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Reproduction sleeve


October 1979


LP/cassette, Virgin V2133/TCV 2133

CD released in 1989, Virgin CDV 2133

remastered CD released in 2003, Virgin CDVR2133

Almost Medieval
Circus Of Death
  You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling
The Path Of Least Resistance
  Austerity / Girl One [medley]
Blind Youth
  Zero As A Limit
The Word Before Last
Empire State Human
additional tracks on CD:
  The Dignity Of Labour [Part 4] *
The Dignity Of Labour [Part 1] *
  Flexi Disc *
The Dignity Of Labour [Part 2] *
  Being Boiled [Fast Product version] *
The Dignity Of Labour [Part 3] *
  Circus Of Death [Fast Product version] *
The Human League's debut album was recorded at the Workshop studio on Sheffield's Love Street between the 4th and 21st of July 1979, and was mixed and overdubbed at producer Colin Thurston's Red Bus studio in London. The group had mixed feelings about the results.
Ian: "Doing it was great. We thought 'Wow, this sounds fantastic, great'. But it was only a few months later when we listened to it on our normal systems that we decided it was lacking in quite a major way in several areas."
The album also received lukewarm reviews in many music publications and the sleeve, depicting the trampling of babies (one of them apparently the child of Slade vocalist, Noddy Holder), was deemed distasteful by the public. As a result, the album did not immediately sell as well as the group and Virgin had expected (though it did eventually enter the UK charts on 22nd August 1981, peaking at Number 49 and spending a total of 23 weeks in the Top 75).

This initial cool reception was a pity, as the album featured many innovative ideas, and when the melodies were not overpowered by the sometimes harsh percussion and stark electronic sounds, the overall effect was quite stunning.

The second track, Circus Of Death, is a re-recorded version of the Being Boiled B-side. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling is a cover of the song made famous in the 1960s by The Righteous Brothers. Empire State Human was the only single released from the album.
The CD re-issues usefully add all the tracks from the first three Human League singles (not including I Don't Depend On You, which was released under the pseudonym of The Men). Note though that some of these tracks are not taken from the original master tapes, but have been transferred from the original records, and surface noise is occasionally audible.
Curiously, the CD version included small changes to two of the original album tracks - Almost Medieval and The Path Of Least Resistance. Also, the Fast Product version of Circus Of Death lacks the short sample of dialogue included at the end of the Being Boiled B-side.
One other small point - the extra track Being Boiled does not fade out, as on the original single release and the 1988 Greatest Hits compilation, but is presented in its entirety. It's possible that the master tape for this track no longer exists, at least in its original form, as synthesizer overdubs and new vocals were added to the track for one of the group's demo tapes, though hopefully this is not the case.
Note: initial copies of the 2003 remastered CD listed Circus Of Death as Circus Of Love (!). This was rectified on later copies.
All tracks written by Marsh/Oakey/Ware, except You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling (Spector/Mann/Weil) and The Dignity Of Labour [Parts 1-4] (Marsh/Ware)
Produced by The Human League & Colin Thurston, except *The Human League
Available on: Reproduction CD (Virgin CDVR 2133)
I Don't Depend On You  
Empire State Human
I Don't Depend On You  
Empire State Human