This was a no-brainer really. Last year’s entry into our Hall Of Fame was a toss-up between Kraftwerk (who ended up being entered) and this band. The band that practically invented SynthPop and in their decades long career have never once wavered from the path of electronic Pop music.
If you are at all into synthesizer music with a Pop edge then everything you listen to owes a debt to The Human League. Sure, the building blocks were being put in place by numerous musical movements in Europe (including The League’s own electronic experimentalism as part of the late ‘70’s scene in Sheffield, from the moment founders Martyn Ware and Ian Marsh recruited Philip Oakey to sing over their avant-garde soundscapes) but it took the disassembling of The Human League Mk1, the inclusion of the schoolgirls Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall, and a new band with the legendary Martin Rushent on production to allow all the pieces of the SynthPop puzzle to fall into place and one of the greatest albums of all time, ‘Dare!’ to be released. I consider ‘Dare!’ to be the first proper, and deliberate, SynthPop record made. Oh, I know there was music that came in the couple of years before, but it all had airs and graces of being something else. Whether Gary Numan’s happy fluke, John Foxx’s dark avant-garde, or Ultravox trying something new, they were, although creating awesome music, just finding their footing. The Human League were a proper SynthPop band. Unashamedly synth. Unashamedly Pop .
And Phil, with Susan and Joanne ever at his side, has never lost sight of what he wanted to make. Electronic Pop music. Moving with the times through the late ‘80’s Electro Soul of the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produced ‘Crash’, the Mid-‘90’s Pop-Trance of ‘Octopus’, to the current Electro sound of ‘Credo’ (on Wall Of Sound), The Human League have, while their early ‘80’s contemporaries morphed into AOR acts, always produced fresh electronic music. Their latest offerings roping in the likes of Aeroplane and Plastic Plates for reMix duties, another indication of the band’s continued relevance.
The music and career of The Human League inspire everything music related I do, most importantly this website. As far as I’m concerned that are the godfathers, the royal family, the Mr. Miyagis and the Yodas of ElectroPop, and deserve their place, no question, in the Hall Of Fame.
♫ The Human League – Love Action (I Believe In Love)
♫ The Human League – Empire State Human
♫ The Human League – Human
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