The Human League

The Human League

Electronic band from Sheffield, England. Formed in 1977 by Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh. Originally called 'The Future', but changed their name to 'The Human League' in 1978 with the addition of vocalist Phil Oakey and the release of the single "Being Boiled".

This original lineup lasted until 1980, after which Ware and Marsh left to form Heaven 17. Oakey kept the band name and added female vocalists, and it is this incarnation that gained widespread popularity.

Mainly known for a synthesizer based pop sound, in particular the song “Don’t You Want Me”.

See also 'The League Unlimited Orchestra'.

The Human League Discography Tracks


The Human League Reproduction (Album) Virgin Portugal 1979 Sell This Version
The Human League Travelogue (Album) Virgin UK 1980 Sell This Version
The Human League Dare (Album) Virgin UK 1981 Sell This Version
The Human League Fascination! (MiniAlbum, Album) Virgin Canada 1983 Sell This Version
The Human League Hysteria (Album) Virgin Portugal 1984 Sell This Version
The Human League Crash (Album) Virgin Japan 1986 Sell This Version
RL 4-9 Human League* / Martika Human League* / Martika - Greatest Hits / Martika(LP, Transcription) AFRTS, Armed Forces Radio And Television Service, United States Department Of Defense RL 4-9 US 1988 Sell This Version
The Human League Romantic? (Album) Virgin, Virgin, Virgin Greece 1990 Sell This Version
The Human League Octopus (Album) EastWest Chile 1995 Sell This Version
PRCD 9185-2 The Human League Interview - 60 Minutes Of Conversation And Music(CD, Promo) EastWest PRCD 9185-2 US 1995 Sell This Version
Human League* Secrets (Album) Papillon Records, Roadrunner Arcade Music, Roadrunner Arcade Music Brazil 2001 Sell This Version
The Future (3) And The Human League The Future (3) And The Human League - The Golden Hour Of The Future (Comp) Black Melody, Black Melody UK 2002 Sell This Version
The Human League Live At The Dome (Album) Secret Records Limited US 2004 Sell This Version
The Human League Credo (Album) Wall Of Sound, Wall Of Sound Hong Kong 2011 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

The Human League Being Boiled / Circus Of Death (Single, Maxi) Fast Product UK 1978 Sell This Version
The Human League Empire State Human (Single) Virgin Australia 1979 Sell This Version
VS 1104 The Human League A.K.A. The Men The Human League A.K.A. The Men - I Don't Depend On You(7", Single) Virgin VS 1104 Canada 1979 Sell This Version
The Human League The Dignity Of Labour Pts.1-4 Fast Product Australia 1979 Sell This Version
The Human League Holiday '80 (Single) Virgin UK 1980 Sell This Version
The Human League Rock 'N' Roll (Single) Virgin Australia 1980 Sell This Version
The Human League Only After Dark (Single) Virgin, Virgin Germany 1980 Sell This Version
The Human League Love Action (I Believe In Love) (Single, Maxi) Virgin US 1981 Sell This Version
The Human League The Sound Of The Crowd (Single, EP) Virgin, Virgin Australia 1981 Sell This Version
The Human League Boys And Girls (Single) Virgin UK 1981 Sell This Version
The Human League Don't You Want Me (Single, Maxi) Virgin, Virgin South Africa 1981 Sell This Version

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January 19, 2017
One of the highlights of British Synth Pop is in fact not simple synthesizer melodies, but attention to vocal harmonies. This is especially true for the Human League. The charm of their first hit, 1981's "Don't You Want Me," lies mostly in its unforgettable, highly emotional narrative delivered through deadpan vocals that harmonize like the Beach Boys. Even when the subject matter was desperate, their male and female vocal exchanges always maintained either a New Romantic cool or the emotional distance of a Godard character. But this is not to give their instrumentation short shrift: at their peak, their driving basslines, post-Disco beats and keyboard symphonics were unmatched and a perfect match for their vocal depth.


March 11, 2016
"We ALL wanted to be Donna Summer !", ...
... Phil Oakey on his and most '80's Pop Stars 'inspiration'.


May 28, 2002
Continuing from Mr. Tech above...Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware after leaving Oakey and Wright formed B.E.F., or, The British Electric Foundation.
If you have the Japanese import of the Holiday '80 EP on 12" vinyl, it has a large picture label of the original Human League, Oakey, Wright, Marsh and Ware.
B.E.F. issued an album on cassette tape only called 'Music for Stowaways' for their first release, this was totally instrumental, and this is where the classic 'We Don't Need This (Fascist Groove Thang)' first appeared as an instrumental. Next came a vinyl version of this album but with a minor track change, 'A Baby Called Billy' (some dispute still rages as to whether this has any reference to Billy Mackenzie of the Associates who later recorded three tracks with Marsh and Ware under the B.E.F. moniker), featured on the vinyl version only. The vinyl record was sought after at the time as it was marketed for 'export only', but I remember seeing loads of these at the time. B.E.F. later produced two compilation albums, nine years apart I might add, with various guest vocalists appearing. The first early 80's album was more in tune with the 80's sound, but the early 90's album seemed to be hinting towards that Level 42 type Funk Fusion sound. All great stuff though. The first compilation album was also released as a 7" box set, which is a very nice collectors piece.
I have just burned a very nice CD-R with complete original artwork of the first 'Music for...' releases which include all the early tracks.
On a final note, March and Ware also produced some songs for solo members of the 80's dance troup, Hot Gossip. Most of these seem to be early Human League covers, such as, 'I Don't Depend on You' (originally recorded by The Men, but was the first Human League line-up). These productions along with many other's can easily be found on ebay and


March 25, 2002
Most people remember 'the League' from their successful post 1981 synth-pop, but credit must be given to the original line-up (before Ian Craig Marsh and Adrian Ware split to form 'Heaven 17'). Although not commercially as successful, the first two albums, 'Travelogue' and 'Reproduction' were considerably darker. Along with Gary Newman, they were among the very first (UK) artists to produce TOTALLY electronic music.

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