Label: A&M (SP-12176)
Price paid: 50 cents
Purchased at: Books and Melodies, Syracuse NY
If you leave I won’t cry
I won’t waste one single day
But if you leave, no don’t look back
I’ll be running the other way
In the early days OMD (1979-1983) were a tight post-punk electronic group that constructed stark minimal landscapes of sound. Sort of like Kraftwerk with some sampling thrown in.
The release of ‘Junk Culture’ in 1984 marked a shift in their sound; it would evolve into increasingly mainstream synthpop from here on out. By 1986 the new tone was firmly entrenched, their softened sound filled with wispy romance perfectly aligned for collaboration with Hollywood shmaltz. And then this single happened.
‘If You Leave’ is from the soundtrack to the 1986 film ‘Pretty in Pink.’ It was the band’s highest charting single (to date) in the US, coming in at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. It fared not as well in OMD’s home country and only rose to #48 on the UK Singles Chart. It was supposedly written and recorded in under 24 hours.
This version of the US single (there are two) contains an extended version of ‘La Femme Accident’ on the B-side, a song which had been released as its own single in the UK the previous year reaching #42 on the charts there. Two versions of the single were also released in the UK, both containing the B-side ’88 Seconds in Greensboro.’ A pleasant little song about the 1979 Greensboro massacre involving the KKK in the American deep south, it’s exclusion from US releases should come as no surprise…
…also of no surprise (if you’re hip to 7″ sleeves of the mid-80s) is that the artwork is lackluster at best. Hastily slapped together art design coupled with pedestrian composition and cheap flimsy paper stock that rips if you look at it funny hints at the amount of care taken in most American music product of the period. I suppose it gets the job done in a “Hey, seen the movie? Now get the song!” sorta way.