The Human League are an English synth-pop band formed in Sheffield in 1977. Initially an experimental electronic outfit, the group signed to Virgin Records in 1979 and later attained widespread commercial success with their third album Dare in 1981. The album contained four hit singles, including the UK/US number one hit “Don’t You Want Me”. The band received the Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough Act in 1982. Further hits followed throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, including “Mirror Man”, “(Keep Feeling) Fascination”, “The Lebanon”, “Human”, and “Tell Me When”.
The only constant band member since 1977 has been lead singer and songwriter Philip Oakey. Keyboard players Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh both left the band in 1980 to form Heaven 17. Under Oakey’s leadership, the Human League then evolved into a commercially successful New Pop band with a new line-up including female vocalists Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley. Since the mid-1990s, the band has essentially been a trio of Oakey, Catherall, and Sulley, with various sidemen.
Since 1978, the Human League have released nine studio albums, two remix albums, one live album, six EPs, thirty singles, and several compilation albums. They have had five albums and eight singles in the UK Top 10 and had sold more than twenty million records worldwide by 2010. As an early techno-pop act who received extensive MTV airplay they are regarded as one of the leading artists of the 1980s Second British Invasion of the US.
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