"You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar when I met you..." As patently false as the subject matter behind The Human League's hypnotic "Don't You Want Me" is, it was a massive, out-of-nowhere smash for a band that came out of a troubling state of flux with a renewed energy unlike few others. The fruits of that period, the 1981 album Dare, is coming back into U.K. stores this spring as a deluxe title with a host of non-LP goodies over two discs.
The Human League started out as an avant-garde all-male group anchored around Martyn Ware, Craig Marsh, Philip Adrian Wright and Phil Oakey. Their first single, 1978's "Being Boiled" was a surprise Top 10 U.K. hit, but subsequent works did not find the same audience. Amid weakening support from the band's label Virgin Records and clashes over the band's sonic direction, the band broke apart, with Ware and Marsh forming Heaven 17 and Oakey and Wright left to do something - anything - for the League's winter 1980 tour of Europe.
Against all odds, the duo recruited synth player Ian Burden to flesh out the group's live sound and found Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall, a pair of untrained best friends spending a night out at the Crazy Daisy Nightclub in Sheffield, to provide vocals for the group. (Sulley and Catherall, both teenagers, needed parental permission to embark on the tour.) Despite the skepticism of initial reviews, things worked out well enough for the quintet to continue as a band in the studio; first single "Boys and Girls" was a moderate success; upon moving to a new studio (away from recording sessions by Heaven 17) and adding guitarist Jo Callis of The Rezillos to the lineup, the first single from those sessions, "Love Action (I Believe in Love)" was a Top 10 hit.
But The Human League really went into the stratosphere with a track that Oakey initially hated. The fictional tale of a musical Svengali whose protegée decides to move on from him professionally and romantically was so disliked by Oakey, he dumped it onto the end of the Dare LP. But "Don't You Want Me" was the band's first and only chart-topper for Christmas of 1981 and became a major hit across the globe.
The deluxe edition of Dare features the 2002 remaster of the original album and various, newly-remastered 12" remixes and instrumentals on the first disc. The bonus disc, meanwhile, collects nearly all of the material on stopgap album Fascination!, which featured a handful of just as successful non-LP singles in "Mirror Man" and "(Keep Feeling) Fascination."
Don't you want this, baby? If so, March 26 is the day to get it. Hit the jump to check a pre-order link and track annotations.
The Human League, Dare: Deluxe Edition (Virgin/EMI, 2012)
Disc 1: Original LP and bonus material
- The Things That Dreams Are Made Of
- Open Your Heart
- The Sound of the Crowd
- Do or Die
- Get Carter
- I Am the Law
- Love Action (I Believe in Love)
- Don't You Want Me
- The Sound of the Crowd (12'' Version)
- Don't You Want Me (Extended Dance Mix)
- The Sound of the Crowd (Instrumental)
- Hard Times/Love Action (I Believe in Love) (Instrumental)
- Open Your Heart/Non-Stop (Instrumental)
- Don't You Want Me (Alternative Version)
Disc 2: Non-LP single material
- Mirror Man
- You Remind Me of Gold
- (Keep Feeling) Fascination (Extended Version)
- I Love You Too Much
- Mirror Man (Extended Version)
- You Remind Me of Gold (Instrumental)
- (Keep Feeling) Fascination (Improvisation)
- I Love You Too Much (Dub Version)
- Total Panic
Disc 1, Tracks 1-10 released as Virgin LP V-2192, 1981
Disc 1, Tracks 11 and 13 released as Virgin 12" VS 416-12, 1981
Disc 1, Track 12 was the B-side to Virgin 12" VS 466-12, 1982
Disc 1, Track 14 was the B-side to Virgin 12" VS 435-12, 1981
Disc 1, Track 15 was the B-side to Virgin 12" VS 453-12, 1981
Disc 1, Track 16 exact origin unknown
Disc 2, Tracks 1-4 and 7 released on Fasination! EP - Virgin HL-1, 1983
- Disc 2, Tracks 1-2 released as Virgin single VS 522, 1982
- Disc 2, Tracks 3 and 7 released as Virgin 12" VS 569-12, 1983
Disc 2, Tracks 5-6 released on Virgin 12" VS 522-12, 1982
Disc 2, Track 8 was a bonus track to the digital release of Fascination! (Virgin, 2008)
Disc 2, Track 9 was the B-side to Virgin single VS 569, 1983