BURNING THE GROUND EXCLUSIVE 1981
“Don’t You Want Me” is a single by British synthpop group Human League, released from their album: Dare on 27 November 1981. It is the band’s best known and most commercially successful recording to date, and was the Christmas number one in the UK where it sold over 1,400,000 copies, making it the 25th most successful single in UK Singles Chart history. it later topped the Billboard Hot 100 in the US on July 3, 1982 where it stayed for three weeks.
The title is frequently misprinted by the media and by covering artists; the correct song title is “Don’t You Want Me”; not “Don’t You Want Me Baby”, which is the chorus.
The lyrics were originally inspired after lead singer Philip Oakey read a story in a “trashy US tabloid”. Originally conceived and recorded in the studio as a male solo, Oakey was inspired by the film A Star Is Born and decided to turn the song into a conflicting duet with one of the band’s two teenage female vocalists. Susan Ann Sulley was then asked to take on the role. Up until then, she and the other female vocalist Joanne Catherall had only been assigned backing vocals; Sulley says she was chosen only through “luck of the draw”. Musicians Jo Callis and Philip Adrian Wright created a synthesizer score to accompany the lyrics which was much harsher than the version that was actually released. Initial versions of the song were recorded but Virgin Records-appointed producer Martin Rushent was unhappy with them. He and Callis remixed the track, giving it a softer, and in Oakey’s opinion, “poppy” sound. Oakey hated the new version and thought it the weakest track on Dare, resulting in one of his infamous rows with Rushent. Oakey disliked it so much that it was relegated to the last track on the B side of the (then) vinyl album.
Before the release of Dare, two of its tracks—”The Sound of the Crowd” and “Love Action (I Believe in Love)”—had already been released as successful singles. To promote the new album, Virgin released “Open Your Heart” in October 1981, which hit #6 in the UK Singles Chart. With a hit album and three hit singles in a row, Virgin’s Chief Exectutive Simon Draper decided to release one more single from the album before the end of 1981. His choice, “Don’t You Want Me”, instantly caused a row with Oakey who did not want another single to be released because he was convinced that “the public were now sick of hearing The Human League” and the choice of the “poor quality filler track” would almost certainly be a disaster, wrecking the group’s new found popularity. Virgin were adamant that a fourth single would be released and Oakey finally agreed on the condition that a large colour poster accompany the 7″ single, because he felt fans would “feel ripped off” by the ‘substandard’ single alone.
“Don’t You Want Me” was released in the UK on 27 November 1981. To the amazement of the band (and especially Oakey), it shot to number one on the UK charts. This success was repeated six months later in the U.S., with “Don’t You Want Me” hitting #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. Billboard magazine ranked it as the sixth-biggest hit of 1982. The single was certified Gold by the RIAA the same year for sales of a million copies.
The Human League often added cryptic references to their productions and the record sleeve of “Don’t You Want Me” featured the suffix of “100”. This was a reference to The 100 Club, a restaurant/bar in Sheffield.
Today, the song is widely considered a classic of its era. Oakey still describes it as overrated, but acknowledges his initial dismissal was misguided and claims pride in the track.
An urban myth has grown around the song that it is autobiographical, this is untrue. Susan Ann Sulley is often irritated that she constantly has to refute the mistaken belief that the song is a reference to her and Joanne Catherall joining the band. At only 17 years old when the song was recorded, she was legally too young by UK law to have been a cocktail waitress and was, in fact, still in Secondary School. Oakey is also at pains to point out another misconception, that it is not a love song, but “a nasty song about sexual power politics” .
The song was remixed and re-released in 1995, peaking at #16 on the UK chart.
Don’t You Want Me 3:56
Don’t You Want Me (Ext. Dance Mix) 7:31
Vinyl: Near Mint
Sleeve: Near Mint
||Don’t You Want Me
||U.S. Billboard Hot 100
||Don’t You Want Me
||U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks
||Don’t You Want Me
||U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play
Catalog#: VS 466-12
Format: Vinyl, 12″, 45 RPM
Released: 23 Nov 1981
Credits: Producer – Human League, The, Martin Rushent
Written-By – Callis*, Wright*, Oakey*
Thank you Gangsters restaurant, Sheffield.
Side A: Taken from the album “Dare” (V2192)
Find The 12″ On DISCOGS
Turntable: Pro-Ject Debut III
Cartridge: Ortofon Super 20
Bellari VP130 Tube Phono Preamp
Soundcard: ESI Juli@
VPI HW 16.5 Record Cleaning Machine
Brother MFC-6490CW Professional Series Scanner
Adobe Audition 3.0 (Recording)
Adobe Photoshop CS5
All vinyl rips are recorded @ 32bit/float
Downsampled to 16bit 44kHz using Adobe batch processing
FLAC (Level Eight)
Artwork scanned at 600dpi PNG format, resized to JPEG format for posting.
You can help show your support for this blog by making a donation using PayPal. Thank you for your help.