Song: “Don’t You Want Me” by the Human League
Reached #1: July 3, 1982 (their first, 3 weeks)
You’re at a crossroads. The band you co-founded, stayed with through multiple name and lineup changes, and that seems about to break out… has just broken up instead. You have a European tour in less than two weeks. If you cancel, the tour organizer has made it clear you’re going to be sued to within an inch of your life. What do you do?
If you’re Human League lead singer/producer/mad genius Philip Oakey, in the fall of 1980, you take your girlfriend and go to Sheffield’s entertainment district to look for a female backing singer. Not necessarily on stage, but in the mass of club patrons. Sure, that’s a great plan. I mean, there’s no way that…
…um, wait… what? He wandered into the Crazy Daisy and promptly met two high-school girls – who were dressed like nobody else in the club (i.e., pre-“emo” emo)… and asked them if they wanted to be in a band. Too bad we’ll never hear the conversation between Oakey and the girls (Susanne Sulley and Joanne Catherall). You can imagine it had to be one hell of a sales job. Somehow, he pulled it off. Even though he comes off a bit creepy (you HAVE seen him on video, right?), he managed to convince the girls this was legit.
Now, he just had to convince their parents. Apparently, they all decided that traveling Europe with Oakey would be “educational”, and the proper permissions were given.
Oakey, Sulley, and Catherall are still working together, over 30 years later.
The guys who split off from the Human League? Oh, they went off to found a little thing called Heaven 17.
And “Don’t You Want Me” remains one of the most memorable songs of the ‘80s.
Sometimes, a breakup is good for all sides.
Tomorrow, we get back.
No other songs reached #1 on July 3.