Enola Gay – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

A pop hit which many thought was about sexuality, was actually about remembering the horror of the Hiroshima atomic bombing.

Enola Gay is a pop song by the British band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), and addresses one of the darkest events in history – the Hiroshima bombing. It was written by Andy McCluskey, the band’s lead singer, and was released in 1980, as the only single from the album Organisation.

Enola Gay – also the title of the song – was the aircraft that dropped the first world’s atomic bomb in Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6 of 1945 during WWII. Harry S. Truman, the U.S. President at the time, portended it as the “harnessing of the basic power of the universe”.

Indeed, the bombing resulted in a mass destruction that, in a moment, almost wiped the entire city, leaving behind a trail of more than 140.000 bodies of people who either died from the explosion, fire or radiation. However, these are only estimate numbers, as anyone within the blast are was instantaneously cremated.

McCluskey, in an interview, recalled why they wrote the song about Enola Gay: “We were both geeks about WWII airplanes. The most famous and influential single bomber was Enola Gay. Obvious choice for us, really.”

The lyrics make several allusions to facts related to the bombing. For instance, the sentence  “Enola gay, is mother proud of little boy today” refers, both, to the codename given to the bomb – “little boy”, as well as to the fact that the aircraft was named after Enola Gay Tibbets – the pilot’s mother. Moreover, “It’s 8:15, and that’s the time that it’s always been“, refers to the exact time of the detonation over Hiroshima.

Ironically, the implicit dark lyrics are disguised by a vivid and catchy pop tune, which resulted in a disco hit that reached the top charts in multiple countries, including Portugal, France, Italy and Spain.

Additionally, the song mistakenly, lead people with little knowledge about the bombing into believing that it was a cryptic recognition of the band as homosexual. As McCluskey once statedMany people simply don’t know what it’s actually about. Some even thought it was a coded message that we were gay.”

Inclusively, Enola Gay was banned from being played on Swap Shop, a popular program from BBC1, because it was believed that it would corrupt children’s sexuality.

Enola Gay can be interpreted as an anti-war or anti-nuclear protest song, nonetheless, the most crucial underlying message is that such atrocious events should not be forgotten in our past – “Enola Gay, it shouldn’t fade in our dreams away”.

Hopefully, this dark stain in the history of humanity will serve as a lesson to present and future policy and decision makers, by remembering them that scattering the blood of tens of thousands of innocents shouldn’t ever be the solution for any conflict. As the lyrics say “Enola gay, you should have stayed at home yesterday”.

Enola gay, you should have stayed at home yesterday
Aha words can’t describe the feeling and the way you lied

These games you play, they’re gonna end it more than tears someday
Aha enola gay, it shouldn’t ever have to end this way

It’s 8:15, and that’s the time that it’s always been
We got your message on the radio, conditions normal and you’re coming home

Enola gay, is mother proud of little boy today
Aha this kiss you give, it’s never ever gonna fade away

Enola gay, it shouldn’t ever have to end this way
Aha enola gay, it shouldn’t fade in our dreams away

It’s 8:15, and that’s the time that it’s always been
We got your message on the radio, conditions normal and you’re coming home

Enola gay, is mother proud of little boy today
Aha this kiss you give, it’s never ever gonna fade away

Enola Gay – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Rate this post
Categories
Sounds from the Bucket
Silvie Vale

Passionate about LGBT issues and human rights, Silvie Vale has recently graduated in Development and International Relations from Aalborg University, Denmark. She is specialized in Global Gender Studies and is particularly interested in creating awareness about matters of social justice. She loves travelling, researching and learning new things.
No Comment

Leave a Reply

*

*

RELATED POSTS