With singer Philip Oakey on board, the Human League shifted decisively in a pop direction with songs like "Dance Like a Star", a lo-fi, cobbled-together counterpart to Summer and Moroder's "I Feel Love". At the start of the song, Oakey taunts, "This is a song for all you bigheads out there who think disco music is lower than the irrelevant musical gibberish and tired platitudes that you try to impress your parents with. We're the Human League, we're much cleverer than you, and this is called 'Dance Like a Star'".
The Human League - Dance Like A Star 1977
The Human League's debut single "Being Boiled" was released in June 1978 with the slogan "Electronically yours" on its cover.
Philip K. Dick's influence is all over early Human League. "Circus of Death", the B-side of their debut single, was partly inspired by Ubik, while "Almost Medieval" from the first album, Reproduction, is based on Counter-Clock World, a novel in which time goes backward.
"Circus of Death" was once described by Human League co-founder Martyn Ware as "a subliminal trip through all the very trashiest films". The story involves an evil clown who runs a nightmare circus and uses the sinister mind control drug Dominion to pacify the population, with Steve McGarrett from american tv series Hawaii Five-O flying in to the rescue.
The Human League - Circus of Death 1978
The Human League - Almost Medieval 1979
As part of their newfound appreciation for conveyor belt pop and epic schmaltz, the Human League started to work up all-electronic cover versions of sixties classics like the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling". That song was both a crowd-pleaser and a striking gesture, almost transgressive. "No one did covers really. During punk, you were supposed to do original material", says Human League co-founder Ian Craig Marsh.
The Human League - You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling 1979