Maid of Orleans, by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
If Joan of Arc had a heart, would she give it as a gift
To such as me who longs to see, how a legend oughta be
Had dreams to give her heart away, like an orphan along the way
She cared so much, she offered up her body to the grave
Maid of Orleans had originally been written by Andy McCluskey on 30th May 1981, the 550th anniversary of Joan of Arc's death. The song is in 6/8 time, giving it a waltz-like style. With only eight lines of text it is almost an instrumental. The main theme is a synthesized bagpipe tune (played on the Mellotron --- consisting of the "female choir" and the "3-Violins" presets). The intro is made of strange noises and was added later:
“ The intro was a problem for radio and we did do edited versions where it was shortened.
The idea came about because we actually had the song recorded but thought the track started oddly and needed something else to announce it's arrival. At the time of A+M we were making a lot of music that was ambient soundscapes. The natural thing was to give the song an intro that set up the feel for the main themes to resolve out of the noises.
It's not meant to "mean" anything specific, just set up a feeling to let the track grow out of the strange noises. I think that it worked well!
BTW.. for the sound anoraks...most of the noises are melotron vocal sounds slowed down/sped up and greatly distorted simply by completely overdriving the old Helios desk in The Manor Studio. Pink noise and snare drum in lots of reverb.