On my way home from work yesterday I dialed up tracks by The Human League for my listening pleasure. I haven’t listened to The Human League in a long while, partly because I never quite got over being snubbed by them years and years ago at a concert in Saratoga Springs when I asked if we could meet them backstage (they shunned my Program Director powers of radio!). However, I decided that they had punished for long enough and I would give their classic stuff a listen again.
I dialed up “Dare” and its instrumental counterpart, “Love And Dancing” on my iPhone. It made my commute home quite enjoyable. While the Human League was ground breaking with their use of synthesizers back in the day, I think a good portion of the success of “Dare” can be attributed to producer Martin Rushent. After a nasty conversation between him and Susan Sulley1 during the production of their follow-up to “Dare”, “Hysteria!”, Martin left the studio and never returned to work with The Human League, which probably explains some of their uneven success after “Dare”.
One of the things that I have always enjoyed about The Human League is that, like me, lead singer Phil Oakey is a baritone and because of this, I can sing along with his vocals without having to tighten my innards to the point of having my jewels up over my stomach. I think Phil’s natural range was ignored by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis during the recording of “Crash” and that’s why that album just feels weird to your average Human League connoisseur.
My fascination (ha! get it?) with The Human League continued into the evening last and I dialed up some of their videos on YouTube. I was particularly intrigued in the video of their most famous hit, “Don’t You Want Me”. Labeled the “uncensored”/”director’s cut” version of the famous video, the astute observer will notice that the ending of the video is completely different and a bit darker in tone.
It also explains why the mainstream version of the video has rather rough edits in the audio and weird slow motion shots near the end of the video.
Here’s the Director’s Cut of “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League. Things are different starting around 2:30. For the life of me I have no idea why it would be considered necessary for censorship other than the presence of an extra gun or two.
1 Susan and Joanne grew very impatient with the time it was taking to sequence a drum track for one of the tracks on “Hysteria!”. Susan made an off-the-cuff insulting remark to Martin and Martin decided that he had had it with the group. I guess no one realized that it was Martin’s precision on “Dare” that made it the famous album that it is, which one could safely say is one of the best albums of the 1980s. Quick aside, Susan’s vocals in “Don’t You Want Me” took over 65 takes to record. She’s never been one for vocal precision.