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Old 08-03-2008, 08:54 PM   #1
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Human League, ABC, Heaven 17

The return of Human Leauge, ABC and Heaven 17 - Times Online

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Martin Fry of ABC takes one look at the steel girders, rusty stairwells and derelict warehouses that can be seen from the roof of the building in east London where he’s having his photo taken, and his prehistory as a pioneer of rumbling proto-electronica comes flooding back. “It’s like Sheffield up here,” he laughs, remembering a time when Britain’s fifth city was synonymous with terms such as “bleak” and “industrial”.

Another rangy singer from an early-1980s South Yorkshire funk-pop crew, Glenn Gregory, arrives with his Heaven 17 colleague Martyn Ware, while a fourth man in a suit, also being photographed, stands a few yards away.

He is flanked by two women — one blonde, in a little black cocktail dress, the other brunette, with a hint of goth — and his head, which once sported the nation’s most famous haircut (notable for its asymmetric fringe), is now shaved. When Gregory catches sight of the trio, he wants to burst into song. “Every time I see Phil [Oakey] and the girls, I start singing Don’t You Want Me,” he says, humming the synthesized bass refrain to the Human League’s 1981 hit.

There was a time when the whole country, indeed much of the planet, was singing the songs of the Human League, Heaven 17 and ABC. Between 1981 and 1984, hits such as Don’t You Want Me, Love Action, Temptation, Come Live with Me, Poison Arrow, The Look of Love and All of My Heart provided the perfect soundtrack to love and dancing. They put Sheffield on the map; it became the thriving centre of melodic synth-pop and smart white funk.
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Old 08-03-2008, 09:06 PM   #2
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I always liked (Keep Feeling) Fascination better than Don't You Want Me.
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Old 08-03-2008, 09:14 PM   #3
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I always liked (Keep Feeling) Fascination better than Don't You Want Me.
I like (Keep Feeling) Fascination but the way it was it always sounded like there was something wrong with my tape in parts of it. I've been on a big The Look of Love kick lately, used one of my freebie iTunes credits to get it (I have it on vinyl but that does me no good now), and keep meaning to get Don't You Want Me with another one of my credits.
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Old 08-03-2008, 09:51 PM   #4
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I always liked (Keep Feeling) Fascination better than Don't You Want Me.
I agree, but 'Mirror Man' and 'The Lebanon' are even better.
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Old 08-03-2008, 10:07 PM   #5
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three great bands
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Old 08-03-2008, 11:12 PM   #6
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I agree, but 'Mirror Man' and 'The Lebanon' are even better.
'Mirror Man' is the best! I absolutely that song! ('Don't You Want Me Baby' reminds me of my best friend, so it will always have a special place in my heart.)
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Old 08-03-2008, 11:31 PM   #7
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Sound of the Crowd
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:03 PM   #8
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Synthesizer musak and manufactured pop stars gave the '80's a bad name, but - and I don't think it's just the nostalgia talking - some of those early electropop bands stand up very well, in my opinion. Gary Numan another one to mention here. I watched some of Numan's early stuff on Youtube. Live versions of 'Down in the Park' are fucking scary. And scarily good. The atmosphere is up there with U2 ZooTV era. I didn't 'get' Numan until quite recently.


Early 80's - great

Mid 80's - largely, shit (of course, there were exceptions. Prince, for example. Even Madonna, in fairness)

Late 80's - start of the dance/rave craze. So, quite good in my opinion, 'cos I liked that era. The SAW (Stock Aitken and Waterman) stuff was of course, irredeemably shit, which is part of what gave the '80's a bad name.
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