Martin Cooper

Martin Cooper (B.1958) is a British musician, composer and artist best known as a member of Liverpool new wave group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD). 

As an art student in the late seventies, Cooper had collaborated with OMD founder members Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey playing saxophone in with their earlier group The Id. He later contributed sax for one track, Mystereality, on OMD's debut album released in 1980. Although he was not part of the band's first headlining tour (a recording of his sax was played on group's tape recorder named Winston), he started appearing and playing live with OMD from September 1980, and on the promotional tour of their second album Organisation which continued well into 1981. He can be seen playing keyboards with the group during performances of hit single Enola Gay on Top of the Pops and in the promo video for the song.

OMD mid-80s

Mid-80s OMD, with M. Cooper, top.

An interview and feature in Smash Hits (03 September 1981) revealed that Martin Cooper was now an 'ex-member', having been replaced by new keyboard player Mike Douglas. This was despite the fact that Cooper had co-written the group's new single Souvenir with Paul Humphreys. However Cooper appeared with the group again on Top of the Pops, together with Douglas, playing sax for a mimed performance of the song. He eventually remained with the band for the Architecture and Morality tour, while it was Douglas who left (going on to play live with The Human League and China Crisis).

By now part of a consolidated four-piece with McCluskey, Humphreys, and Holmes, Martin Cooper continued to be a permanent OMD band member from 1983 until the group split in 1988. Although he has no other specific writing credits to his name, apart from Souvenir, Cooper's distinctive tenor sax melody can be heard on the top 10 OMD single Talking Loud and Clear (1984) and sax playing on other hits such as So In Love (1985) and (Forever) Live and Die (1986).

In 1983 he wrote and recorded the soundtrack for the Italian film I Paladini - Storia D'Armi E D'Amori, together with Dave Hughes, a fellow-Liverpudlian formerly of Dalek I Love You, and of OMD who had also contributed to Souvenir. The pair also composed music for the 1984 American horror film C.H.U.D, although this was never released as a soundtrack.

The Listening Pool

Cooper Still Life cover

After the OMD split in the late 80s, effectively leaving just Andy McCluskey with the name, Humphreys, Cooper and Holmes went on to form a new group The Listening Pool, issuing one album Still Life in 1994. The album's cover art is by Martin Cooper.

OMD re-form

Martin Cooper recent sax

In 2005 McCluskey and Humphreys re-united for OMD live performances, while announcements were made for special live performances of the by-now "classic" album Architecture and Morality in its entirety, for which Cooper and Holmes were also re-recruited. Since then the group has released two more new albums and several live dates, usually with Cooper on keyboards, occasional guitar and bass guitar for one of OMD's earliest compositions 'Julia's Song'.

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