This synth-pop ensemble popped up in 1980 and, with bands like ABC and Spandau Ballet, helped to establish the New Romantic offshoot from New Wave, despite confusing a large number of Americans who were probably not too sure how to spell maneuvers in the first place. Liverpudians Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey and their bandmates Malcolm Holmes and Dave Hughes spun an airy web of synthesized strings around cool vocals and crisp electronic rhythms, creating a stylishly detached mood of elegant decadence that suited post-disco dance clubs to a T.
OMD’s mixture of lush, sweet, and brittle was also tailor-made for movie soundtracks. Their songs were featured in such films as Arthur 2: On the Rocks and Pretty in Pink (which made the haunting If You Leave into their biggest U.S. hit, hitting number four in 1996).
They were largely a product of the times, however. As styles changed, their popularity dwindled with the club crowd, and though McCluskey continued OMD into the 90’s with other musicians, the band melted into the dark in 1996.