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The Human League

The Human League

Pioneers in the UK's new wave movement, The Human League were formed in 1977 by synth duo Martyn Ware and Ian Marsh. Following a short stint as The Future, and joined by Philip Oakley and Adrian Wright, The Human League released their debut Being Boiled single in 1978. After a tour alongside Siouxsie & The Banshees and an instrumental EP, the band unveiled their full-length debut Reproduction and follow-up Travelogue before both founding members Ware and Marsh departed the band citing creative differences.

With Wright and Oakley remaining, they enlisted bassist Ian Burden alongside vocalists Susan Ann Sully and Joanne Catherall. Although Burden would go on to depart the band in 1987, that period would see The Human League release Dare, their defining 1981 record that spawned the new wave staple Don't You Want Me, alongside fellow UK top ten singles Love Action (I Believe In Love) and Open Your Heart.

Hitting No.1 on the UK album chart and going triple Platinum, Dare led the way for The Human League's synth domination of the '80s. The band went on to release Hysteria in 1984 and Crash in 1986. Both their sound and aesthetic heavily influenced the electronic scene, acting as catalysts for the growth of club culture for years to come. During a short hiatus from the band, Oakley also recorded a collaborative LP with producer Giorgio Moroder which included the track Together In Electric Dreams.

With Burden no longer part of The Human League, Oakley, Sully and Catherall released Romantic? in 1990, their final album on longtime label Virgin. Octopus came out on EastWest in 1995, marking their return to the top ten on the UK album chart and securing Gold certification. Two more studio albums followed; 2001's Secrets (inspired by the reemergence of synth in popular music), and Credo a full decade later. The Human League also released a number of compilation, live and rarity albums, cementing their legacy well into the the millennium with high profile tours and festival appearances.

In 2020, The Human League announced a 40 year anniversary tour for Dare, joined on the road by Altered Image and Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins, and promising a performance of the album in its entirety alongside select hits from across their catalogue.

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