One of the earliest and also biggest hits of New Wave in the early 1980s was “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League. The British band was a pioneer of electronic pop music.
The band history
The band originally consisted of four members: Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh, Phil Oakey and Philip Adrian Wright. Unusually, Wright, an art student, joined the band to provide visual effects for the live shows. Human League opened for Siouxsie and the Banshees in 1978 and Iggy Pop a year later, among others. Soon after, Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh left the band and formed their own project with the band Heaven 17.
The two remaining band members were able to add the singers Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall, the bassist Ian Burden and the guitarist Jo Callis and formed their most successful line-up. The 1981 album “Dare!” is still a classic of romantic new wave. From Human League, the songs “Love Action” and “Open Your Heart” are still long-running hits today. They climbed into the top ten of the British charts. Many of the Human League songs from the number one album “Dare!”, released in 1981, became world hits, above all “Don’t You Want Me”.
Human League were pioneers of electronic music and co-founders of New Wave. They went down in pop history as a New Romantic band. Unlike other bands of the 80s, Human League songs are quieter, more guitar-driven and less sampled.
The band celebrated world successes in the years 1981 to 1986. With “Love and Dancing” the band also released one of the first remix albums in the world in 1982. These are instrumental versions of Human League songs mixed together. “Love and Dancing” was released under the band name “The League Unlimited Orchestra.” The album climbed into the top ten of the US charts.
Human League has released a total of nine studio albums since 1978, two remix albums and one live album. There are also six EPs from the band, 30 singles and various compilations. Until 2010, the band sold more than 20 million records worldwide.
2005: Live at the Dome (Live)
2005: Original Remixes & Rarities
Human League – as a trio
Today the band still consists of three members, Phil Oakey, Susan Ann Sully and Joanne Catherall. As a trio they released the albums “Octopus” and “Secrets”. “Octopus” and the single “Tell Me When” released from it both climbed to #6 in the British charts in 1995 and were hailed as the band’s comeback. The album “Secrets” that followed in 2001, however, only reached number 42 in the UK charts. This was not due to its quality, however, but to the lack of publicity for it. The record company went bankrupt and with it “Secret” also went down.
The band made its real comeback in 2010, when it signed a new record deal with the label “Wall of Sound”. A year later, “Credo” was released, the last Human League album so far. In July 2020, the band announced a European and UK tour for 2021, under the motto “Dare 40”. This alludes to the forty years that have passed since the year of the album’s release.
The Human League has won several awards, including London’s Q Award for their contributions to electronic music in 2004. In 2007, the single “Being Boiled” was included on Wire’s list of the 100 Songs That Changed the World.
In 2014, the single “Don’t You Want Me” reached the top 20 of the UK charts again. This re-entry into the charts succeeded due to a social media campaign by soccer fans of Aberdeen F.C. In 2018, the band toured Europe and the UK again with their “Red Tour”.
As a Romantic New Wave band, Human League influenced many other pop bands, for example the Pet Shop Boys or Moby. In 1982 they received the Brit Award for “Best British Breakthrough Act” and 26 years later, in 2008, they were awarded the ASCAP Award. An award for their hit song “Don’t You Want Me”, which at that time had been played more than 20 million times on US radio.
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Stefan Lohmann (Artist Booking)
Stefan Lohmann is a Hamburg-based talent buyer and artist relations manager. His service portfolio includes not only artist placement but also the creation of comprehensive live entertainment concepts for concerts, festivals and events. With his Live Entertainment Network of artists and creatives he also offers market leading show productions in the entertainment field Aerial Shows, Drone Shows, Video Projection Mapping, Dance Shows … “What doesn’t exist on the market, we create for our clients”, says Stefan Lohmann about his company philosophy.
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