Music Matters - with John Murray

John Murray
John Murray
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IN 1981, after only cult following, Human League released a groundbreaking album which they would still be featuring over 30 years later.

Some fans claimed to have bought ‘Being Boiled’ and ‘Empire State Human’ even before their re-release but it was not until the original band split with one half becoming Heaven 17 and Phil Oakey absorbing debts but having the insight to remain with the vision helped by the emerging electro hit sounds of Gary Numan and his Tubeway Army.

Fronting the band with two schoolgirls he saw dancing in a club, Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley, he engaged legendary producer Martin Rushent and added Edinburgh based Jo Callis from The Rezillos. The resultant album newly remastered and issued as a double box set this week was Dare (EMI).

‘Open Your Heart’, ‘Love Action’ and ‘The Sound Of The Crowd’ all grew support helped by Rushent’s 12” mixes created especially for the dance floor. The album was released in the autumn of ’81 and topped the chart eventually becoming triple platinum but the biggest was yet to come. Considered by Oakey as the weakest track on the album, ‘Don’t You Want Me’ became the fourth single from the album in December of that year and became colossal selling millions and even hitting No.1 in the US. Wrongly thought to be autobiographical (the girls were at school and could not be working in a cocktail bar) the single has been a constant now for years and a 1995 remix charted all over again. This box set has the 2002 master, the seven minute extended dance remix and a brand new 2012 remaster. As a US hit in the summer of 1982 several tracks were released exclusively for that market and they now appear in this set along with postcards and a 14 page booklet of notes.

The follow up singles ‘Mirror Man’ and ‘(Keep Feeling) Fascination’ are here in various forms reminding me of when Jo Callis brought in a cassette of the latter to my radio show of the time on Radio Forth allowing me the first airplay anywhere.