The Adelaide Advertiser
The fortunes of a pop group can virtually somersault on an annual basis,
a sad fact which Human League singer Phil Oakey knows only too well.
By David Sly
Two years ago, Oakey lamented the difficulty The Human League had in
promoting its disappointing Hysteria album(follow-up to the enormously
successful Dare album) to a disinterested world market.
Last year he spoke happily about his solo success with the single Together
In Electric Dreams but was saddened by The Human League's indefinite
period of inactivity.
Now Oakey is talking confidently, even arrogantly about the band's future. The
radical change has come about because once again The Human League has
a single breaking into the charts, titled Human.
"I had absolutely no doubt Human League would break through the grey
patch," said Oakey down the telephone line from Spain, oblivious to the fact
he was contradicting his views of a year ago.
"I expected success with this record because I knew it was a great song."
Amid the flurry of interviews for Spanish television and Australian journalists,
perhaps Oakey forgot that last year things were not so rosy in the Human
League camp when an expensive album recording was scrapped after results
failed to measure up.
"Well, yes, there were times in the last couple of years when we were ready
to give up but we proved to ourselves we could make great records again and
ow we are going to show the public too."
The proof Oakey speaks of is the new Human League album Crash, which
was eventually completed in Minneapolis under the direction of former Prince
cohorts Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
"I always thought we were quite alike, with them doing to soul music the
same as we were doing in pop," Oakey said.
"We found it greet working with these new people in a different city . . .it made
us open to new ideas, like using material from other writers like Jimmy and
"I think they provided the spark to turn great songs into a great record."
But although Oakey is supremely confident about the single, which has made
an impact in Europe and Australia, it faltered in the League's traditional market
of England. It peaked at number eight after climbing the charts for only two
"People in England really don't like pop music... they just aren't interested any
more," Oakey complained.
"When a band like Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Britain's biggest pop group of
the '80s, only gets to number two [or one week, it's obvious that the people
"It doesn't bother us because we will just go somewhere else where people do
like pop music."
Oakey's plan is to spend much of the next year touring The Human League
around the world to promote the new album. He is currently auditioning
musicians to complete a full touring band.
"I want to take The Human League everywhere we can go and make money
from playing and visit any country where people bothered to buy our records in
the past," he said.
"It is the least respect you can pay people."
He said touring would definitely include Australian dates, possibly during the
early months of next year, although no specificitinerary will be mapped out until
the new band has completed rehearsals.