The Human League Wiki

Boys and Girls single front cover

Boys and Girls is a song written by Wright/Oakey and released by The Human League as a single in February 1981. It was the first single to be released after the group split the previous year.

No production credits were given on the original issue except for 'Thanks to Richard Manwaring' who presumably helped with the production. The single failed to reach the Top 40 in the UK and was excluded from the group's singles compilations albums until 2016.

Lyrics and content[]

The song lyrics deals with the subject of growing old, and not wishing to be around young people anymore and has a fairly conventional verse/chorus/verse/chorus/break/chorus structure. True to the group's policy, the music is made by synthesisers only. The break section features mixed sound effects of church bells ringing and the sound of children's voices while playing.

Single release[]

The single was released in February 1981 after original group line-up had split around September 1980, and after the new group had completed their UK and European tour. The B-side was another new track, the instrumental "Tom Baker".

The single was released as a 7" only although initial copies were issued in a gatefold picture sleeve, and successively in a conventional picture sleeve.


Virgin 7" - VS 395

A. Boys and Girls (3:10)

B. Tom Baker (4:00)

  • timings were not stated on the original UK release although feature on some other releases.

Cover and artwork[]

The front cover features a photograph of the four band members Oakey, Wright, Catherall and Sulley lying down and looking up towards the camera. This is the first time that the new female members appeared on a Human League record cover although they do not contribute to either of the songs in any way. The front cover photograph and the photo of actor Tom Baker as Doctor Who on the rear are attributed to Wright and Oakey.

The gatefold sleeve opens up to reveal another photograph of the four group members lying down and looking up to the camera.

Boys and Girls single gatefold inner photograph


Writing in Smash Hits, reviewer David Hepworth described the song as "neat enough" and "sung with thesort of skill and taste that you expect from Phil Oakey" but ultimately concluding that the song "doesn't get, er, anywhere", concluding with the exhortation "Shape up, people".[1]

John Peel premiered the single on his late evening show on 16 February 1981.[2] He also successively played the B-side Tom Baker.

Chart performance[]

The single reached a peak position of no. 48 in the UK during the first week of March 1981.

Versions and availability[]

version available on
7" version


  1. Hepworth, D., The Human League "Boys and Girls" (Virgin) - Singles reviews, Smash Hits, February 19 1981, p. 24
  2. John Peel Wiki, 16 February 1981 (show)