You remember The Human League for their 1981 number one hit Don’t You Want Me, and probably for a slew of weird and wonderful haircuts on Top of the Pops throughout the early 1980s. You might even know that they had an experimental electronic career before that. More importantly, it’s pretty much for definite that you’ll recognise the vast majority of their hit singles.
Too many to mention, really, but as a quick sample: Don’t You Want Me, Love Action (I Believe in Love), Together in Electric Dreams, and Being Boiled, as well as asymetric haircuts.
Where to start
Make sure you get the right compilation – The Very Best Of (2003) is the one to go for, with a full disc of hits and a bonus disc of very competent remixes.
What to buy
Start with the obvious, Dare (1981), because it really is as good as everyone says, and then if you’re feeling adventurous try exploring their early years with Travelogue (1980). Then hear them reinvent history with the brilliant commercial failure Secrets (2001).
Don’t bother with
Crash (1986) is dreadful, and its follow-up Romantic? (1990), although better, suffers from poor production values. Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder, the 1985 spin-off album, is good, but should probably be considered by completists only.
1982 b-side You Remind Me of Gold is one of the best tracks in their oeuvre, and can be found on the compilation Original Remixes and Rarities. Also the one-off single Stay with Me Tonight, which also appears on the black-sleeved Greatest Hits (1995) is one of their finest forgotten moments.
- The Human League – Dare (December 2012)
- The Human League – Don’t You Want Me 1995 (January 2013)
- The Human League – 1999 Demos (March 2013)
- Various Artists – Electric Dreams (April 2013)
- The Human League – Credo (May 2013)
- The Human League – The Making of Dare (July 2013)
- The Human League – Stay with Me Tonight (September 2013)
- The Human League – The Very Best Of (September 2013)