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Trivia / The Human League

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  • Breakthrough Hit: Dare was their first mainstream success after several years as a cult band. As for specific songs, "The Sound of the Crowd" was their breakthrough in the U.K., and "Don't You Want Me" was the band's first hit in the U.S.
  • Executive Meddling: A fair few across the group's career, though it was also why "Don't You Want Me" was a single despite Phil Oakey's dislike of it.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Tapes of their earliest demos of Reproduction and Travelogue are impossible to find, as are recordings of their live shows from the 70s. The only compilation of early songs that exists is "Golden Hour of the Future", which was released in 2003 and includes just a few of their earlier songs.
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  • Late Export for You: "Toyota City" was first released as an exclusive for the Japanese version of the Holiday '80 EP, and due to the fan interest, was added to Travelogue, released a month later. However, for its Travelogue release it was edited two minutes shorter for time reasons. The single "Only After Dark" does include the original long version as a b-side, but this received such poor distribution that importing the Japanese EP is more common.
  • Name's the Same:
    • No, "Fascination" is not the David Bowie song off of Young Americans.
    • And No, "Hard Times" is neither the Paramore song nor the Jetzons song that served as the basis for the IceCap Zone theme, despite being the same genre in both cases.
  • No Export for You: America and Canada got an EP called Fascination! that rounded up a few tracks that were released in the UK, though it contains an early version of "I Love You Too Much" that is arranged differently to the one that would appear on Hysteria. This was this trope for around 30 years until it was eventually released on a special edition of Dare in the 2000s.
  • Revival by Commercialization: "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" appeared in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and raised the track's popularity after languishing as an obscure non-LP single for years. For that matter, it also revived interest in the band as well, who had fizzled out quite hard after the massive success of Dare!
    • Their older single, "Empire State Human" also played a part in this, when it was featured in Lollipop Chainsaw
  • Troubled Production: Their third album Dare had a much more troublesome production than the band's previous two albums, which were flops.
    • The band's two lead members, Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, left the band in 1980 and formed a new group, Heaven 17. The press pretty much declared The Human League dead right there, as the only two members left were the ones that they perceived had the least to do with the band's musical direction: vocalist Philip Oakey and visual artist Adrian Wright. To add insult to injury, the band was already in crippling debt and Virgin Records was looking to drop them, but they still owed another album to the label.
    • Oakey recruited two local teenage singers, Susanne Sulley and Joanne Catherall, to sing for the group and recruited keyboardist Ian Burden to round out the band. Oakey went on tour with this lineup, with Sulley and Catherall not intended as full members of the group. The tour was poorly received by the band's old fans, who heckled them at pretty much every concert. However, Oakey and Wright were so impressed by Sulley and Catherall's professionalism, that they made them full band members.
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    • When the new iteration of The Human League arrived at the studio to record their new album, they discovered that the artist in the adjacent studio was, of all bands, Heaven 17. The toxic atmosphere between the two bands led The Human League to book a new studio outside of their native Sheffield, which resulted in the still-underage Sulley and Catheral having to frequently take bus trips back to the city to attend school.
    • While still working on the album, the band issued the single "The Sound of the Crowd", which Virgin reluctantly promoted, only to see it become their first Top 40 hit. Virgin then asked for two more singles, again before the album was even finished, causing some stress with the recording process. Virgin's idea paid off: "Love Action (I Believe In Love)" and "Open Your Heart" were even bigger hits, both reaching the Top 10. Around this time, guitarist Jo Callis was added as the band's sixth and final member late in to the album's production.
    • When Dare was finally released in October 1981, it was a massive smash for both the band and label...but Virgin still wanted one more single, and picked "Don't You Want Me". Oakey begged them not to release it because he thought it was the worst song on the album. They rebuffed him, and he was sure the song would embarrass the band and ruin the career they worked so hard to rebuild. He didn't need to worry: In a rare case of Executive Meddling gone right, "Don't You Wan't Me" was the biggest of all of their hits, a #1 in both the UK and the US, and one of the most popular and iconic songs of the 80s New Wave movement.


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