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Enya - Orinoco Flow (1988)

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  • 80's Score80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.54
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“Orinoco Flow”, also released as “Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)”, is a song by the Irish singer songwriter ...

“Orinoco Flow”, also released as “Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)”, is a song by the Irish singer songwriter Enya, released on 15 October 1988 on WEA Records in Europe and 10 January 1989 by Geffen Records in the United States. It was released as the lead single from the musician’s second studio album, Watermark (1988). It topped the UK Singles Chart for three weeks and received two Grammy Award nominations for Best Music Video and Best New Age Performance at the 32nd Annual Grammy Awards.

In 2020, The Guardian ranked “Orinoco Flow” at number 77 in its list of The 100 greatest UK No 1s.

Background

The song was released as the lead single from Enya’s second studio album Watermark in October 1988. It became a global success, reaching number-one in several countries, including Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, where it stayed at the top of the UK Singles Chart for three weeks. In the United States, the song peaked at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1989.

In 1994, the song was licensed to Virgin Records for the best-selling new-age music compilation album Pure Moods, and in 1998 a special-edition 10th anniversary remix single was released. Part of its name is derived from Orinoco Studios (now Miloco Studios), where it was recorded, and its pizzicato chords (generated by altering the Roland D-50 synthesizer’s “Pizzagogo” patch) are highly recognizable as a new age sound. Signed to WEA by Rob Dickins, who served as executive producer of Watermark, “Orinoco Flow” was inspired by the Colombo-Venezuelan river, and it paid homage to Dickins in the line “with Rob Dickins at the wheel.”

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