Walking on the Milky Way (song)

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"Walking on the Milky Way"
Milky Way - OMD.jpg
Single by OMD
from the album Universal
  • "Mathew Street",
  • "The New Dark Age"
Released 5 August 1996
Recorded The Townhouse, London
Genre Synthpop, Britpop
Length 4:38 (album version)
4:04 (single edit)
Label Virgin Records
Songwriter(s) Andy McCluskey, Nigel Ipinson & Keith Small
Producer(s) Andy MCluskey, Matthew Vaughan, David Nicholas
OMD singles chronology
"Walking on the Milky Way"

"Walking on the Milky Way" is a song by the British band OMD. It was released as a single in August 1996 and appeared on their Universal album a month later. The song reached number 17 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming the band's first UK Top 20 single in over five years, and their last UK Top 40 entry to date. The group were flanked by a full string orchestra for their Top of the Pops performance of the song broadcast on 16 August 1996.

Style and critical reception

Characterised by an ethereal and melancholy sound and a soaring delivery of the lyric, the song wistfully recalls the glory days of youth but cautions that time cannot be turned back. In a retrospective article, AllMusic critic Dave Thompson praised Andy McCluskey's vocal, and wrote: "With its sublime melody and a suitably anthemic chorus, this stellar single, released in August 1996, was a deserving Top 20 British hit."[1]

Versions and B-sides

The same version of the song was used for the single and album release. A single edit was made for the promotional single, and appeared on the compilations The OMD Singles and Messages: Greatest Hits. The B-side "Mathew Street", co-written with Karl Bartos, formerly of Kraftwerk, references the location of Eric's Club in Liverpool, where OMD made their first public performance at Erics Club, and best-known worldwide as the location of the Cavern Club. The song is written in the style of Sgt. Pepper's period Beatles song. The CD single also features "The New Dark Age", a slower electronic ballad whose title references the band's 1981 song "The New Stone Age" from their Architecture and Morality album. The song was written and performed by McCluskey alone.

Promotional video

A promo video was made for the song mostly featuring Andy McCluskey singing the song in various locations. The video makes use of slow motion and other special visual effects reflecting the tempo and grandiose style of the song. It was directed by Howard Greenhalgh.


Despite being relatively successful as a single, band leader and songwriter Andy McCluskey stated in an interview in 2001 that Walking on the Milky Way was "about as good a song as I could write" but was frustrated by the lack of airplay by Radio 1 since it was not "perceived as trendy by their target audience" and therefore the refusal by large retails distributors such as Woolworths to stock it. This frustration led the songwriting pair of McCluskey and Kershaw to abandon OMD and form and write songs for Liverpool girl group Atomic Kitten.[2] It's the only song from Universal that is still played by the band live.

Track listing

Virgin: 5" CD single: VSCDT 1599 (UK 1996)

Produced by Andy McCluskey (except "Walking on the Milky Way" [Andy McCluskey/Matthew Vaughan/David Nicholas])

  1. "Walking on the Milky Way" (Andy McCluskey/Nigel Ipinson/Keith Small)
  2. "Mathew Street" (Andy McCluskey/Karl Bartos)
  3. "The New Dark Age" (Andy McCluskey)

Variant release, Virgin VSCDG 1599 (UK 1996)

  1. "Walking on the Milky Way" (Andy McCluskey, Ipinson, Small)
  2. "Joan of Arc (Live)" (Andy McCluskey)
  3. "Maid of Orleans (Live)" (Andy McCluskey)
  4. "Walking On Air (Live)" (OMD/Kershaw/Massett)

Tracks 2, 3 & 4 recorded live at Bonn Biskuithalle 16 November 1993 (broadcast by SWF3).


Chart (1996) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[3] 16
Germany (Official German Charts)[4] 53
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[5] 23
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[6] 49
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[7] 17


  • Walking on the Milky Way at AllMusic
  • Info at OMD's website
  1. ^ "Walking on the Milky Way - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Song Info - AllMusic". AllMusic.
  2. ^ Alex Petridis. "The power behind pop". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2016-08-30.
  3. ^ "Austriancharts.at – OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) – Walking on the Milky Way" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) – Walking on the Milky Way". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) – Walking on the Milky Way". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 31 March 2018.

External links

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