Beginner’s guide to The Human League

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.

Key moments

Too many to mention, really, but as a quick sample: Don’t You Want MeLove 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.

Hidden treasure

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.

For stowaways

2 thoughts on “Beginner’s guide to The Human League

  1. Pingback: The complete beginner’s guide | Music for stowaways

  2. Pingback: Begin again – revisiting the beginner’s guides | Music for stowaways

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