15 August 2012

The Human League

The Human League arrived - first hitting the Top 40 in May 1981 with Sound of the Crowd.

The original Human League had formed in 1977, and there were several changes in line-up (two of the original members who left in 1980 later formed Heaven 17) before the vast majority of us discovered a rather different version of the group which came together in 1980.

One of the pivotal moments in the band's history was when vocalist Phil Oakey asked Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall (then school girls aged 17 and 18) to join, having spotted them dancing at The Crazy Daisy Nightclub, Sheffield, in October 1980.

Oakey was faced with the highly difficult task of recruiting new band members within a matter of days when he spotted Susan Ann and Joanne.

The girls were originally recruited as "guests" to the group, to dance and provide incidental vocals on a European tour. Many fans of the obscure original Human League group were disgruntled to see the dancing girls, expecting the original all-male line-up. Legend has it that thrown beer cans and some heckling was the result.

But, despite this, on returning to England in December 1980, the girls were made full members of The Human League.

The band gave us a distinctly unseasonal Christmas Number One in 1981 - Don't You Want Me.


I love the Human League. If I hear one of their early-to-mid 1980s hits, I'm transported back... I can smell the hair gel, see that jumbled Rubik's Cube sitting smugly on the settee, hear the Space Invaders and Pac-Man machines burbling, feel the tensions of O' Levels and job hunting and the happiness of becoming a wage earner...

It's not just nostalgia. I think that the Human League are brilliant - then, now, forever.


Sarah Jane said...

I love the Human League too. They're a bit of a guilty pleasure really. My brother who is 16 years older than me used to have their stuff on casette so I listened to a lot of it as a child!

Drew said...

No need to feel guilty, Lucy - the Human League are simply WONDERFUL!! :)