Thursday, August 7, 2014

"Don't You Want Me" by Human League

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  0940
Date:  03/06/1982
Debut:  86
Peak:  1 (3 weeks)
Weeks:  28
Genre:  Synthpop, New Wave

Pop Bits:  Martyn Ware and Craig Marsh initially form the synth-based band The Future. With little interest coming their way, they added non-professional vocalist Philip Oakey and became The Human League. They were signed to Virgin Records and issued a pair of albums in 1979 and 1980. The albums and singles didn't fare well and inner tensions on musical direction lead to the group being split. Ware and Marsh went off to form Heaven 17 while Oakey retained The Human League moniker and all that came with it - including debts and a contractual tour. Oakey found a couple of girls at a night club to dance and do vocals and set out on the road. After a rough tour, Oakey kept the girls on and fleshed out the band to start recording a new album. Their initial singles from what would be come the "Dare!" album were UK hits and the album shot to #1 when issued. The US didn't get a taste of the group until this single (the fourth one from the album in the UK) came out. It was a smash on both sides of the pond and it helped earn the group a Grammy nod for Best New Artist.

ReduxReview:  Smells like the 80s!! Oh yeah. I loved this song right off the bat. It just sounded so different with all the synths along with Oakey's otherworldly voice, yet it was basically just a pop tune. Once I got the album, I totally fell for the group. Even their look was fabulous. "Dare!" is a great album and remains one of my all-time favorites. Since the song really hit in the summer, I associate it with that season and I'll usually pull this disc out during that time of year for a listen. In fact, I had just pulled this disc off my shelf to listen to right before I found out this song was on the next chart to cover! Brilliant! Desert Island Disc? Check.


Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The song was initially recorded with a different synth arrangement, but producer Martin Rushent didn't like it. He remixed it with a softer, poppier sound much to the dislike of Oakey who then got the song buried as the last track on the album. When the label wanted a fourth single and chose this, Oakey was vehemently against it as he considered the song the weakest on the album and thought it would kill the progress they made with their previous hit singles. But as usually happens, the label won out and the song got issued and an iconic song from the 80s was born.  2) The song has been credited with being the first #1 single that used the famous Linn drum machine.


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