The Human League Wiki
Human front cover.jpg

Type: song; single

Released: 11 August 1986

Written by: James Harris III / Terry Lewis

Produced by: Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis


Human is the first song and single to be released form the 1986 recording sessions in Minneapolis, USA with producers and songwriters Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. It was released as a single a few weeks ahead of the Crash album. The single got to no. 8 in the UK (their first top 10 single since (Keep Feeling) Fascination in 1983 and in the US became their second no. 1 hit (after Don't You Want Me) in November. It was also their first hit not to be written by any member of the group.

The song features lead vocals by Oakey with backing vocals by Sulley and Catherall and a spoken part by Catherall.

Single release[]

7" VS 880

A. Human 3:45

B. Human (instrumental) 3:45

12" VS 880-12

A. Human (extended version) 5:00

B1. Human (accapella version) 2:00

B2. Human (instrumental version) 5:00


Human is the first Human League release to feature the trio of Oakey/Catherall/Sulley only on the front cover. Other members of the band - Burden / Wright / Russell are featured in smaller black and white portraits on the rear of the sleeve together with similar close-ups of Jam and Lewis.

The artwork and labels also feature a new typeface, which remains unique to this release. The group name also drops the definite article, i.e 'Human League' as with previous Hysteria-era releases. Full name 'the Human league' was however re-adopted for the album and subsequent single releases.

Versions and availability[]

There are basically four vocal versions of the song (including the accapella version) and two instrumental versions.

version available on
single edit

(3:45 - 3:49)

  • Human (7" releases)
  • Greatest Hits (1988)
  • Greatest Hits (1995)
  • The Best of The Human League (1997/2004)
  • The Very Best of The Human League (2003)
  • Essential (2011)
  • All The Best (2012)
  • Gold (2014)
  • Don’t You Want Me: The Collection (2014)
12"/extended version (5:00 - 5:05)
album version
accapella version
  • Human (12" releases)
instrumental version (3:45)
  • Human (7" releases)
instrumental version (5:00)
  • Human (12" releases)
live version
  • Live at The Dome (2005)

Video & TV[]

A promo video featuring just Oakey/Catherall/Sulley was made for the single and is commercially available. Two different BBC TV performances of the song are included on the DVD of the deluxe version of A Very British Synthesizer Group (2016), one on Top of the Pops and one on chat show Wogan. Both performances also featured keyboard player Ian Burden and drummer Jim Russell on stage with the vocal trio.

The single featured twice on TOTP, firstly as a "breaker" on 21/08/86 and then the following week on 28/08/86 when the song was already at no. 10 in the UK charts. This latter performance was introduced by Janice Long and John Peel.

version available on
promo video
  • Greatest Hits (VHS, 1988)
  • Greatest Video Hits (VHS, 1995)
  • The Very Best Of (DVD, 2003)
  • Greatest Hits on CD&DVD (DVD, 2012)
  • A Very British Synthesizer Group (DVD, 2016)

The Human League - Human

Live, Brighton Dome (2003-12-19)
  • Live at The Dome (DVD, 2005)
Live on Wogan, 1986

Human - Human League

Live on Top of the Pops, 1986

The Human League - Human (TOTP)