The Human League are the past, present and future of pop music.
The story of The Human League encompasses three very distinct line-ups, all of which have their merits but one thing unites them; The Human League are A Very British Synthesizer Group. Yes, ‘group’ not band because those kinds of distinctions are important.
They’re a group who have sold millions of records, inspired two generations of artists, written some of the all-time great classic pop songs, had #1’s across Europe and the US and yet still remain fiercely independent.
When attempting to describe The Human League their one-time manager, Bob Last, puts it best “Pop music is a kind of lightning conductor for what’s going on, when it’s at its most exciting it beats everything else; it beats film, beats books and beats TV. These magical moments when it pulls something out of the ether, out of what’s going on in everyone’s head and everyone’s lives and focuses it. That’s what pop does at its best and that’s what The Human League did”.
A Very British Synthesizer Group is a sound and vision anthology featuring all the hits. The 2CD Deluxe Edition and the Deluxe 3LP box set versions cover the entire history of the group in 30 songs including 7 previously unreleased DJ edits from the earliest incarnation to the phenomenon that was Dare and all that happened in its wake. The incredibly successful left turn of working with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the return to being a glorious live act and the glamorous robotic pop of 2011’s Credo album. Both packages include a 20-page booklet featuring a new essay by David Buckley plus rare memorabilia and photographs. The 3LP box set includes special vinyl discs that were mastered at half-speed at Abbey Road Studios.
As anyone who has access to YouTube or watched Top of the Pops and Wogan in the 80’s knows, The Human League’s music was only part of the story.
A Very British Synthesizer Group features the distinctive artwork of acclaimed Sheffield artist Pete McKee who says of the group “The Human League’s look was totally unique and innovative and it also provided one of those jaw dropping moments on Top of the Pops that made your Dad angry, but inspired you. The League were unashamedly a pop band but also had that edge that made them credible, The girls were no-nonsense working class lasses who became fashion icons in their own right, make up, hair and clothes were imitated in night clubs and youth clubs across the country but few boys dared to copy Phil’s hair and stiletto heels. It was a pleasure to work on the artwork for this fantastic anthology. I wanted to capture the League as the style and fashion icons who had such an impact on so many of us during the 80’s.”
The last word on The Human League goes to Susan Ann Sulley from the group ‘People think pop music is X Factor and we’re still hankering after a Roxy-Bowie-Donna Summer-Chic version of pop. We don’t fit in. There are three of us, two of whom have never written a song and are pretty average singers, plus we’ve got a lead singer who doesn’t consider himself a singer at all and can’t play any instruments very well. And yet we still think of ourselves as a pop group. If a market research group got hold of us, they’d change absolutely everything. We shouldn’t have gone on as long as we have – we should have “gone rock” by now, like Depeche Mode, Simple Minds and U2 did. But we’re still a pop group.’