Taking a look at the Top 10 The Human League Songs takes us to one of the most successful bands in the UK. Formed in 1977 in Sheffield, UK, started out as an experimental electronic outfit, having the band sign to Virgin Records two years later. The band’s third album Dare would later have them acquire notable commercial breakthroughs and success in 1981. With the album came four hit singles in which the band’s Don’t You Want Me hit made it big on the Europe and America top music charts. As a result, the band was awarded in 1982 with the Best British Breakthrough Act. However, tides came in for the band like with Philip Oakey, the lead singer, and songwriter of the band being the only remaining member among its founders.
At a time, the band had up to seven members, and thanks to its redefinition that the band is still active to date. Currently, the band member includes Philip, Joanne Catherall, and Susan Ann Sulley. Following their success in the 80s, the band continued making major releases that to date sound great to music lovers including nine studio albums and tons of hits. Here are the top 10 The Human League songs that you might wish to check out.
# 10 – Life on Your Own
On our, number ten is Life on Your Own, a song from The Human League’s 1984 album, Hysteria. Recorded at AIR Studios, the song was written by Philip Oakey, and band members Adrian Wright and Jo Callis. Notably, this synth and a drum-machine-led hit song was a return of the band to making great hits after their breakthrough and success back in 1981. Its depressing lyrics and downbeat makes it quite an emotional song. Nevertheless, the song made it big in the UK charts having it stay on the charts for six weeks after its release while reaching a top position of number 16.
# 9 – Louise
Yet another song from The Human League’s Hysteria, 1984 album, is Louise, a well-written ballad. Getting to the lyrics, the song might feel like just any mediocre tale of long-lost lovebirds who just met each other. However, there is something quite dark about the lyrics, with the song possibly giving an answer to the band’s hit song made earlier, Don’t You Want Me. Probably, this might have felt like marketing. The song is basically about men’s presumption that they can easily twist women’s thinking with the truth being they can’t. In the song, Oakey’s frustrations seem to dissolve into a delusional hope for appeasement with Sulley’s character.
# 8 – The Sound of the Crowd
There is something unique about this song, having it being the first The Human League’s jam to feature female vocals. All thanks to its positive and strong redefinition that led to having new members on board, that’s, Susan Ann Sulley, and Joan Catherall. Probably, this was quite a great decision to have them on board since they have stuck with Philip ever since having the three remain the only band members currently. Written by Philip and Ian Burden, a keyboard player, the song was released in 1981, as part of the Dare album. It’s the combination of the shards of vocals as well as the drum machine that makes this jam quite a banger!
# 7 – Open Your Heart
All fans of The Human League band can ‘open up their hearts’ and attest to feeling the vibe that the song Open Your Heart offers, thanks to its chirpy melody. Coming from the album Dare, the song was played on a Casio VL Tone showing the whole world how affordable electronic equipment was. Featuring for the first time Jo Callis, Open Your Heart rose quickly in the UK charts having it make it to number six. Notably, the song was the major drive towards the successful promotion of the album Dare.
# 6 – Being Boiled
There is no better way to express the truth that old is beautiful through a song by The Human League, than by Being Boiled, one of the group’s popular songs. Despite its release back in 1978 by composers Ian Craig, Martyn Ware, and lyricist Philip, the song hit its highs four years later. Retrieved from the band’s album Travelogue, the song is probably the band’s most iconic song. The nice story about this song is that it is inspired by Gary Gilmore’s (a murderer) last words right before he was executed in 1977. Fascinating is that Being Boiled (their debut song in 1978), cost only £3 to produce. Amazing, right! The jam was made using two synths, a tape recorder, and a mic. Within the first three months, the song sold about 3000 copies. Not a massive but worthy for a debut song that would later smash top hits four years later!
# 5 – Love Action (I Believe in Love)
Entering the top five songs by the Human League, we still can’t get enough of the 1981’s album, Dare. Ask a fan of the band and they will tell you that Love Action is all about what hands of a man and a machine can do when put together. The synth sounds in this song are the key driver of the song’s popularity. Thanks to the use of the pitch-to-voltage converter as well as the envelope shaper on the modular Roland synth that the band achieved this. Jo’s guitar skills were fed into the synth for shaping and triggering the sound. The result- a unique choppy synth patch enough to make the song a banger!
# 4 – Keep Feeling (Fascination)
Combining vocals from four members of a band is not the only genius to quite a skill to stage. However, not for The Human League with their hit single Keep Feeling. Released after the album Dare, the hit song made considerable steps and impact on the band’s music career. With the song being their last red/blue labeled single, it features Philip as the lead singer, with co-vocalists Susan and Joanne, and a rare touch of Jo’s vocals. The non-album single reached its peak position of number two in the UK charts and number eight on the Billboards.
# 3 – Mirror Man
While some people would consider taking some vacation to max their credit cards and enjoy life after a World Tour, this was not the case for The Human League. Evidence-Mirror Man, a song released to mark the celebration of Philip and Adrian Wright’s love for Motown Records. The tune in this jam demonstrates an adventurous streak that would have the band make great music without settling to some comfort following their past success.
# 2 – Human
Coming close to the top song by the Human League is a song that defies all odds. The song came at a time of ups and downs for the band. After massive production with major artists such as Janet Jackson, the band faced one of the hardest moments-another fallout with some members. This time it was Wright as well as Lewis and Jam over the song’s direction. However, the band stayed stronger to release Human, which proved to be the band’s biggest jam in the United States.
# 1 – Don’t You Want Me
Coming in as the number one song by the Human League is Don’t You Want Me, a single from the band’s third and most successful album, Dare. The lyrics to the hit song came from a reader on a photo story by Philip in a teen’s magazine. The song comes as a long-term banger among songs in the 80s thanks to the combination of its novel delivery and catchy melody. The song notably opened the music world to some great synth skills thanks to its melodic verses and chorus. Unbeatably, the song topped the charts in the UK and America for about six weeks making it worthy to be termed The Human League’s best song!
Top 10 Human League Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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