The League were proudly independent mavericks with a plan for World Domination but with a D.I.Y ethos. (Thanks go to WINX for the shares!)
Here is a pile of rarities from the late 70’s/Early 80’s that you may enjoy!
The original mono recording from 1978 and their debut release. Primitive sounds with the soundtrack-like arrangements on “Circus Of Death” I love the Phil Oakey introduction where he tries to explain the meaning of the song, got to love a bit of pomposity now and again.
Fast Product – FAST 4
||Circus Of Death
The Human League – Peel Radio Session (16/8/1978)
Probably as near as I’m going to get to hear what the old League sounded like live. “Being Boiled” is more intense, in stereo and gets cut suddenly towards the end, someone with a finger on the pause button ?
“No Time” from the LP “Reproduction” (all the rest are as well) and a more interesting version, Oakey’s distant vocal style suits the song well.
“Blind Youth” is a lively but simple pop track with some weird modular sounds mixed in with the tambourine led beat.
“You’ve Lost…” is minimal and icy but slightly warmer than the studio version but fades before it reaches the great climax!
- Being Boiled
- No Time
- Blind Youth (Progression)
- You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling
|The Dignity Of Labour
The 2nd single and a nice little double pack. This was from June 1980 with a lot of the tracks recorded back in 79. A celebration after being signed to Virgin no doubt. “Empire” is great synthpop track, weird and funny but sounding out of this world with co-production from Colin Thurston. “Introducing” is another dark instrumental, seeming to be like a Police Car chase.
The Bonus 7″ is a cover of the Mick Ronson track, again co-produced with Richard Manwaring who also co-produced the involving “Tokyo City”, atmospheric and futuristic and far superior to the short album version.
Virgin – VS 351
||Empire State Human
||Only After Dark
||Toyota City (Long Version)
The Men – I Don’t Depend On You (7″)
Released in February 1979, The Men was an alias used by The Human League as a result of Virgin pressing the group to record material which used more ‘conventional’ instruments, rather than just synthesizers. They were worried about the Musicians Union banning synths and a public back lash.So the band went under a pseudo name and recorded this with session musicians providing bass guitar and drums, and Katie Kissoon and Lisa Strike on backing vocals. (two years prior to the arrival of Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley)
Cruel, was a remix of the A-side, from which Philip’s vocals were absent, they were still plenty of synths in the mix, electro-disco. Both were co-produced with Colin Thurston
The group were obviously convinced that this record would provide them with their first hit single. Philip later revealed how the group had “planned what we were going to do on Top Of The Pops. We had all these actors and actresses hired for the backing group.” But they ended up being too busy to promote it.
Another strange fact is the song was covered by the British dance troupe Hot Gossip on their 1981 album “Geisha Boys and Temple Girls” which was produced by Martyn Ware, the album was a commercial failure and winded up to be the last Dindisc release.
I wonder who played the bass ?
Virgin – VS 269
||I Don’t Depend On You
A track I had overlooked and was pleased to give it a revisit. Again before the Girls took over the backing vocals and before Martin Rushent. This was after the SPLIT, Feb 1981, with Oakey teaming up with Philip Wright, who was originally “director of visuals” in the old Human League and quickly learned to play keyboards and began writing with Oakey for Dare.
This was produced by Richard Manwaring with drama and plenty of synths with hardly any beats.
B-side , “Tom Baker” has a superb, early League sound with a nod to the original Dr. Who theme and the Radio-phonic Workshop.
Virgin – VS 395
||Boys And Girls
So it happened, Human League Mk2 and the embodiment of synth New Wave.
Martin Rushent adds his magic and it is co-written with new, permanent band member Ian Burdon, Formerly of Sheffield band Graph, Burden was employed as a session keyboard player for the Human League’s October 1980 tour, covering for Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh’s keyboards after their departure, (he also played Bass Guitar)
The classic 7″ is here and the shorter but very effective dub on the flip.
“Still vocals and synthesizers only”
Virgin – VS416
||The Sound Of The Crowd
||The Sound Of The Crowd (Add Your Voice)
To complete this little feature the original 12″ version that was my first League purchase. I remember it came in a full, weighty vinyl slab and remember hearing those electronic Toms for the first time. The B-side is another different mix, here for the completists.
The Human League had made it but in such way that Ware and Oakey still not speak to each other, the high cost of Fame.
Virgin – VS 416-12
||The Sound Of The Crowd (Complete)
||The Sound Of The Crowd (Instrumental)