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Astralwerks Re-Release Human League's 80s Anthems

Author: Jonty Adderley (
Saturday, February 1, 2003
US label Astralwerks re-released all three original Human League albums this week, in a nod to the growing popularity of electro-pop in the US. Reproduction, Travelogue and mullti-million seller Dare all feature 7 additional bonus tracks while Dare includes Love and Dancing, one of the first dance remix albums ever released.

Despite being mocked by Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten as 'trendy hippies' in 1979, the band became key pioneers in the electronic scene, creating musical templates of striking simplicity and originality.

"Synthesizers largely influenced us because we were big 'Clockwork Orange' fans and we liked the novelty element," Phil Oakey told Skrufff last year.

"Technology had just started to happen and we were there when these machines were invented. The world changed then."

Both of the band's first two albums (Reproduction and Travelogue) initially failed to sell significantly, prompting original members Martin Ware and Ian Craig Marsh to quit and form British Electric Foundation (later to become Heaven 17). Left with the band name a record company debt of £100,000 and a forthcoming European tour that needed to be fulfilled, Phil Oakey and former slides man Adrian Wright set off on a desperate search to recruit new musicians.

"We needed two more members and I liked Michael Jackson and high pitch voices, so we decided to look for girls," Phil recalled.

"We just went out to a Sheffield club were they played our kind of music, Gary Numan, Japan, that sort of thing, and we saw Joanne and Susan. They were two of the four people we auditioned and although we needed just one of them, we ended up taking them both on board, since they knew each other and could look after each other. To have chosen just one would have definitely caused romantic disputes between the guys in the band."

Both girls who had indeed been cocktail waitresses at the bar they were spotted dancing in, went on to become integral members of the band, adding vocals on the band's greatest moment Dare.