The short series dealing with the contents of the Use Hearing Protection box set. FAC6 has featured before on the blog, back in September 2018, when I had a look at all three versions of Electricity/Almost. A lot of what follows, is taken from that post.
The first version was FAC6, released in May 1979.
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark had originally recorded both sides of the single with Martin Zero (aka Hannett) at the helm in Cargo Studios in Rochdale. They felt, however, that it was overproduced and so, at a studio in their home city of Liverpool, they re-recorded both songs with production being shared by the band and their manager Paul Collister. As a compromise, and not wishing to totally upset the volatile Hannett, it was agreed by Factory Records that the b-side from the Cargo sessions would be used.
Four months later, with the duo having now signed to DinDisc Records, the debut single was re-released, (catalogue # DIN2) but with it featuring the Hannett-helmed version as the a-side.
Neither release bothered the charts, but after a later single, Red Frame White Light (DIN6) managed to become a minor hit, DinDisc decided to re-release Electricity as part of the marketing campaign for the debut album. It also had the catalogue #DIN2, but it was different from the earlier DinDisc take on things as both sides of the 45 were the album versions, as produced by OMD and Chester Valentino (an alias adopted by Paul Collister).
But this series is, of course, only about the early Factory releases, so here, taken straight from the vinyl within the box set are the two songs on FAC6:-
mp3: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Electricity
mp3: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Almost
Incidentally, when I wrote about FAC6 back in September 2018, I mentioned that if you were lucky enough to have a good quality copy of the artefact, you could ask for and get in excess of £100 if you put up for sale.
Scratch that. The asking price for it nowadays is substantially over £200.
5 thoughts on “FAC 6 : ELECTRICITY by ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK”
I couldn’t say which version I heard first all those years ago but it did capture my imagination. I don’t own much early OMD, I don’t own any version of Electricity, but I have a soft spot for it. It seemed to catch me at the right time. I think the vocal delivery on some early songs is almost punk-like, nice and shouty.
The run up to Architecture and Morality, and the LP itself, marks a significant period in my life
I sold A LOT of my LPs in the early/mid 80s. I did not sell Architecture and Morality (blue cover) I really didn’t engage with much that came after.
I really do need to listen to more early stuff.
I know it all fell apart but that early Factory aesthetic was magic. OMD stuff aged as well as any of their synth-pop contemporaries’ if not better.
Love this single
I didn’t have the single but did buy the early albums when I started buying records a few years later. Both Electricity and Almost are standouts on the debut and I like the various single and Peel session versions, all of which have a slightly different appeal.
@Flimflamfan, if JC will permit this indulgence and self-promotion, here’s Side 2 of an early stuff mixtape that I posted last year, ironically featuring neither of these songs (I think they’re on Side 1)
The Hannett versions are the ones for me. Sorry OMD, but you were crazy to think that your demos in comparison were the way to go there! “Electricity” was epic under the Hannett aegis!