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Being Boiled sleeve

 

June 1978

BEING BOILED b/w Circus Of Death

7" single, Fast Product FAST 4

reissued in August 1980 and January 1982 by EMI

This was The Human League's debut single, recorded in mono on a Sony two-track tape recorder. The single was issued under the title Electronically Yours and the original release sold several thousand copies before being deleted. When re-issued in January 1982 after the huge success of Don't You Want Me, the single soared to Number Six in the UK charts, spending nine weeks in the Top 75.

Being Boiled was the first song Philip wrote with Ian and Martyn. Ian: "We'd got the instrumental part and [Philip] came along with these lyrics and just started singing them. So we had vocals then. I thought the lyrics were just completely crazy."

Philip: "It was... er... I'd got some religions mixed up and I thought that, like, Buddhism was the same as Hinduism, and it was sort of a plea for vegetarianism really, against killing the silkworms to make socks or something. I got really confused about it."
Martyn on the b-side, Circus Of Death: "There was this film called Death Circus or something, where you got the clowns going around and a psychopath with an axe... and this is the same thing except the ringmaster is a clown as well, and he distributes this drug - we wrote this in about seven minutes, just reeling off the lines, incidentally - and he distributes this fictitious drug to all his cronies, and basically they go 'round killing people and then take over the world."
Ian: "Just a totally ludicrous lyric, but people can interpret it however they want."
Despite not selling in vast quantities, the single attracted plenty of attention in the press and certain other musicians were moved to comment on the record. Upon hearing Being Boiled, none other than David Bowie declared it to be the sound of the future of music. He attended the group's show at the Nashville pub in West Kensington, and it was even rumoured that he had expressed an interest in working with the League.
On the other hand, Public Image Limited vocalist John Lydon (formerly Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols) heard the record whilst reviewing new singles for the New Musical Express and dismissed the group as "trendy hippies"...
There were possibly two pressings of the original mono edition, as initial copies seem to have faded yellow newsprint labels, whereas later mono editions have crisp black and white newsprint labels. The run-out grooves on the single are inscribed 'insurgent pop' and 'resistant product'.
Being Boiled 12" A-side label (detail)
The single was later reissued by EMI in August 1980, using simulated stereo mixes of the songs, and this was reissued a second time in January 1982. These reissues are easily distinguished from the original 1978 pressing as they have red labels, with a yellow logo and white text, unlike the original.
In 1988, Virgin reissued the record in Germany as a 12" single (catalogue number 611908). This release included the 1980 re-recording of Being Boiled as an extra track (see the label above), and both the Fast Product recordings were presented in simulated stereo. The 12" single's label neglects to credit John Leckie for his co-production on the 1980 re-recording.
Both tracks written by Oakey/Ware/Marsh
Produced by The Human League

Single available on: Reproduction CD (Virgin CDV 2133)

Next:
Human League Cassette
The 'Human League cassette'