Released today in 1980: Empire State Human

Virgin VS351

Virgin VS351

The early career of The Human League must be confusing for record collectors. It seems their record company Virgin – who signed them up after their first, independently-released single Being Boiled – weren’t quite sure what to do with them, and their releases didn’t follow any grand plan.

Empire State Human, for example, was a track from the debut The Human League album Reproduction (1979), and its only single (Virgin VS294). The following year the group released an EP called Holiday ‘80, the lead track on which was a re-recording of Being Boiled. This version of the song was also included on their second album Travelogue (1980), as was intended follow-up single Only After Dark, which was pressed up as Virgin VS351. Shortly before its release, though, someone at Virgin had a change of heart and a decision was taken to re-issue Empire State Human instead. This re-issue was allocated the same catalogue number (VS351) and the first 15,000 copies included a copy of Only After Dark as a free bonus record. It very much depended on where the ‘free single’ sticker was affixed as to which disc appeared to be the free one, however.

How much say the band had in all of this is unknown. What is known is that two of its members, Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, were unhappy enough about the general direction of The Human League to leave and form a new group (which became Heaven 17. Relying on a two-year old song as the lead track on an EP, and re-issuing a previously available single from an old album in preference to current material, did perhaps indicate a lack of faith in the future of The Human League from Virgin. Or perhaps the record company was just trying to promote both albums at once.

Either way, the big shake-up The Human League experienced in 1980 brought together the team that would create the classic Dare! album in 1981.

NEW SINGLES on sale from Jun. 13
The HUMAN LEAGUE Empire State Human [Re-issue] (Virgin VS351)
BIG COUNTRY The Teacher (Mercury BIGC2)
INXS Listen Like Thieves (Mercury INXS6)
EIGHTH WONDER (Patsy Kensit) Cross My Heart (CBS 6515527)
Bryan FERRY Limbo (Virgin VS1066)
INXS Never Tear Us Apart (Mercury INXS11)
T’PAU (Carol Decker) I Will Be With You (Siren SRN87)


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