The Human League is comprised of Sheffield trio Philip Oakey, Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall.
Probably the band that best typifies the sound that defined the eighties, The Human League have secured their place in history by taking experiment sounds into the realm of pop. Paving the way for modern dance music genres such as electro and dubstep.
To date, they have sold 20 million records worldwide topping the charts with four Top 10 UK albums and eight Top 10 singles. Having worldwide recognition, they have also achieved two Number 1 singles in the US and massive sales elsewhere.
Their singles include (Keep Feeling) Fascination
, Mirror Man
and Love Action (I Believe In Love)
Originally started by Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh. Previously, the pair had been performing experimental electronic music under the name The Future. Having failed to attract label interest due to the songs lacking a distinct hook, they decided they needed to head in a new direction. Ware recruited old school friend Philip Oakey to perform on vocals. With the new addition to the group, and after pinching the name from a board game, The Human League were formed in 1977.
The pioneers in synthpop were amongst the first to show the world the radical possibilities of a new avant-garde sound. David Bowie described them as “the sound of the future” after seeing them play in 1979.
Although the band enjoyed some success in the first two years, having signed to Virgin Records, their development led to a growth in pressure. Finding themselves pitted against Gary Numan due to their use of synths and samplers, but not matching him in terms of commercial success the band became at odds with each other to which direction the music should take leading to infighting within the band.
After an initial period of schism, with two different bands both using the name, Marsh and Ware decided to start new project Heaven 17 with Oakey continuing under the original title of The Human League.
Keen to pursue a sound that he hoped would be more commercially successful, in 1980 Oakey recruited new members Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall to explore the potential of female vocals which he hoped would be more radio friendly. The new editions to the band proved to be a winning move as the change coincided with the rapid emergence of New Wave, bombastic pop electronica that has come to define the eighties.
The hard chased commercial success finally arrived with the release of 1981 album Dare
. It reached Number 1 in the album charts in the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Sweden, Number 3 in the US and sold into the top 20 of many other countries. From the album came the single Don’t You Want Me
which became the British Christmas Number 1 for that year.
The Human League continued to grow attaining colossal chart success and playing to an ever larger audience.
In May they have been incited to play at the Uttoxeter Racecourse and the Royal Windsor Racecourse. Tickets are on sale right now.
The summer of 2016 will be extremely exciting, seeing The Human League making appearances at various festivals including Let’s Rock The Moor! at Marsh Meadow in Cookham, Let’s Rock Exeter! held in Powderham Castle and the ever popular Splendour Festival at Wollaton Park in Nottingham.
November and December sees them hitting the road for A Very British Synthesizer Group Tour 2016
. An extensive tour with many dates, including Theatre, Venue Cymru in Llandudno, Windsor Hall in Bournemouth, St David’s Hall in Cardiff, Cliff’s Pavilion in Southend On Sea, De Montford Hall in Leicester, Colston Hall in Bristol, O2 Apollo Manchester, Steel Hall at Sheffield Arena, Newcastle City Hall, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Brighton Centre, Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham, Plymouth Pavilions, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, York Barbican and the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham.
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