A Young Person’s Guide To: The Human League – Fascination! US EP

the hunman league - fascination US EP cover

A&M Records ‎| US | EP | 1983 | SP-12501

The Human League: Fascination! US EP [1983]

  1. [Keep Feeling] Fascination [extended] 4:56
  2. Mirror Man 3:48
  3. Hard Times 4:54
  4. I Love You Too Much [version 1] 3:18
  5. You Remind Me Of Gold 3:35
  6. [Keep Feeling] Fascination [improvisation] 6:12

I realized by 1981 that US record labels hated loose singles. In the American record industry, singles were only calling cards to sell more profitable albums. Thus a pair of non-LP UK singles by The Jam, would be bundled and sold as a five track US 12″ EP. Or the singles that The Pretenders put out in the gulf between albums one and two would get the same treatment. Thus it came to pass that The Human League, who were dealing badly with the pressure of hitting number one everywhere in the modern world with “Don’t Yo Want Me” found themselves foundering to make that all important follow up album to “Dare.”

the human league - mirror man UK 12" cover

Virgin ‎| UK | 12″ | 1982 | VS522-12

The Human League: Mirror Man UK 12″ [1982]

  1. Mirror Man [[extended] 4:21
  2. You Remind Me Of Gold 3:36
  3. You Remind Me Of Gold [instrumental] 3:56

1982 had brought the “Mirror Man” single in the UK and while it had made a reasonably successful follow up at the number two UK slot, A+M, their US label wanted it only with an album to sell on the back of it. So America waited until 1983 to issue the “Fascination!” EP with the 7″ version of the A-side and the vocal B-side. “Mirror Man” was a shimmery slice of Martin Rushent-produced synthpop that was moving away from the more-Kraftwerk-like “Dare” sound to something more redolent of Northern Soul.

The rhythms were certainly Tamla-Motown influenced. When researching the UK release [which I never owned] I saw that the 12″ of “Mirror Man” had an extended mix and a dub B-side on it which I’ve never heard. Considering how in early 1982 I was all about The Human League, why have I never gotten a copy of this? I certainly collected all of their previous UK 12″ singles.

The B-side was “You Remind Me Of Gold;” a nice throwback to the earlier, off-kilter Human League sound. The squelchy lead synth and minor key string synths would be the last time that the band ever sounded this way. It really sounded like a track dating back to the “Boys + Girls” era of the band. I would not be surprised if that were the case, since we now know that the band were struggling with writing material after succeeding beyond their wildest dreams with “Dare.”

the human league - love action UK 12" single cover

Virgin ‎| UK | 12″ | 1981 | VS435-12

The Human League: Love Action UK 12″ [1981]

  1. Hard Times/Love Action [I Believe In Love] 10:09
  2. Hard Times/Love Action [instrumentals] 11:10

Amazingly, the “Fascination!” EP was the first US release of the Booker T influenced instrumental “Hard Times” which we first heard on the A-side of the “Love Action” 12″ UK single. If we had been reading the tea leaves correctly at the time, this seeming outlier was clearly pointing to the soul music influence that  The Human League would have in their immediate post-“Dare” sound. The longer dub version of “Hard Times” did show up earlier in America as the first track on the “League Unlimited Orchestra” remix album.

the human league - keep feeling faascination UK 12" single cover

Virgin ‎| UK \ 12″ | 1983 | VS569-12

The Human League: Fascination UK 12″ [1983]

  1. [Keep Feeling] Fascination (Extended Version) 5:00
  2. [Keep Feeling] Fascination (Improvisation) 6:15

Once the band released “Fascination” in the UK, A+M didn’t waste any time in getting the single out in America along with the “Fascination!” EP. The single repeated the UK #2 placing of “Mirror Man” and in America, the solid #8 the song hit on the charts insured that The Human League would never be a one-hit wonder. Both sides of the UK 12″ were in the US EP, but there was no commensurate US 12″ single. In The States, the “Fascination” EP functioned as the very generous 12″ single version.

I always thought that the call and response vocals between the ladies and the deep baritone of Phil Oakey singing “hey, hey, hey, hey” owed everything to Sly + The Family Stone but I can’t remember which of their songs that this felt “sampled” from. The brash synth horns were way over the top and the “Improvisation” instrumental dub mix was a Martin Rushent specialty. The A-side was remixed by Chris Thomas for the 7″/12″ mix who would be taking over the reins from Rushent once he famously fell out with The League over their direction for a follow up.

the human league - keep feeling faascination US 7" single cover

A&M Records ‎| US | 7″ | 1983 | AM-2547

The Human League: Fascination US 7″ [1983]

  1. [Keep Feeling] Fascination [7″ remix] 3:43
  2. Total Panic 3:29

Strangely enough, the “Fascination” 7″ [identical in the US/UK] had the hit mix of the song which US fans had to buy on 7″ to get, so that’s what I did. The real pull, though, was the instrumental non-LP B-side; “Total Panic.” <flash forward five years>

the human league - fascination UK CD3 cover

Virgin ‎| UK | CD3 | 1988 | CDT24

The Human League: Fascination UK CD3 [1988]

  1. [Keep Feeling] Fascination (Extended Version) 5:00
  2. [Keep Feeling] Fascination (Improvisation) 6:15
  3. Total Panic 3:29

In 1988, Virgin Records had their program of re-issuing their 12″ singles of the last eight years on the delightful CD3 format. I snatched up a lot of bands I collected in this program. The “Fascination” 12″ and 7″ B-side first hit the silver disc here and I was happy to get not only the A-side but also “Total Panic” on CD.The title of which may have been an oblique comment on the behind the scenes conditions between Rushent and the band. But the ace producer had one more card up his sleeve. <flash backward back to 1983>

US human league fascination EP hype sticker

One day I need to start a hype sticker blog…

I suspect that the US only “Fascination!” EP found a brisk trade as an item imported into the UK because that EP was only sold in North America in 1983 and it contained a new song from the aborted “Dare” follow up sessions as produced by Martin Rushent. “I Love You Too Much” had complex Linn drum programming by Rushent and featured bass guitar from Ian Burden as had the “Fascination” single. It still had the sparkle we remembered from “Dare” with the kinetic synths having interplay with the Linn drum.

When I heard the version as produced by Chris Thomas and Hugh Padgham on “Hysteria” I was shocked to hear the difference. Even though Rushent was credited for drum programming, it sounded like the scalpel had been taken to his beats. The whole song was stripped back and minimal with the bass given more prominence and the synths diminished. Even the vocal production lacked bite in comparison.

the human league - dare deluxe remaster UK 2xCD cover

Virgin ‎| UK | 2xCD | 2012 | CDVD 2192

The Human League: Dare DLX RM UK 2xCD [2012]

Disc 1 – Dare + bonus tracks

  1. The Things That Dreams Are Made Of
  2. Open Your Heart
  3. The Sound Of The Crowd
  4. Darkness
  5. Do Or Die
  6. Get Carter
  7. I Am The Law
  8. Seconds
  9. Love Action (I Believe In Love)
  10. Don’t You Want Me
  11. The Sound Of The Crowd (12″ Version)
  12. Don’t You Want Me (Extended Dance Mix)
  13. The Sound Of The Crowd (Instrumental)
  14. Open Your Heart / Non-Stop (Instrumentals)
  15. Don’t You Want Me (Alternative Version)

Disc 2 – Fascination +

  1. Hard Times / Love Action [I Believe In Love] [Instrumental] 11:08
  2. Mirror Man 3:51
  3. You Remind Me Of Gold 3:38
  4. (Keep Feeling) Fascination [Extended Version] 4:59
  5. I Love You Too Much 3:20
  6. Mirror Man [Extended Version] 4:23
  7. You Remind Me Of Gold [Instrumental] 3:54
  8. (Keep Feeling) Fascination [Improvisation] 6:15
  9. I Love You Too Much [Dub Version] 5:53
  10. Total Panic 3:29

The “Fascination!” North American EP was a temporary stopgap measure that counted as an album in America and Canada and managed to spawn two top 40 singles; justifying A+M’s hand in making it happen. After “Fascination” went top 10, “Mirror Man” was released as an American single over half a year later. Well, it had worked once with “Don’t You Want Me,” but the magic only went as far as number 33 in the US Hot 100. About what the tepid song merited, really. The “Fascination!” EP remained a North American phenomenon from 1983 until the 2012 DLX RM of “Dare” for England included an enhanced “Fascination!” EP as a second CD.

It had the original production of “I Love You Too Much” and both versions of “Mirror Man” as well as “Total Panic.” And for good measure the dub B-side of the “Love Action” 12″ was included in full for anyone who didn’t have “League Unlimited Orchestra” on CD. and best of all, the dub mix of “You Remind Me Of Gold”‘ which was previously unreleased. This was a $12 Amazon item in 2012 [when I still bought from Amazon] but is scraping $40-50 [or higher] now. I should probably source one of these before they get much more expensive but if I don’t, I’ll live. Somehow.

the human league - fascination Japan CD cover

Universal Music ‎| JAPAN | CD | 2015 | UICY-77543

The Human League: Fascination! JPN CD [2015]

  1. Hard Times / Love Action [I Believe In Love] [Instrumental] 11:08
  2. Mirror Man 3:51
  3. You Remind Me Of Gold 3:38
  4. (Keep Feeling) Fascination [Extended Version] 4:59
  5. I Love You Too Much 3:20
  6. Mirror Man [Extended Version] 4:23
  7. You Remind Me Of Gold [Instrumental] 3:54
  8. (Keep Feeling) Fascination [Improvisation] 6:15
  9. I Love You Too Much [Dub Version] 5:53
  10. Total Panic 3:29

Then, three years later, Japan released a stand-alone CD of the bonus UK disc in the “Dare” DLX RM. It used the black cover that later pressings of the US EP had. I’ve never had one of those in the Record Cell but life’s too short to collect Human League sleeve color variations. I would like to have one of these but they are priced out of my…wait for it, league.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

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59 Responses to A Young Person’s Guide To: The Human League – Fascination! US EP

  1. cary berger says:

    Very nice write up! My recollection was that there was also a 7″ version of Hard Times which was tighter and shorter? One of my favorite Human League tracks . . .

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      cary berger – Well, I also have the US PS 7″ of “Love Action”
      the human league - love action US 7
      and it features the 4:52 full length version. Can anyone else shed light on where a succinct edit of “Hard Times” might have cropped up?

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      • Vlad says:

        4:52 is the shorter version. 5:42 (or so) is the longer remix. Of course you can always buy one of the Finnish “Modern Dance” compilations from 1982, which feature 3:06 edit – but that wasn’t official, only made shorter to be able to fit about 20 tracks on one LP :)

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          Vlad – Hard-core collectors haven’t “done” a band unless they snap up those K-Tel and Ronco compilations for all of the unauthorized edits! I have a few myself with Simple Minds, JAPAN, OMD, et. al.

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  2. jsd says:

    I had the A&M Fascination! EP from the time of release and I played the shit out of it. Despite its origins as a grab bag I felt it really worked as a complete experience. I was also introduced to the joys of music + weed by a few of my delinquent teenage friends around this time. We’d get stoned and play the riffs from Hard Times on our cheap Casio synths for hours. Happy memories!

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      jsd – You’ve got that right! “Fascination!” was the only Human League “album” to work as an experience after “Dare” until “Octopus” eons later! At least for me. And your cheap Casio synths probably cost more than what The League actually used on the album!

      Instruments used: Roland MC8, System 700, JP4, Korg 770, Delta, Casio VLT 1, M10, Linn LM1, Yamaha CS15 and Roland Microcomposer and Linn Drum Computer

      The Casio unit on the album was the VLT-1. The cheapest synth ever as I recall K-Mart selling this for $29.95 or some such. “Get Carter” on “Dare” was just this unit in the spotlight.
      ad for Casio VLT-1 synthesizer in 1981

      Liked by 1 person

      • jsd says:

        I had the VL-1 later on. Yes it is a cheap piece of crap, but many of the Human League pieces were actually pretty expensive. The stuff we were using was less sophisticated than what’s on Dare. The Linndrum alone cost more than all our synths put together.

        You’re right about Octopus being the next “actually decent album” release from THL. I was so jazzed to get Hysteria… and so let down by it. (Although at this point I was teaching myself to play bass, and “The Lebanon” was really fun to play along with.) The less said about Crash and Romantic the better…

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  3. Tim says:

    I saw this in my feed and clicked on it with a groggy feeling of deja vu.
    Didn’t I just read about this last night?
    Then i remembered that I kinda did, I am reading Rob Sheffield’s “Talking to Girls About Duran Duran” and read the Human League chapter last night before calling it a day.
    Mirror Man is IMNSHO one of their better tracks and had the thankless lot of being released when it was. I think it would have done much better if it was written and released before Don’t You Want Me? and let’s face it, that single is a tough act to follow. I uniformly like a lot of what they did in this little window between Dare and….I can’t think of the name of the follow up album. I know all the stuff from the in-between time because it’s consistently great, after Mirror Man and Fascination they become very ala carte for me, and, generally speaking the cheesier the track the more I like it.
    How they went from writing *fantastic* music like this to…..Human……is beyond me.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Tim – Ala carte is the best way to experience this band from 1985-1995. Which puts them on the same shelf as Simple Minds, really! Maybe an EPs worth of goodness there for The League. And you can’t blame “Human” on them. It was written by Jam + Lewis. I guess that’s why Prince wrote all the Time stuff.

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      • Tim says:

        I had the Japanese laserdisk of the hits *and the song that shall not be named* and I was trolling YouTube after reading this post, feeling a little 80’s sentimental…..anyhow, amazing how many of their videos are not up there to be seen.

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    • Vlad says:

      > Rob Sheffield’s “Talking to Girls About Duran Duran”
      Tim, can you tell me is it a decent book? I’m collecting books about the 1980s and this one cropped up quite a bit but I’m somehow reluctant to buy it. Is there much about music? Is there anything about Ultravox? :) I’d appreciate you opinion.

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      • Tim says:

        Vlad, I am really enjoying it.
        The chapters are named after bands and the content of the chapter intersects with the band in some way, some chapters, such as the one about Bonnie Tyler, has almost nothing to do with the act (in the Bonnie Tyler case it’s mostly a comment about how a lot of women at that time were imitating her hair style based on how she looked in a video. ).
        It’s more a memoir of being a certain age at a certain time, mostly in the US although he does spend some time abroad. The Human League chapter is set while he is living in Spain, he delves into the Human League probably more than most of the bands referenced in the book, for instance, I finally learned why some singles were labeled Human League Red and some were marked Human League Blue.
        However, depth and minutia of any band is NOT what this book is about. It’s really about a kid from the United States growing up in the 1980’s and loving pop and new wave music.
        I hope this helps!

        ps.
        I’ve been reading a lot of books about music by musicians the last couple years, I strongly suggest anything by Tracey Thorn, Princess Noir about Nina Simone is excellent. I would stay away from Dave (Eurythmics) Stewart’s bio, Thomas Dolby’s is good-ish when he talks about music, not so good when he talks about his time in the tech industry (which is 1/2 of the book).

        -Tim

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          Tim – Wow, you didn’t know about the Human League Red/Blue codes? That had been floating around out there since it happened. I guess you never ran across it. In the musician book roundup, don’t forget David Byrne’s “How Music Works!” One of the better ones.

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        • Vlad says:

          Tim, thank you very much for the detailed answer. I’ll certainly think about this book, maybe even get it on occasion just to make the collection bigger :) Besides, one cannot read too much about the Human League!

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      • postpunkmonk says:

        Vlad – I reviewed that book in the early days of the blog. It’s a fun read. No Vox that I can recall nearly a decade later. But I’ll warn you… there’s Bon Jovi in there. Caveat emptor.

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        • Vlad says:

          Thank you, Monk, great review! Bon Jovi is the problematic thing, of course, though for historical point of view it may be kind of interesting. By the way, don’t know how things are for them in the US, but here in Russia they are stadium band still, after all these years. Just this year, in May, I think, they visited and played the biggest stadium in Moscow (tickets sold out, of course). Cannot really see the reason for their lasting appeal – of course, I’m hardly a part of target audience, but I wouldn’t have thought they’d fill such vast space. Probably a 5.000 seater – but not 35.000. Clearly something went over my head regarding their popularity – though I’m not inclined to find out what exactly :)

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          • postpunkmonk says:

            Vlad – “Clearly something went over my head regarding their popularity – though I’m not inclined to find out what exactly.” You and I, both. I have ignored them since day one but they were the essence of rock mediocrity to me. KISS with a few pop hooks.

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  4. Echorich says:

    Human League stopped really mattering to me once I heard Penthouse + Pavement by Heaven 17. For me they only added nails to their own coffin with the follow up singles to Dare. I own the Fascination EP, I own the League Unlimited Orchestra EP as well, but where the latter played on some of the joys of the Dare Era (can one album and 18 months be an era? I guess that’s a lifetime in the music industry), the Fascination EP was filled with Pop that had little to do with the staggering release that was Dare. (Keep Feeling) Fascination and Mirror Man are bland Pop to these ears. Fascination never sounds like much more than carnival carousel music to me. I will give Ian Burden his due though. Oakey sounds so strained and sort of uncomfortable to these ears. Mirror Man has a bit more going for it, even with the Motown by numbers backbeat. You can still hear echos of Dare, especially in Oakey’s vocals. Maybe it’s all the Ooo’s and Ahh’s from Jo and Susan, they still don’t sit well with me.
    It’s my belief that because Heaven 17 didn’t light up the charts with P+P the way HL did with Dare, they did a much better job moving on while keeping their musical convictions intact when they released The Luxury Gap.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – Maybe subconsciously that was the reason why I never bought the “Mirror Man” single in spite of vacuuming up all manner of Human League discs in 1982. It immediately became apparent to me that the strength of their future was in their past. And that pointed to Heaven 17 by 1982.

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  5. Andy B says:

    I bought the Fascination mini album on import back in ’83 just for the new track ‘I Love You Too Much’. I too was shocked at just how different the version on ‘Hysteria’ was.

    My brother and I both got a Casio VL-Tone for Christmas ’81. Pretty basic really but we still loved them at the time. I’ve since built up a decent collection of hardware and soft synths and drum machines.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Andy B – Well those cheap Casiotones could sound remarkable when driven through the right pedal or effects box. Did you ever see the OMD documentary “Souvenir?” You get to hear the raw Korg Micro Preset they made the first album with and it sounded super dinky without “enhancement.”

      I only bought a copy of “Hysteria” in the last 20 years. Out of morbid curiosity if anything. i got that and “Romantic?” at the same time. They were definitely not a priority when they came out! As poor as “Hysteria” was, it wiped the floor with “Romantic?”

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      • Vlad says:

        Never knew about the OMD documentary until youк comment! Just watched it on YT – it is very nice, great how they look and behave so down to earth and light-hearted. Nothing much in the way of new things for me, but any documentary about “New Wave” people is very welcome.

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    • Mathmandan says:

      “I Love You Too Much” is one of my favorite HL songs, and definitely, for me, the highlight of that EP. I didn’t like the Hysteria version nearly as much.

      Like

      • Vlad says:

        I agree – and pity they didn’t get around to releasing it in its own right. Would’ve made a great third stop-gap single (and, probably, a third No. 2, too :)

        Like

  6. Andy B says:

    Monk – Yes I saw the ‘Souvenir’ documentary. Very interesting it was too. Indeed it is amazing what an effects box or pedal can do to the most basic synth patch.

    I agree with you about ‘Hysteria’ and ‘Romantic?’ I still think ‘Crash’ is their poorest album though.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Andy B – I’ll take your word on “Crash.” There’s NO WAY I will ever listen to it. So no Human League Rock G.P.A.® then, as well. The worst album I’ve heard was definitely “Credo.” Shockingly bad!

      The “Souvenir” documentary was much appreciated when it came out but now I think it was more than a little premature, given how much territory the band have covered since then. Maybe it’s time for a sequel?

      Like

      • Mathmandan says:

        I was so disappointed with “Credo.” For a long time I had felt they had lost their way, at least for my musical preferences, but then “Octopus” happened and I was shocked how much I liked it. “Secrets” was just as great a follow up. So, naturally, I thought Credo might continue this new trend. Ummmmmm, no.

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  7. Andy B says:

    Monk – ‘Credo’ isn’t great but ‘Crash’ really is appalling in my view. ‘I Need Your Loving’ must be their poorest single!

    Yes a sequel to ‘Souvenir’ would be worthwhile. So much has happened since.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Andy B – Gaaah! I think I might have seen “I Need Your Loving” on MTV once! Ghastly! I’d [gratefully] forgotten all about that. I have to ask… how does Phil sleep?

      Like

      • Vlad says:

        Well, seeing as how they hold “Human” as a hit they badly needed to continue and the one that rescued their carrier, Phil probably isn’t of a very bad opinion about other Jam & Lewis tracks on “Crash”. Especially as INYL had been a reasonable follow-up to “Human” chart-wise (in the US only, though). What bugged me about that poorly done song, though, is how and why did it need SIX people to write it, when from the sound and execution of it you’d think one was more than enough :)

        Still haven’t heard the whole of “Crash”, but, like “Romantic?”, it has one song I’m always happy to listen to – in this case, “Are you ever coming back”. Now that should’ve been a single (and apparently it was – in Canada) and deserved hit.

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  8. Richard Anvil says:

    The best track for me from this era was ‘You Remind Me Of Gold’ which is what The Human League were all about from the start ‘synths’. Once they added the bass guitar they lost their uniqueness. One thing to point out, have a re-listen to ‘Keep Feeling Fascination’, you will find that it isn’t just Phil doing the male vocals. If you watch the video you’ll see they are shared with Jo Callis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD-GGUIsXSs

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Richard Anvil – I thought that Callis was simply miming along for the video. The parts with him singing didn’t sound particularly different to the Oakey sound to my ears. Hmm.

      Like

      • Richard Anvil says:

        Their voices are similar but if you listen carefully you’ll hear there are differences. I first spotted it listening to the track then had it confirmed by the video.

        Like

  9. brynstar says:

    Great stuff. I was a huge League fan, back in the day, still love all the stuff ’83 and prior.
    In New Zealand the “Fascination” 12″ had listed “Fascination (Improvisation)” on the sleeve, but on the label, it was “Fascination Dub” … Still rate it as one of my all-time favourite dub remixes.
    The NZ 12″ of “Mirror Man” had “Gold Dub”, rather than “You Remind Me of Gold (instrumental)”, and it was another fave dub remix of mine.
    My best buddy at the time – we were 14 and 15 – ordered the “Fascination!” EP from the States, so that was the only way we got to hear “I Love You Too Much”.
    I still rate the “Hard Times/Love Action” 12″ as one of my all-time fave 12″ singles. I love how they released a song off the album, yet it was essentially a double A-side with a song NOT on the alum. Very cool. Martin Rushent’s work is exemplary.
    The League Unlimited Orchestra “Love and Dancing” remix album is essential.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      brynstar – Aaaah! So the “You Remind Me Of Gold [dub version]” was something released only in the NZ market back in the day? When it ppopped up on the DL copy of “Fascination” and the UK DLX RM of “Dare” I thought it was something previously unreleased. It pays to keep an eye on Australasia. There are some rare things in the Southern Hemisphere. How I wanted to visit NZ for my 40th birthday. For my wife’s we went to Andalucia, Spain, but when mine rolled around we had moved, and were broke. So I made do with Cave City, Kentucky. I’d still visit NZ in a heartbeat, if I had the chance. My friend Ron Kane spent a lot of time in the 80s there, importing Oz/NZ records to North America.

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      • Vlad says:

        “You remind me of gold” (dub) was on the 12″ of “Mirror man” worldwide, in fact it was straight after its parent song and over time I’ve downloaded more than one rip of the vinyl where the B-side was one continuous track, though on the cover they are separated.

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    • Mathmandan says:

      Totally agreed about the League Unlimited Orchestra being essential listening. In many ways I enjoy it more than Dare. I still listen to both regularly.

      Like

  10. Brian says:

    I think I more or less have every song mentioned here… collected through the years… but I am really impressed with that Fascination + bonus disc and that more recent Japanese release. I enjoyed the hunt and all, but those collections would have saved me the effort. I have never owned anything post 1983, but I do have the Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder album.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Brian – I finally bought the Moroder/Oakey album at some point nearly 20 years ago and found it indigestible, myself. A little too singsong and that cut where they used the “8-bit orchestra hit” 237 times in one song had me running for the exit. I quickly sold it off.

      Like

  11. Gavin says:

    I adore the Fascination EP,though it took several years before I actually managed to obtain a copy.Every track is superb for me,though the addition of Total Panic would have been the icing on the synthpop cake.
    I have never seen the 3″ CD single of Fascination!How cool.I still remember some UK shops sending their vinyl copies back to Virgin because they thought they were warped!
    Like many others, I too received a Casio VL-Tone for Xmas in 81-I loved the fact that it was played on many great records of the era,the lead in Open Your Heart,Trio’s Da Da Da and Hazel O’Connor’s Hanging Around to name a few.It led to my life long obsession for synths and creating music with them.

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  12. Taffy says:

    At this point, all i can do is echo all the comments here with my love for the Fascination EP. When out DJing, Fascination (NOT Don’t You Want Me) is my go-to for playing 80’s League when requested. Despite being a fairly big hit, it never reached saturation and that level of overplayed-ness. Meanwhile, while I’m not much of a fan of the Crash album, I don’t loathe it quite like most, and find Human so cheesy and absurd it’s practically high camp.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Taffy – Well I’m amazed to hear the closest thing to a good word about “Human” in the 9+ years of this blog. That’s a different take on things for sure. Also interesting to hear the avoidance of DYWM for “Fascination” but in truth, in my clubbing days the only Human League I ever heard was “Things That Dreams Are Made Of,” surprisingly. And for a few years, I want to ever Old Wave Night imaginable.

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      • Taffy says:

        Here’s another “good word” about Human – the backing track sounds like a pretty fine S.O.S. Band ballad (which of course says lots about Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and not much about the League!).

        Like

  13. negative1ne says:

    mr monk.
    great overview of the human league.
    i could write a book about all their releases, singles, etc, but
    no time for that now.

    i have to admit, i’ve collected almost all the single, and albums, good and bad,
    just out of sheer stubborness to have them.

    lots of hits and misses throughout their career, which appears to be over,
    except for the endless touring of the greatest hits.

    i owned the casio vl-tone, like a lot of people, but its much more fun to
    play with the multitracks and instrumentals, which led me to
    redoing the entire dare album as extended versions:
    https://dare2013remix.wordpress.com/

    Including the b-sides… since then, i’ve made a better remix of ‘darkness’
    since i used the instrumental from someone that has recreated all the
    tracks using similar instruments on ewwwtube.

    i dig the fascination era also, and started work on extended and remixed
    versions of all of those tracks also, but the project is on the backburner still.

    nice discussions and memories from a lot of people here.

    later
    -1

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      negative1ne – How many years has it been since “Credo” came out? Six, wasn’t it? They might as well table it and just tour like you said. There’s more money in it for them. Thanks for the link. Tim? You might want to check out negative1ne’s handiwork. I admire your determination to collect bands that even have bad patches like The League. I can almost go there for Simple Minds and Ultravox, just because those bands mean more to me than The League ever did, but even I draw the line at paying good coin for music I know I hate just for the sake of being a “collector.” Hell, I even have thought long and hard about getting rid of “Street Fighting Years,” my least favorite album by a most favorite band, just because I will never own “Acoustic” and therefore won’t ever have a SM complete album collection.

      Like

      • Tim says:

        I may take a look at this when I have a moment.

        I am gobsmacked by the quantity of comments for a one-off post about a one-off single.

        I agree with one comment above that their career, sometimes the cheesiness is what makes it. I have a soft cell in my heart for some of this so bad it’s good late 80’s stuff, whether it’s Was (Not Was) on the high end of the spectrum or Kon Kan, INSOC, Edelweiss or (to circle it back to Rob Sheffield) Haysi Fantayzee (ok they’re early 80’s but the tracks I have by them are tagged with the genre “Guilty Pleasure”).

        I trolled YT a lot twice after reading this post and it’s still there, the cheesier the better.

        Just don’t let *the song which shall not be named* into the mix.

        I do wonder if the success they found as a pop band was unexpected and they really didn’t know what to do with it, but, it’s a living, eh?

        Like

        • postpunkmonk says:

          Tim – I have to part ways over Was (Not Was). Okay, so “Walk The Dinosaur” was a borderline novelty, but is anything sung by Sweetpea Atkinson, the Last Great Soul Singer®, no matter how frivolous, ever tarred by the novelty brush? I say thee, nay! Even so, W(NW) made sure to put their most brainwarpingly psychotic tracks [thank you, David Was…] on the very same album. Kon Kan and INSOC seem to move together in sync so I hear you, but Edelweiss was areosol cheese of the least digestible kind to me. Down there with Taco. Technically, this was a one-off post about two singles. We like comments because they’re interesting! I don’t have any physical friends to talk about music with, only internet pals, or old friends in different states/countries, so this is as good as it gets to me.

          Like

          • diskojoe says:

            “I don’t have any physical friends to talk about music….” You mean nobody you hang or work with or even your missus? Wow. I talk about music w/my friends, when I go to the Record Exchange & even at my library job, with some of the young whippersnappers there even writing notes when I talk about my fave rave bands. I can’t conceive of not talking about music w/others.

            Like

            • postpunkmonk says:

              diskojoe – Well my partner gets more than an earful, but that’s to be expected. We met at clubs seeing the same bands. There used to be a young whippersnapper at my job I could discuss music coherently with but he moved on.

              Like

  14. slur says:

    Thanks for the post.
    I never realized why ‘I Love You Too Much’ sounded so lame on ‘Hysteria’ but blamed the pressing on it. As for those singles for me ‘Mirror Man’ was the last great single by the League, even if I did never really give up on them and tried again and again.
    IMHO they should have stayed with Martin Rushent at least for the follow up album, they had hardly a chance for an equally successful follow-up anyway or living up to the expectations.
    The endless delay up to ‘Hysteria’ broke their momentum finally (and ‘Fascination’ or ‘Lebanon’ did not really impress me at all).
    Still, I even went to see them live last year performing (Red Tour) including a great rendition of ‘Being Boiled’ and I was surprised how good they were.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      slur – But did you try them Again And Again And Again And Again And Again And Again (Six Times)? Seriously, I am astonished that they would play “Being Boiled” in this day and age, but which version? Fast Version or “Holiday ’80?”

      Like

  15. I got the US (probably) version of Fascination and liked almost all of it, even though I recall feeling it a bit scattershot (and now reading the backstory, I can see why I felt that way). For some reason that was about it with me and HL … probably as ascribed above H17 were on a mission from god at that point. Didn’t really pick up on them again until I was surprised by Octopus. I’ll have to check out Secrets, as I have no memory of ever hearing anything from it!

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinnvictoria – I thought it was you who recommended “Secrets” to me when it came out? A solid album. The preponderance of brief instrumentals in the flow was certainly unique but not onerous.

      Like

      • Vlad says:

        That, I have to say, was a confusing move for me. But thank God they didn’t make instrumentals bleed into the proper songs – so I usually program songs first, and instrumentals after them. It’s like getting two albums at one time (or maybe and album and an instrumental EP). And sometimes I gravitate more towards the latter…

        Like

      • I think I commended Octopus I commended, because I had heard “Tell Me When” which got me excited for them again, and then bought the album and enjoyed it. I think I’ve only ever heard “Love Me Madly” from Secrets, but I should definitely give the album a new listen to see if it strikes any chords (heh).

        Like

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