Open Your Heart is a song written by Oakey/Callis, produced by Martin Rushent and The Human League. It was issued as single by The Human League in late September 1981 and included on the album Dare (1981). Like the previous single "Love Action (I Believe in Love)" it was a top 10 hit in the UK and remains one of the group's best known songs.
The song was remixed for the 12" "instrumental" version and was included in an edited form on the Love and Dancing album (1982).
Content & lyrics
The single was released on 28 September 1981 and was the follow-up to "Love Action (I Believe in Love)" which was still in the UK charts. "Open Your Heart" was also a 'taster' of the new album Dare which was released just a few weeks afterwards.
The B-side "Non-Stop", written by Callis/Wright, is an up-tempo instrumental track. The two tracks were mixed together for the 12" release both in their original 7" versions for the A side and "instrumental" remixes for the B-side, resulting in two longer tracks, similar to the style of the previous 12" release "Hard Times / Love Action (I Believe in Love)". Due to the difference in the bpm of each track however, the "segue" is less successful than its predecessor.
Timings are stated on respective labels.
Virgin 7" - VS 453
A. Open Your Heart (3:53)
B. Non-Stop (4:15)
Virgin 12" - VS 453-12
A. Open Your Heart/Non-Stop (8:15)
B. Open Your Heart/Non-Stop (instrumentals) (8:41)
The front cover features the Human League as a six-piece group for the first time, represented by facial close-ups of each band member. With the exception of Ian Burden, all members have their hair tied back leaving their faces uncovered. Presumably this was at the same photo session as the close-ups used for the Dare album cover. The photographs are attributed to Brian Aris, with cover design by Adrian (Wright) and Philip (Oakey) and layout and coordination by Ken (Ansell) at A.S.
'Open Your Heart' is the first Human League single to feature a studio produced promotional video. Directed by Brian Grant the video draws on the style and imagery which would be adopted for the iconic Dare album sleeve using facial close-ups, frames and bold colours. State-of-the-art video effects are used to enhance footage of the band singing and performing the song, as well as the girls dancing (usually in slow motion) and Adrian Wright waving a large red flag or otherwise standing still while the others perform. Ian Burden appears in one shot shirtless with the image of a keyboard being played across his chest.
In Smash Hits, reviewer Ian Birch remarked how the group had gone from being 'no-hopers' to "Virgin's biggest (financial) hope" stating that the single was a sure "number one" praising its "strong chorus, instant appeal and dreamboat topping".  In the same issue Birch had run a feature on the group with an interview and a "Beginner's Guide" to the group.
The single entered the UK charts at no. 21 immediately after its release, jumping to no. 6 the following week and remaining in the same position the week after. It recovered one position again after dropping down to no. 11, meaning that the single entered the Top 10 twice. It remained in the Top 40 for a total of eight weeks, by which time the Dare album had also been released and had reached no. 1 in the UK album charts.
Versions and availability
|7" version/album version||
- Birch, I. The Human League - Open Your Heart (Virgin) - Smash Hits Singles reviews, October 1st 1981.