Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: ‘Music 1977-80’ book (1980, UK, Dinsong Ltd)

How far Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark progressed from the time they released that first limited edition 7” pressing on Factory records in the summer of 1979 so swiftly. A re-release of the single on the new Virgin-backed label DinDisc by September alongside a high-profile support act slot for Gary Numan on his first solo live tour. The Gramophone Suite studio and release of their second single and debut album in the early months of 1980. And then by Spring, the big breakthrough with the lush re-recording of ‘Messages’ and first singles chart success. Hardly time to take breath before Autumn and even bigger, international success with ‘Enola Gay’ and, on its way, their second album, ‘Organisation’. Whew!

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book cover

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book cover

Alongside the record releases and live shows there were other outlets for OMitD product, such as tour programmes and merchandise, television appearances and the like. And along the way in those early days this particular item, ‘Music 1977-80’.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 1

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 1 – OMitD musical notation key

How likely would it have been for the young duo of Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphries in that summer of 1979 with just that first single set for a release to have imagined that in less than a year and a half they would have in their hands this book. Complete with sheet music notation for a selection of tracks from those first two albums and also some fascinating peeks at renditions of their own private music notation style and early publicity ephemera. All wrapped up in a beautiful cover that took elements of the designs from the first two album sleeves and bundled in a double-sided full colour poster for good measure too.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 2

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 2 – OMitD musical notation extracts

Released in November of 1980, it was yours for £3.95 + 50 pence post and packing at the time. The musical notation included all tracks from the first two albums except for a few, probably obvious, exceptions: no ‘Dancing’, no ‘VCL XI’ and no ‘The More I See You’ (this most likely because it was a cover version and ergo some other music publishing company). ‘Annex’ was the sole non-album track included.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 3

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 3

When I see that excerpt of the OMitD unique music notation for ‘Enola Gay’ I cant help imagine it being used as a cover design for the 40th anniversary re-issue, akin to the design first used for ‘Electricity’ – perhaps white print in grey…

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 4

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 4

The images presented here are just a small sample to give a flavour of what the book includes.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 5

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 5

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 6

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 6

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 7

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 7

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 8

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 8

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 9

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book excerpt 9

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book - poster

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book – poster

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book - poster

^ Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Music 1977-80 book – poster

3 Responses to “Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: ‘Music 1977-80’ book (1980, UK, Dinsong Ltd)”

  1. Fascinating, Captain! I would have been all over this like white on rice had I ever seen a copy. No matter that I never learned to read music. Such things should be under the roof in any case. The only sheet music book i have is from their Liverpudlian cohorts, China Crisis. A friend of mine found the “China Crisis Collection” book that accompanied their first greatest hits album in 1990 on Virgin, and sent it to me; knowing my ardor for all things China Crisis.

  2. admin says:

    I am no sheet music reader myself – I can do it only very slowly, but nevertheless there have been a few books I have come by over the years that were compelling. Never featured on these pages (to date anyway), the Pink Floyd sheet music volumes for ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘Animals’ are both good examples too, I must say – plenty of additional interview commentaries, alternative photos and Rtwork – great stuff. My good friend and regular commenter, Lieutenant 030, was all over this and also the very nice ‘Architecture and Morality’ sheet music volume too back in the day.

  3. lieutenant 030 says:

    a wonderful piece of OMitD material, very well put together even down to the die cut front cover. the same level of detail went into the Architecture And Morality book with a lovely die cut front cover emulating the cream/beige lp sleeve. Alas there were no more books until the below par Pacific Age and then The Best Of… these 2 books didn’t offer much more apart from an intro by Johnny Walker unlike the first 2 books. Early issues of Music 1977-80 also included a 2 sided poster. these books have been well used over the past 40 years and the postere has graced many awall in its time

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