Friday, August 7, 2009

88 Seconds in Greensboro

If you live in Greensboro and are reading this then you probably know about the 1979 Greensboro Massacre. If not, here's a brief brief summary from wikipedia: "The Greensboro massacre took place on November 3, 1979 in Greensboro, North Carolina, United States. Five marchers were shot and killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party while in a protest. It was the culmination of attempts by the Communist Workers Party to organize mostly black industrial workers in the area." It goes on to say that the most fucked up thing about this event was that for some reason there were
no police present. No police present for an event that involved the KKK, Nazis and African Americans? That's more than a little messed up, Greensboro.

A few years ago, a really in-depth documentary was made about not just the massacre, but it's repercussions with the child of one of the protesters. Very disturbing and fascinating stuff. Right in on our backyard. The whole thing is watchable at, here is a preview that does a good job of summarizing the story:

If you want to know more about this unfortunate page in Greensboro's history book, please google it and read read read, cause there's tons of info out there. If you want to know how 80s synth pop group Orchestral Maneouvres in the Dark are involved with all of this, read on.

In 1985, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark released their 6th album, Crush, which features their song "88 Seconds in Greensboro", which is about, you may have guessed, the 1979 Massacre. How a British band came to write a song about Greensboro, I'm not entirely sure. In this video Andy McCluskey says he saw a news reel about it and had to write a song. Okay.

I'm a big OMD fan. So much that I call them OMD. And as all OMD fans will quickly clarify, their first four albums are really where it's at. 85's Crush is good, but most of the awesome late 70s/early 80s new wave acts had blown it by 85. OMD was no exception. The song, "88 Seconds in Greensboro" is kinda bland, but due to the subject matter, I've listened to it so many times that it's grown on me.

All that having been said, this is not a good representation of OMD, but may be the only song featured on a major label release about Greensboro.


If you want a taste of OMD at their best, get their 1981 album, Architecture and Morality here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's not worthy of single status but it's a lot better than the crap they recorded when they sold out. I agree that A&M is a great record, and if Netflix decides to offer the newish live DVD again I'll relive that time again.