If You Leave – Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#4); 1986

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark (later shortened to OMD) took its cue from German electronic music as exemplified by Kraftwerk. OMD brought a cheerful pop sensibility to the mix. Between 1978 and 1985, OMD – built upon the core of Andrew McCluskey and Paul Humphries – released six albums which had brought them public and critical acclaim in Britain.

Oddly, their next album, Crush, although one of their lesser efforts, became their best seller to date in the U.S. Then, lightning struck. John Hughes’ Pretty In Pink, his third teen-oriented flick in as many years, and its accompanying synth-pop soundtrack album included OMD’s If You Leave.

Viewers and radio were quick to pick up on Leave making it a big hit in the U.S., yet, not in England. Although OMD carried on the U.K., Leave pretty much represented their sole impact in the States.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
  • Tom Lord-Alge

Lyrics Written by:

  • Andy McCluskey
  • Paul Humphreys
  • Martin Cooper