The Human League
The Human League are so credible it’s incredible. In fact, they’re probably more highly regarded in
2019 than they were in 1981 when they released their landmark album Dare!
The band who gave us the greatest ever Christmas Number 1 single with 1981/2’s ‘Don’t You Want Me’, who have had four Top 10 albums and nine Top 10 singles in Ireland, and sold 20 million records worldwide
They’re used to everyone from Madonna to Moby, Pet Shop Boys to Robbie Williams, citing them as
an influence. Even Lady Gaga professed to be a devotee when she met them recently; they had adjacent dressing rooms at the ‘V’ Festival.
“She sat there in her bra and pants and we told her we were a huge fan of hers and she told us she was a huge fan of ours as well,” says Susan Ann Sulley, who has never been a waitress in a cocktail bar but has been a member of the League since Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh left the band in 1980 to form Heaven 17. “I’m not star-struck by many people and I don’t hero-worship anyone, but she was lovely.”
But not surprisingly for a group who were famously described by David Bowie in 1979 as “the sound of the future”, and indeed the group was once called The Future, The Human League have never been about resting on their laurels or relying on past glories to see them through.
“We’re peculiar,” says Susan, utterly unabashed. “People think pop music is X Factor and S Club 7 and we’re still hankering after a Roxy-Bowie-Donna Summer-Chic version of pop. We don’t fit in. People don’t quite appreciate how strange we are. There are three of us, two of whom have never written a song and are pretty average singers, plus we’ve got a lead singer who doesn’t consider himself a singer at all and can’t play any instruments very well. And yet we still think of ourselves as a pop group, not arty-farty or weird. If a market research group got hold of us, they’d change absolutely everything! And yet it works. We shouldn’t have gone on this long as we have – we should have ‘gone rock’ by now, like Depeche Mode, Simple Minds and U2 did. But we’re still a pop group.”
Not just a pop group – possibly the last great pop group. Believe.