Joan of Arc
by OMD

Album: Architecture & Morality (1982)
Charted: 5

Songfacts®:

  • In an interview in Beatmag, Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys were asked why their song lyrics were about such unusual topics as Enola Gay and Joan of Arc. This was their reply:

    Paul Humphreys: "We really didn't want to do this traditional love lyrics. We always hated those kind of 'I love you' and 'You love me' kinds of songs. Kraftwerk always sung about really unusual things as well. Also, another influence on us was Brian Eno and he always sung about some very unusual topics. So, we kind of followed that line."

    Andy McCluskey: "Again it was us wanting to do something new and not be clichéd and repeat things. I tortured myself. On the third album, the song 'Joan of Arc' has the word love in it and I kept thinking, can I use this word? But love here is kind of third party - it's not you or me, it's she. She fell in love, so I can get away with that. It's not a first or second love.

    Paul Humphreys: "Because we thought love was such a cliché. There were so many love songs, particularly at that time. We just thought they became meaningless, really."
  • In the same interview Andy McCluskey describes the meaning behind the title of their Architecture & Morality (AM) album: "It was purloined from Martha Ladley who was the keyboard player in Martha and the Muffins who was the girlfriend of Peter Saville (a graphic designer who designed their album covers) at the time, and who suggested it as a great title. We could see it was a great title because it was a sort of metaphor for our own music: we have the electronic structure - the architecture, the inhuman machine; and we have the morality which is the warmth and the empathy and the vocals and the humanity. The tension created by the juxtaposition is where we saw the strength of our music being derived from."
  • This was one of two tracks on the album about Joan of Arc. OMD's next single release after this was called "Maid Of Orleans (The Waltz Joan Of Arc)," which reached #4 in the UK and was the biggest selling record in Germany in 1982.

Comments: 3

  • Caleb from Los Angeles, CaI once did a couple of hits of acid at Disneyland. I sat in The Enchanted Tiki Room and the talking birds started to whistle and for some reason this song popped into my head, "Little catholic girl has fallen in love... A face on a page, a gift from above..." then I had a reverie/vision of her life and I was moved to tears. I turned to a middle aged woman sitting next to me and said, "Poor girl. She was only 15, leading armies, hearing the voice of God. Her light went out so soon". The older woman looked concerned and said, "Who's light? Who do you mean" I said, "Joan of Ark" And I tried to sing a few lines, "Listen Joan of Arc, all you gotta do
    Say the right words and I'll be coming through.." My friend Sam said I was snapping my fingers in time to the music and smiling more with my teeth than my eyes.

    At this point the woman began to move away and I remember I said to her, "you've changed Gloria. you've changed". Then her husband got all up in my face and said, "listen son, her name's not Gloria and you don't talk to my wife like that, and by then D-land security was piling into the Tiki Room. But before they took me away I said to not-Gloria's husband, "Listen son, said the man with the gun there''s room for you inside".

    All in all, a beautiful song, with or without the help of Albert Hoffman's Sandoz gift.
  • Musicmama from New York, NyIt's actually a brand of brie. Hey--there's a song in this. "Joan of Arc--isn't that a cheese?" If any of you songwriters like the idea, take it!
  • Darrell from EugeneJoan of Arc? Isn't that a brand of canned vegetables that may or may not be defunct?
see more comments

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