Tuesday, January 15, 2019

"If You Leave" by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2649
Date:  03/08/1986
Debut:  81
Peak:  4
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Synthpop, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  After OMD broke through in the US with their more pop-oriented album Crush, featuring the #26 Pop entry "So in Love," film director John Hughes asked the band to supply a song for an upcoming feature that he was writing and producing titled Pretty in Pink. After some last minute changes (see below), the band came up with this track that would play during the last scene of the film. Hughes was known at the time for developing song soundtracks to his films featuring edgy, new artists and Pretty in Pink would be another timely compilation that featured artists like INXS, Psychedelic Furs, Suzanne Vega, New Order, The Smiths, and Echo & the Bunnymen. OMD's track would be the first single issued out from the soundtrack album. Thanks to the film being a hit, the track took off and ended up reaching the Pop Top 10. It also got to #24 at AC. The hit would help the soundtrack album reach #5 and go gold. It would end up being OMD's biggest hit in the US.

ReduxReview:  The band was fortunate enough to get a second chance to supply a song (see below) because the original tune was not hit material. The new track ended up working out very well for the band, the movie, and the soundtrack. It was serendipitous. I like this song, but it's not without its annoyances; mainly that syncopated synth part. It starts in the second verse in the background and during a break before the last section it comes to the forefront. It just makes me anxious and jittery. I mean, they couldn't come up with something else to fill that section? It's also weird that the title of the song is not in the chorus. Luckily, the tune was hooky enough that it didn't matter. I still like the tune, but it's not a big favorite.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  When OMD was first approached to write a song, they came up with one titled "Goddess of Love." It was used over the closing scene for the original ending of the film. However, test audiences disliked the movie's ending and that prompted a change. The final scene was rewritten, but then Hughes realized that OMD's song didn't fit the new ending. The band was asked to quickly write a new song for the scene. Within a short two days, they wrote and did a rough version of "If You Leave." Hughes loved the track and the new tune was finished off and used. It would become OMD's biggest US hit. "Goddess of Love" wasn't left on the shelf. OMD would include it on their next LP, The Pacific Age. It would not be one of the album's singles.


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