Well aren’t those December days just rushing past, this is the sixth day of my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar and therefore it must be (a bit of an easy one this) December 6th. So go ahead put your fingernail in the frame of the little cardboard door and pull it open carefully. Todays song takes us back to Christmas 1981. It’s those good Sheffield folk, the Human League with a little ditty called “Don’t You Want Me”. It was number one for five weeks in total and became the 30th different UK Christmas number one.
It was the band’s only UK number one and also reached the top in the US charts as well. They went on to have a further number one in the US with the excellent “Human” in 1986. “Don’t You Want Me” has become a bit af a party staple, I certainly play it at pretty much every mobile DJ gig I ever do. Yet another 80s song that I like, what’s up with me? The 80s was generally crap, wasn’t it?
The band released their first single, “Being Boiled” in June 1978. The NME review was quite positive, although guest reviewer John Lydon dismissed the band as trendy hippies. Apparently David Bowie saw them play live at the end of 1978 and allegedly claimed that he had ‘seen the future of Pop Music’. They were even name checked in the Undertones song “My Perfect Cousin” with the line; ‘His mother bought him a synthesiser/Got the Human League in to advise her/Now he’s making lots of noise/Playing along with the art school boys’ An obvious dig at arty music too.
The band originally included Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh who both left in 1980 following a big bust up with Phil Oakey. They went on to form Heaven 17 and thanks to the Human League’s Virgin contract Marsh and Ware also received 1% of royalties from the next League album, which was ‘Dare’ home of “Don’t You Want Me”
The song has been covered a few times, including versions by Alcazar, Mandy Smith and the Farm. Click on the artist names to see and hear those versions.
Enjoy the original Human league video for the song below.
And finally here they are performing the song on Top Of The Pops