The Human League: Essential 3CD set

The Human League 'Essential' 3CD set

3CD set • Hits and fan favourites • Tremendous value

A new three-CD package, ‘Essential’ offers an overview of the Virgin Records-era of Sheffield synth-pop band The Human League.

This collection includes all of the band’s top 20 singles during this time, including ‘Don’t You Want Me’, ‘(Keep Feeling Fascination)’, ‘Love Action (I Believe In Love)’ and ‘The Lebanon’ and also features Phil Oakey’s solo single ‘Together in Electric Dreams.’

With 41 tracks across the three discs, there’s time and space to explore more than just ‘the hits’ and Essential delves back to tracks like ‘Being Boiled’ and ‘I Don’t Depend On You’ (released under the pseudonym The Men in early 1979) and to early outings such as ‘Empire State Human’ (from debut album Reproduction) and the Mick Ronson cover ‘Only After Dark’ (from 1980’s Travelogue).

There’s even some William Orbit mixes of a couple of 1990 singles thrown in to keep things interesting, but the best part is that this is available at a budget price of a shade of £7 in the UK! Update, it’s now £4.99!

The Human League: Essential will be released on 5 June 2020, via Universal’s Spectrum imprint.

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The Human League

The Human League Essential - 3CD set



1. Don’t You Want Me
2. (Keep Feeling) Fascination
3. The Sound Of The Crowd
4. Open Your Heart
5. Life On Your Own
6. Louise
7. Hard Times
8. You Remind Me Of Gold
9. I Love You Too Much
10. The Things That Dreams Are Made Of
11. I’m Coming Back
12. Let’s Get Together Again


1. Love Action (I Believe In Love)
2. Mirror Man
3. The Lebanon
4. Love Is All That Matters
5. Heart Like A Wheel (William Orbit Remix)
6. I Need Your Loving
7. Love On The Run
9. Soundtrack To A Generation (Orbit Mix)
10. Kiss The Future
11. Men Are Dreamers
12. Rebound
13. The Stars Are Going Out
14. Dreams Of Leaving


1. Together In Electric Dreams (by Phil Oakey & Giorgio Moroder)
2. Human
3. Being Boiled
4. Empire State Human
5. Boys And Girls
6. The Path Of Least Resistance
7. Blind Youth
8. Morale… / You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’
9. Marianne
10. Rock ‘N’ Roll / Night Clubbing
11. Only After Dark
12. WXJL Tonight
13. Crow And A Baby
14. I Don’t Depend On You (by The Men)
15. Tom Baker

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“Time stops when you put it …..on”>)


Yes, it is great value, and CD3 (minus first 2 tracks) is a really nicely done compilation of Mk1 and pre-Dare material, including some strong album tracks. Not sure why they felt “Dreams Of Leaving” needed to be on the end of CD2, but it does just about work as a closer.

The mastering seems quite bright/harsh though, but it’s still very listenable and pretty definitive of the Virgin years.

Think “Human” is also an extended version, as album mix was around 4:30 – this appears to have a longer outro (I haven’t made a direct comparison to the 12″, but here it’s just over 5 mins).

Spare 'ead No 3

Hello All,
I picked this up for £5 in Sainsbury’s, not a massive fan of HL, only have the Dare/Fascination collection. But was interested in acquiring the Travelogue/Reproduction stuff on Disc3 which I’m really enjoying. I have noticed that the version of I Love You Too Much is different to the Fascination versions, Is this a remix or re-recording?, I love this song so this version is a bonus for me. Are there any Human League obsessives out there who could clarify the origin?

Darren Currie

2 versions of I love you too much. 1st time I heard it was on Hysteria! album, then couple of months later picked up Canadian import Fascination ep. Totally reworked version IMHO better.


I haven’t heard this compilation yet but the version of I Love You Too Much is more than likely the Hysteria album version.


I feel a coloured vinyl box set and cd box set coming on …. The first 6 albums (virgin years) are advertised within the packaging. I’m not a casual fan or casual listener but an true fan of the band and compelled to buy this compilation, why? Well I love the league …. And yes it’s cheap but it has plenty of content, what’s the problem? I love a cheap compilation as well as expansive and expensive super deluxe editions. It’s there if you want to buy it


I Need Your Lovin’ (I need your kissin’ babe) is the 12” version usefully


Fascination, Love Is All That Matters and Electric Dreams are also extended versions

Andrew Clarke

Thanks once again Paul.
Another bargain i can’t refuse!!


Nicely designed sleeve and great to include two William Orbit Mixes, but Marianne I assume is the Holiday 80 version again and not the “Australian” version. Would love to hear this on CD one day along “Toyota City (Long Version)” but I guess it will never happen.


I agree, somehow these versions will not be released onto CD…I guess the original mastertapes are lost…


Not the alternative version that appeared on Australian releases of “Travelogue”, sadly – but still a great track! Why this rare mix hasn’t been included anywhere since (even if mastered sympathetically from vinyl) is a bit of a mystery.
Recall an interview somewhere where Phil said he thought it was a better version, complete with it’s odd false ending!

Keith Fracassa

Neither option ships to the US. Very disappointing. :(


Another Human League compilation? I wonder will the tracks be remastered or the same as in the recent A Very British Synthesiser Group anthology?

For a fiver, though, I felt compelled to buy it for listening to in the car, if nothing else.

(I have a CD player/radio in my Ford Fiesta with Bluetooth connections (Sync) and audio controls etc. but find the Bluetooth connection is only useful for long drives, as I spend too much time faffing about with it on shorter drives to be any use. It either won’t connect or takes too long to connect.

On the other hand, I find my iPhone connects to Sync and plays music that I can’t even hear, which is annoying. Ford think it’s an Apple bug and Apple think it’s a Ford bug. Technology not doing its job there. Rant over.

This is why I stick to CDs in the car mostly. :-)


Any chance this will be released on coloured vinyl? hint hint


Again with the “Currently unavailable for delivery to your region due to high demand. We are working to resume delivery as soon as possible.”
I’ll stick with ‘Gold’ for budget compilations. Universal at least got those right.

And Human League never recorded ‘Goodbye Bad Times’.


They never recorded Together In Electric Dreams either yet that is on every Human League compilation.


It was a big hit


That must have been one of the most ridiculous haircuts in the history of… music and/or mankind ;-)


His bald head? It is not uncommon.

Steve W

Great bargain – ordered! Thanks Paul!


It’s now down to £4.99 on amazon.uk

Roland S

Down to £4.99 on Amazon UK now.

Richard Fisher

It’s now just £4.99 at Amazon UK!


Down to 4.99 pre order! Wow! I’m partial to a little HL. Despite what I already own by them, at that price? A no brainer.

Ian Burgess

I have never been a big fan, but they do have some fine moments. For me the “all the hits” (on the label) is a good statement. As for the other tracks – time to explore the catalogue, cheaply. Obviously a lot of dedicated fans asking why we need another compilation. Simple (and this applies to all bands) To entice new listeners, to convert the uninitiated who only know one hit single, and the casual listener to catch up. Look at how many Elton John compilations for example. The band are still working, that’s new material for the fans, great, but as some fall away, for many reasons, the void needs to be filled, preferably with youngsters who will stay for years. If you “discover” a group with a history you have heard a few singles but that is all- say Madness would a compilation like this be your first purchase, or all of the entire catalogue? Not as a box set, that throws other considerations in to the mix.
Any physical release is triumph these days.


There’s also a low priced GOLD 2CD compilation with similar tracklisting, 40 tracks, and including the above-mentioned special tracks too (except the Orbit mixes):


I think Gold has a better running order.

cosmo castanza

It is less than 8 quid for 3 discs .
If is good value for money regardless of whether it has the 12 inch mix or b side from an early single that you may wish it to have.


I like the cover, distinctive and contemporary. Yet keeping with the HL style. And they look great.
The price is excellent and should introduce new fans to this great band.
Well done for this 3 cd, yes 3 cd human league release. Well done.

And once hooked in, those new fans chance search out other stuff like Seconds. Can you believe that was once a b side?


Agreed. Name of band name should
have the “The Human” portion aligned left. Huge oversight by the product design and packaging team.


Looks like a good compilation for the price, but based on the photo, and the content containing very different incarnations of this group, one would expect at the very least one new song to tie it up with the modern picture. Prrhaps there is a new album in. The works and this is a way to tie into that project, or perhaps the person who put this together was not born when they were more than a 3 piece.


Their last release was a career spanning 2 cd set, wuth a thirs disc of demos for the suer deluxe…no new tracks then. Definitely nothing new here. unlikely any new tracks again after Credo.
This is just back to the norm for HL, like Tears for Fears and others…cheap comps with most of the same stuff every few years.

Rob C

Thanks for highlighting these releases…easily can be missed otherwise.

Overall a good comp that’s great for the car but it falls a bit short of definitive as it’s missing two key tracks:

Good Times Bad Times

Both were massive radio hits on Modern Rock/New Wave stations like KROQ in Los Angeles, WLIR in NY, etc

I’ve only ever seen Good Times compiled once and that’s on an obscure Brazil only Moroder compilation…it’s a fantastic dance song with a great remix.


Is that the Goodbye Bad Times remix that isn’t a Human League track?


“fat, old, falling to pieces”? Ouch ouch ouch / Oh no you didn’t!
I hate social justice warriors, to bits, but it’s comments like the above that make them gain ground.
There is no reason for calling them that, none at all. I’d like to see what you look like at their age. Time passes for everyone.
I’m surprised Paul allowed the post through.
The only reason to maybe complain is that it’s a choice to use a current photo for a band whose material included was not released when they looked like that. Anachronistic.


Not that it really matters, they still look amazing live and more importantly sound great still.

Watching them play hit after hit on a mild mid-summer’s evening on some stately ground in Essex last year was one of the most fun shows I’ve ever been to.

Derek Langsford

Saw them at a local Tribal Casino (Sycuan) in San Diego County a couple of years ago – they were terrific but the audience looked very old with many being fat and ugly, me included :-).


A lot of OTT complaints. Amazed that a lot of people can’t see this for what it is – a budget compilation aimed at casual shoppers (note: shoppers; not fans). Most well known acts have dozens of compilations to their name.


I agree with most that it is probably unecessary.

A copy of Fascination! [A mini LP from Canada I have] on CD wouldn’t go amiss, it had an alternate version of I Love You Too Much and You Remind Me Of Gold Dub on it. Not sure where else it was issued.

My main bugbear, however, is that the logo show have ‘The Human’ with a left ident. I know petty. There is nothing wrong with the picture, they all look great.


Sorry, I got over-excited, it should say ‘should have’ [not ‘show’]’ The Human’ on the left hand side and not italicised just like in t’old days.

Funny how putting the wrong words in makes your sentences come out wrong!

John McCann'

Nothing funny at all mate!.
Put the wrong words in and your sentences,will definitely come out wrong,!


@ StephendC: ‘Fascination’ has been released as part of a boxset together with Dare! in 2012. Contains a lot of 12-inch version from that era as well. I was lucky to pick up a copy then.
Prices on Amazon for this are pretty isane now but on Discogs prices are a bit more moderate, although not cheap. Worth it though.


Fascination! was released in the UK a few years ago.


I found a brand new copy of this in a local record shop last year and took perverse pleasure in telling the owner it was probably worth 3 times what he was asking for it. I made sure I paid first, though!



I sometimes feel the need to make perverse pleasure comments too, usually i can stop myself from doing so by thinking that the next time i want to buy something from that particular shop the owner might look up the item on Discogs, eBay etc. BEFORE selling it to me. ;-)

Oh, and not that i want to brag about it but i
bought that special release for about 8 Euro from jpc.de when they had it on sale in October 2013 ;-))


That’s fine Klaus, us collectors should be able to brag a little like that, after all, part of the fun of collecting is getting it for the absolute cheapest price. Alternatively, I have taken a “bath” on a few items I bought. You live and learn. Most of them I got for great deals, including the Dare/Fascination release: $9.27 + $3 shipping in 2013 from a market seller on Amazon. It’s fun (or not) to go into your Amazon order history and look at all the cd’s and box sets you bought over the years, what you paid at the time and how much they are now!! I definitely got some great deals (thank you Paul) but also regrettably some big losses. as I said you live and learn. Biggest learn: never pre-order unless the item is a truly limited edition.


I also picked up a mint copy of this on discogs a while back. Was a reasonable price then. But its starting to get a bit mad for prices of Dare/Fascination now. It has some great 12inch mixes on it too.

David Mcintyre

I still have my copy of the boxed Dare set. Pretty good set. Any collection that contains You remind me of Gold has to be good. One of the best b-sides of that era


The Fascination tracks were released on CD (along with Dare) in 2012. Now out of print though.


There’s a Japanese CD, too and the prices on that really are insane!


Better to spend a quarter of that on the UK box set, Shirley?



We haven’t (see above)… -,))

Terry Settle

What would have been good would to include some of the seminal 12” that the band released in the early 80’s. Some of these were epic! Only 2nd to Duran Duran on the extended record stakes from this period.

martin farnworth

non essential compilation due to the scores of Human League compilations and a few non essential tracks. though this would do as a starter who didn’t know the band. at least they didn’t call it Gold.


Yeah as there has already been a compilation released called Gold…


Cheap for sure, but honestly it looks like there’s a lot of filler on there. With only 12-15 tracks on each disc, I’m guessing the audio could have fitted onto two CDs but has been spread over three to make it look more consequent.

Gary Hunter

A decent price for 3cds, however, how many more compilations do we need by The Human League, they have released more best ofs than studio albums!

I’d even stick my neck out and say they must be one of the top bands for releasing compilations of all time.


I agree with the people who said that this compilation is a waste of time (again). Let Edsel do a boxset like with Heaven 17 from last year. That will be the only reason I will ever buy their old stuff again. I’m 53 and finally want to complete my HL collection. To do this the proper way like H17 is THE way to go in my humble opinion.

And please … no excuses anymore because it’s a bargain price for a 3CD set (while the disc space isn’t even used to it’s full capacity!). That’s one of the reasons WHY there are still compilations like this new set.

What? League? Worry?

Should of called it Human League Gold, and knock 2 quid off it.

Next year Dare will be 40, will it finally get a decent SDE with correct period single edits etc, or as pointed out by another poster a Virgin box ala Heaven 17?


For the price, and that it has all the songs I like (they’d fit on one disk), and who knows, I might like a few more that I never heard when they came out, it seems like a good pickup for me.


Seems good value to a casual fan like me. Has there ever been a deluxe edition of Hysteria?

Andrew Docker

There was a US version released over 10 years ago with 12 inch versions and b-sides but never a UK release.


There is a Japan only remastered version w 5 bonus tracks. 3 of them extended versions. Great package!!

Mike Briggs

yes.. a ”deluxe” reissue of the album came out in 2017 but only with 3 bonus tracks as extended mixes .
It is an SMH release from Japan .


Would love to buy it but I don’t trust amazon after my account as been hacked twice by them


a 3CD set missing some real greats off it, & is too short in each disc’s length! Where is ‘Good Bye Bad Times’ for instance!! (on no compilation of theirs!


Same old, same old! It’s been a whole four years since we had a Human League compilation like this, and nine years since we had one called “Essential”. Nothing wrong with this one, but it’s a step backwards after what felt like an encouraging move forward with a deluxe “Octopus” recently.

For my money, “The Very Best Of” 2xCD from 2003 was excellent – material from Virgin, EastWest and Papillion labels all on one compilation, with a bonus remix disc of new interpretations, plus a stand alone DVD companion collection of videos and TV footage. Couple that with 2005’s “Original Remixes & Rarities” CD, and it was a great few years for Human League fans. 2016’s “A Very British Synthesizer Group” was very poorly designed and priced, I don’t know what they were thinking!

We’re now in a very different place generally, with really basic sets around a fiver or huge multi disc box sets for around £100. There’s not much going on in between any longer – individual album remasters are much less common, for example.

I’d like to have their album catalogue completely remastered/reissued, with all the period extras. It’s such a shame albums like “Crash” and “Romantic?” remain ignored in the UK and have never been touched since their original release. Do the band actively dislike them? I’m sure I heard they had no interest in reissuing the other albums, aside from “Dare”. Such a shame, if that is the case.


Its not bad for the price. Im in.


What kind of compilation do we need?
Love to see your ideas and suggestions

Personally I prefer proper singles collection, including the original single versions in chronological order. As well as a b-sides collection (and previously unreleased onto CD tracks. There are still a few which are vinyl only…

Or… a cd-singles box-set…


A career spanning cd singles box would be brilliant…. all the edits, extendeds, mixes and b-sides wrapped up in original artwork. Perfect.



I agree…


I think that Mr. Sinclair would like to do such box-set. I am sure that he will do a great job !


Really hope so…

He did a great job with the Paul Young box set last year.

Paul Chapman

so many people moaning about what’s NOT on it, it’s a budget collection, simple as that


Why do we need millions of “budget collections”? I prefer when things are done properly and cost a couple of pounds more. It’s the collections put together with thought – and a track order that makes sense – that I will really go back and listen to. And especially when I am not so familiar with the artist, I also need information about the context of the tracks – where do they come from? Where and when were they first released etc… Otherwise I can also download them somewhere. THIS is why some people are “moaning” :-)

Paul Chapman

and this collection isn’t any of those things, it’s a cheap as chips £7 impulse buy for the casual fan, quite simple


No interest in any ‘best of’ or ‘greatest his’ whatsoever because I have all their albums on CD, apart from their last, including deluxe editions such as the recent ‘Octopus’ re-release.

John 79

What a disappointing release for real fans but a bargain for music lovers new to the Human League…..


This looks brilliant and has all the tracks such as Tom Baker and I don’t depend on you that tend to get overlooked. Top marks and top price.


Bloody awful front cover photo. Why not have a shot from their glory days instead of this atrocity where everyone looks fat, old and falling to pieces. Messy compilation; disc three is arguably the most interesting of all. If this turns up in a bargain bin I might grab it for the car but otherwise it’s a no from me.


Fat,old and falling to pieces?!Are we looking at the same picture?I’drather that picture than yet another 81/82 picture.


Fat, old & falling to pieces? Criticizing the contents is one thing, but delivering personal insults is below the belt. If it were possible perhaps you’d like to post a picture of yourself on here and allow us to pass a brutal playground level of judgement. Grow up.


Boooh that man… not very nice from you…
At least it’s not one of these ridiculous haircuts (“I think I’m going bald” – which group/record?)… and when you just take a look at one of the more actual shots on Discogs, you must admit, that they kept up quite well – especially the ladies…

Gareth Jones

There’s a lot of criticism here. But to me, at £7, it looks great and far more interesting than the rip-off box set I bought a while ago (which, fortunately, I got for £40 instead of £80, when HMV had it half price for a limited time). Let’s not forget, that expensive box set chose an instrumental of Sound Of The Crowd for no obvious reason. If I wanted a karaoke Human League track, I’d ask for it at karaoke night down the pub (….when pubs were open!).

martin farnworth

that was an odd decision. it would make an interesting karaoke track however. much less predictable than don’t you want me. :)

Derek Langsford

And with the William Orbit mix of Heart Like Wheel both sabotaged the first ever attempt at a comprehensive singles collection.

For the box I was patient and took advantage of a deep sale for around £30 from Amazon.de + shipping to CA for approx £35.50 total which was very reasonable versus the £80 full price.

Da id

Can’t complain for the price.Its a really haphazard collection though.Tracks flung all over the place from all era’s.7 Romantic? Tracks seems excessive.I do prefer the Orbit mix of STAG,but the single Mix of HLAW is far superior.Its such a shame the bands back catalogue is so undervalued.At this point I can’t see any of their albums getting reissued properly,no doubt a 40th anniversary edition of Dare next year though.


Hell of a lot of moaning for three CDs aimed at the mass market/casual collector and priced at 7 quid! Constantly seeing what is NOT on releases instead of what IS ;-)

Chris Marsh

I’m sure many of those comments are not point out what’s missing, rather to point out that the writer KNOWS what’s missing. It’s folk letting people how much they know about releases.


It is WAY Overdue for them to actually release something new and I just can’t see why they don’t. I have everything (including the overpriced box set) so not buying anything else til it’s new


“It is WAY Overdue for them to actually release something new and I just can’t see why they don’t.”

That’s a really strange thing to say…
Maybe they just haven’t written anything new or written anything that they feel is good enough for release. Not all artists can get into a ‘album a year’ writing rhythm…
If they released something sub-par we would be the first people moaning about the quality.

All I can say is I hope you are not a Peter Gabriel fan, or weren’t a Blue Nile fan :-)


worse I”m afraid Trash – I’m a Kate Bush fan. And don’t start me on the new Abba stuff.


@colinthebruce – ha ha, me too (Kate Bush, not so much Abba), so I feel your pain.

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that if any of my favourite (long term) artists release new material its a worth celebrating (and if its good then that’s a real bonus).

Mirror Man

The thing that interests me most is the choice of photo for the front cover.
I know that there were two different line ups that cover the vast majority of the tracks on this 3CD set but using what I presume is an up to date photo of Oakey/Sulley/Catherall on the front cover just doesn’t sit right with me..!