Pioneering British synth-pop group, founded in the late 1970s in Sheffield, England, by Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware. They took the name the Human League (after having been called The Future and The Dead Daughters) after Philip Oakey joined, who was followed by Adrian Wright as "director of visuals".

Their music of this time was more similar to Kraftwerk than to Soft Cell, and they toured in support of Siouxsie and the Banshees after their first single, Being Boiled.

In a bitter split in 1980 (Ware: "We've got the talent. They haven't."), Marsh and Ware left the group and founded the British Electric Foundation, and the Human League went in a more "pop" direction. Since Adrian Wright was not a musician, it was necessary for Oakey to recruit new members. Ian Burden joined on bass, with Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall added as singers. Jo Callis joined the group on synthesizers, and this lineup recorded Dare in 1981, whose Don't You Want Me? was a hit in the U.K. and the U.S.

The Human League released a series of more or less popular albums throughout the eighties, and kept at it with similar music into the nineties. By that time, of course, the synth-pop moment had passed, and the music went relatively unnoticed, but some of their later music is just as good as their earlier work. The band was still touring as of 1998.

Interest in the band has undergone a minor revival in recent years, and 2001 saw the release of Reproductions, a tribute album, with bands such as Momus, The Aluminum Group, and Future Bible Heroes covering their work.


Reproduction July 1979
Travelogue May 1980
Dare October 1981
Love & Dancing June 1982
Hysteria May 1984
Electric Dreams September 1984
Crash September 1986
Romantic? September 1990
Octopus January 1995
Secrets July 2001

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