History Lesson: If You Leave, by OMD, was recorded for the soundtrack to the film Pretty in Pink (1986) where it was played prominently during the final scene. It is the band’s best-known and highest-charting single in the United States, where it reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May of 1986. The song became an international hit, also reaching the Top 5 in Canada and New Zealand, and charting at number 15 in Australia. It failed to crack the Top 40 of theUK Singles Chart, peaking at number 48, but eventually gained popularity in the band’s home country due to its inclusion on the multi-platinum selling The Best of OMD (1988) and the growing cult status of Pretty in Pink.
In aninterview with Andy McCluskey of OMD, he explained: “We were delighted to be asked by John, and went to the set where Molly and John Cryer were shooting. Unfortunately, the original song that we wrote didn’t fit after they changed the whole ending (the original ending had Molly Ringwald’s character choosing Duckie, who was played by Cryer, instead of Andrew McCarthy’s Blane). We had 2 days to write a new track at Larabee Studios in L.A. We worked until 4 a.m. writing a rough version and sent a motorbike to Paramount. John heard it, liked it, and our manager phoned us at 8 a.m. and told us to go back in and mix it. That’s how ‘If You Leave‘ Happened.
The song had to be 120 BPM cos that’s the tempo of ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me),’ which is the track they actually shot the prom scene to. Unfortunately, the editor obviously had no sense of rhythm because they are all dancing out of time in the final film.
Personal Reflection: Pretty in Pink holds a special place in my heart, and is by far my favorite John Hughes film, mostly because of the character of Andie. I have gone through my issues with the ending, with her choice, or should I say with the writers choice of endings, and I have, at times, been able to see both sides of the choice. I have also found myself thinking that maybe Andie should have chosen neither, maybe she should have chosen herself for awhile. Maybe she should have left and seen what the future had in store for her.
I wrote this once when a friend asked me what I thought happened after the ending happened (the ending with Andie and Blaine together, that is) and this was what I wrote in response:
Blaine and Andie stay together for awhile, and seem to overcome their obstacles until college and family and distance, and growing out of adolescence gets in the way. Andie ends up studying fashion design in New York, where she encounters her Mother, who has been living there since leaving Andie and her Father. Duckie gets a job at the record store and ends up having an affair with Iona. He ends up joining the Rave-Ups and at a show they do at CBGB’s (pre closing) he sees Andie again, which leads to a brief, but passionate, romance between the two of them. Andie has to leave to go to Paris for a first look show, Duckie has a tour to continue, so as they leave they promise to find each other again.
I would love to read what your story after the ending would be – please share in the comments.
If You Leave :: OMD