the tradition of ‘Enola Gay’ as the last song was established – the drum machine continuing to play a solitary rhythm while the band filed off stage.
ENOLA GAY (OMD VS SASH!)
When the compilation album The OMD Singles was being assembled in the latter end of the 1990s, a series of remixes were commissioned from a broad variety of musicians and producers. The original idea was for the album to feature one disc of original versions and another featuring the various remixes.
Budgetary restrictions prevented this double CD from happening with a selection of remixes appearing instead on The OMD Remixes – an EP that was issued to help promote The OMD Singles in 1998.
One of the commissioned remixes was the work of SASH!, actually a German DJ/production team, fronted by Sascha Lappessen. This version, which boasts more of an EDM approach, also includes various samples culled from a documentary on the Enola Gay mission. It also includes Robert Oppenhemier’s famous quotation “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”.
This mix comes in several flavours – a 5.18 mix on VST1694 and a 4.04 Radio Edit on VSTX1694. A 6.11 mix appears on a special double-pack white label release VSTDJ1694. The French edition of The OMD Singles also swapped out ‘Call My Name’ in favour of the SASH! remix of ‘Enola Gay’.
Where to find it:The OMD Remixes CD (CD VSCDT 1694)The OMD Remixes 12″ (VST 1694)The OMD Remixes 12″ (VSTX 1694)The OMD Remixes 12″ (VSTDJ 1694)
ENOLA GAY (DANCEFLOOR “KILLA MIX”)
When Virgin France reissued The OMD Singles in 2003, they issued it as a double CD with an additional disc of remixes (as had originally been planned for the UK back in 1998).
At the same time, they commissioned new remixes for the album, which included this contemporary remix by DJ and producer team David Guetta and Joachim Garraud. Guetta has established himself as a household name through his DJ appearances and is probably best known for the likes of ‘When Love Takes Over’.
Also issued as a 12” release which featured 3 variants: ‘Enola Gay (Dancefloor “Killa Mix”)’, ‘Enola Gay (Dub Remix)’ and ‘Enola Gay (Radio Edit)’.
Where to find it:The OMD Singles (7243 5 82859 2 5)Enola Gay 12” (7243 5 47264 6 0)
ENOLA GAY (LIVE VERSION)
Following OMD’s 2007 reunion, the band embarked on a special Architecture & Morality themed tour. US-based record label Eagle Records commissioned both a video of the Hammersmith Apollo show as well as a special CD release of the soundtrack.
Keeping with tradition, ‘Enola Gay’ here ends the show (before the inevitable encore). There’s an exuberance and energy here, bolstered by the enthusiasm of the audience, which serves to demonstrate how powerful ‘Enola Gay’ remains as a live song.
Where to find it:OMD Live: Architecture & Morality & More (ER20137-2)
von Markus Brandstetter
„Enola Gay, you should have stayed at home yesterday / We got your message on the radio, conditions normal and you’re coming home“ – Mit diesem legendären wie eingängigen Anti-Kriegslied landeten Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD) vor 40 Jahren einen ihrer größten Hits. Das feiert die Band mit einem besonderen Release, mit dem sie auch anlässlich des 75. Jahrestag des Atombombenabwurfs der USA auf Hiroshima mit dem Bomber Enola Gay der Opfer gedenken.