you want me baby? Don't you want me? Woh woh woh woh..."
times can change.
once the above refrain was the tag line of an electronic, synth
led movement in the 1980's, a melancholy plea from the heart, it
now exists more obviously as a line from a series of car adverts
with a Brummie whose wife won't let him back in the car.
not let this parody fool you. 'Don't You Want Me?" is a classic.
not Bohemian Rhapsody, certainly not something Bach would lay claim
to but as a dance floor filler at any good 80's night it rivals
Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet for shameless kitsch.
Oakey: Androgynous pop
get to this point though, the band had to endure a number of hardships,
name changes, splits and dodgy titles (debut single "Being Boiled").
members Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware, both computer operators
from Sheffield, originally found little success with their brand
of atmospheric sounds but upon hiring Phil Oakey as a singer the
band found both single and album success with 1980 LP Travelogue.
this the heyday of the band was yet to come and as Ware and Marsh
soon left it came in the shape of two young and glamorous female
dancers, Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall.
were recruited from the Crazy Daisy disco dancefloor in the town.
The band had to endure a number of hardships, name changes,
splits and dodgy titles (debut single "Being Boiled").
lesson? If you're cool, you can dance and you want to be famous,
try to be at your best when a local synth pop group have just lost
two members and are in the same club as you. No fuss, no frills,
no Simon Cowell.
a new look, a more poppy sound and for the first time an instrument
other than a synthesiser (Ian Burden on bass) the Human League found
a new plateau for their talents.
UK top 5 single came in the form of Love Action. This was followed
by the album Dare and of course the now omnipresent 'Don't You Want
Me?" which reached the holy grail of number 1.
was to be the League's lasting legacy, although some would argue
that they were among a small number of bands whose influence made
the 80's the musical wasteland that it was.
more albums surfaced in the next 10 years but none really reached
the peaks of Dare - their sound had switched from pioneering to
veteran and until their appearance on an 80's revival tour with
ABC and Culture Club they had slipped off pop's radar somewhat.
nostalgia trip provided a deserved Indian summer for the band. Instead
of trying to keep up with the latest effects the 1998 tour gave
them a platform on which cheese, androgyny and excessive keyboards
were not only accepted but necessary.