A Young Person’s Guide To: OMD – Joan Of Arc [Maid of Orleans]

In January of 1982, the third single from OMD’s best selling [in the UK] album “Architecture + Moralilty” was released in 1982. And the 12″ has a fascinating variation story behind it. I first bought the most common 12″ single, which had the same sleeve as the 7″ version. But for the sale of illustration, let’s first look at the initial 12″ sleeve as it’s a Peter Saville tour de force.

Dindisc Records | UK | 12" | 1982 | DIN 40-12

Dindisc Records | UK | 12″ | 1982 | DIN 40-12

Orchestral Manœuvres In The Dark: Joan Of Arc [Maid of Orleans] UK 12″ #1 [1982]

  1. Joan Of Arc [Maid Of Orleans]
  2. Of All The Things We’ve Made
  3. Navigation

Let’s see, we’ve got an embossed, metallic foil cover with printing on the background simulating milled steel. The typography looks like Futura family… what’s not to like?!? Apparently a lot, of you’re OMD. The band didn’t like this design [!!!] which the label printed in advance of issuing, so a certain amount of these reached the marketplace. Beyond the band’s incredible antipathy to this design, the front cover lists the record’s tracks incorrectly. The B-sides are listed as “Navigation” and “Experiments In Vertical Takeoff.” But what the record actually proffers is “Of All The Things We’ve Made” and “Navigation.”

The band were planning on writing a track called “Experiments In Vertical Takeoff” but never got around to actually doing it. Nevertheless, when the time came to design and print the sleeve, that’s the info the label was acting upon, never knowing that the band swerved to write and record another B-side instead. “Of All The Things We’ve Made” the group liked so much, that they remixed it slightly [with producer Rhett Davies] for inclusion on their following album.

I actually got my copy of this 12″ several years after it was released at a record show in the mid-late 80s. In that pre-internet era, imagine the shock of coming across this alternate sleeve with no warning.

Virgin Records | UK | 12" \ 1982 | DIN 40-12

Dindisc Records | UK | 12″ | 1982 | DIN 40-12

Orchestral Manœuvres In The Dark: Joan Of Arc [Maid of Orleans] UK 12″ #2 [1982]

  1. Joan Of Arc [Maid Of Orleans]
  2. Of All The Things We’ve Made
  3. Navigation

The small Dindisc label couldn’t withdraw the copies released of the first cover, but it was superseded by this alternate design, taken from the 7″ version instead. The printing is an equally posh five color job [the grey looking areas are actually metallic foil] that is dramatically different from the original classical coin design. Again, this single was designed by the band’s long-time artist Peter Saville. The use of vibrant color is more playful but I’m of the opinion that the original cover is more aligned to the atmosphere of the actual song than the colorful treatment here. The lion’s share of the 12″ singles use this design instead, with a subsequent pressing losing the metallic ink for a flat grey representation instead.

Perhaps the most shocking attribute of this cover is that it persists in listing the B-sides as “Experiments In Vertical takeoff” and “Navigation.” Even after the time and expense of creating and printing a second 12″ sleeve! Intriguingly, on the final OMD single before their split in 1989, there was a B-side recorded in 1981 but never released until the band’s “Dreaming” single,” called “Gravity Never Failed.” Perhaps this was what the mooted “Experiments In Vertical Takeoff” mutated into?

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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3 Responses to A Young Person’s Guide To: OMD – Joan Of Arc [Maid of Orleans]

  1. Echorich says:

    I have to side with OMD on this one. The rare Saville sleeve is really OTT. It’s a bit more heroic and in keeping with the video imagery, but the sleeve has that serility that make some of Saville’s work grate on me.

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  2. Carol says:

    DinDisc was my label and this is not what happened. Peter Saville designed the metallic sleeve based on an Italian lire coin I had brought back from a skiing trip. He disliked it, describing it as too ‘chocolate box’ and wanted to scrap it. He designed another sleeve and we agreed that the record would go out in both editions, but the silver sleeve would credit me as designer, because he did not want his name to be associated with it. The silver sleeve was a limited edition because it was expensive to produce. Ironically, I won a D&AD award for this design, because my name was on it as the designer. The other sleeve did not win an award!

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Carol – Welcome to the comments! Thank you so much for bringing OMD, The Revillos, and Martha + The Muffins to our attention with DinDisc! And thanks for setting me straight on the cover design issue! I took this text on Discogs [“The original sleeve design for the 12″ version had used an embossed coin motif on a silver foil sleeve. The band weren’t happy with this sleeve design, which led to the new stained glass version. A limited number of the coin foil sleeves, however, were issued.”] at face value.

      I never would have imagined that Saville was the fly in the ointment there. Why would he take it to production if he thought it was a bad idea? [he was dead wrong, by the way] I agreed with the thought that it could only be the artist would wield such veto power. If you proposed the coin design then it’s safe to say that you art directed the sleeve; hence his antipathy. Therefore, it was right and proper that you should have won the award for it. I feel it is more appropriate to the [dignified] passion of the song and its subject than the other sleeve. That said, as an art director myself, I also understand his territorial response to an outside direction like yours was. C’est la guerre, Mr. Saville. I am just happy that this magnificent work reached the OMD buying public instead of being just a photo in their new book.

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