|"Don't You Want Me"|
|Single by The Human League|
|from the album Dare|
|Released||27 November 1981|
|The Human League singles chronology|
It is the band's best known and most commercially successful recording and was the 1981 Christmas number one in the UK, where it has since sold over 1,560,000 copies, making it the 23rd most successful single in UK Singles Chart history. It later topped the Billboard Hot 100 in the US on 3 July 1982 where it stayed for three weeks. In 2015, the song was voted by the British public as the nation's 7th favourite 1980s number one in a poll for ITV.
The lyrics were originally inspired after lead singer Philip Oakey read a photo-story in a teen-girl's magazine. Originally conceived and recorded in the studio as a male solo, Oakey was inspired by the film A Star Is Born and decided to turn the song into a conflicting duet with one of the band's two teenage female vocalists. Susan Ann Sulley was then asked to take on the role. Up until then, she and the other female vocalist Joanne Catherall had only been assigned backing vocals; Sulley says she was chosen only through "luck of the draw". Musicians Jo Callis and Philip Adrian Wright created a synthesizer score to accompany the lyrics which was much harsher than the version that was actually released. Initial versions of the song were recorded but Virgin Records-appointed producer Martin Rushent was unhappy with them. He and Callis remixed the track, giving it a softer, and in Oakey's opinion, "poppy" sound. Oakey hated the new version and thought it would be the weakest track on Dare, resulting in one of his infamous rows with Rushent. Oakey disliked it so much that it was relegated to the last track on side two of the (then) vinyl album.
Before the release of Dare, three of its tracks--"The Sound of the Crowd", "Love Action (I Believe in Love)", and "Open Your Heart"--had already been released as successful singles. With a hit album and three hit singles in a row, Virgin's chief executive Simon Draper decided to release one more single from the album before the end of 1981. His choice, "Don't You Want Me", instantly caused a row with Oakey who did not want another single to be released because he was convinced that "the public were now sick of hearing The Human League" and the choice of the "poor quality filler track" would almost certainly be a disaster, wrecking the group's new-found popularity. Virgin were adamant that a fourth single would be released and Oakey finally agreed on the condition that a large colour poster accompany the 7" single, because he felt fans would "feel ripped off" by the 'substandard' single alone.
The Human League often added cryptic references to their productions and the record sleeve of "Don't You Want Me" featured the suffix of "100". This was a reference to The 100 Club, a restaurant/bar in Sheffield.
Today, the song is widely considered a classic of its era. In a retrospective review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, senior editor for AllMusic, described the song as "a devastating chronicle of a frayed romance wrapped in the greatest pop hooks and production of its year." Oakey still describes it as over-rated, but acknowledges his initial dismissal was misguided and claims pride in the track. Oakey is also at pains to point out another misconception: that it is not a love song, but "a nasty song about sexual power politics".
"Don't You Want Me" was released in the UK on 27 November 1981. The B side was "Seconds" another track lifted straight from the Dare album. Like previous singles, a 12" version was also issued featuring the original version of "Don't You Want Me" and "Seconds" on the A side and an "extended dance mix" lasting seven and a half minutes on the B side. This mix is also features on the Love and Dancing album released under the name of The League Unlimited Orchestra in 1982.
To the amazement of the band (and especially Oakey), it entered the UK Singles Chart at No.9 and shot to number one the following week, remaining there over the Christmas period for a total of five weeks. It ultimately became the biggest selling single to be released in 1981, and the fifth biggest selling single of the entire decade. Its success was repeated six months later in the US, with "Don't You Want Me" hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. Billboard magazine ranked it as the sixth-biggest hit of 1982. The single was certified Gold by the RIAA the same year for sales of a million copies. It is notable as the first song featuring the revolutionary Linn LM-1 drum machine to hit No. 1 on the UK charts and also the first LM-1 track to top the Billboard Hot 100.
The song was re-released in October 1995 as CD, cassette and 12" single featuring new remixes by Snap! and Red Jerry, peaking at No. 16 on the UK chart. The release coincided with the issue of the group's second "Greatest Hits" compilation album shortly afterwards, which featured the Snap 7" remix.
As of November 2012, "Don't You Want Me" is the 23rd best-selling single in the UK with 1.55 million copies sold. On 23 March 2014 the song re-entered the UK Singles Chart at number 19 and debuted at number 1 in the Scottish singles charts thanks to a social media campaign by fans of Aberdeen Football Club.
In 1981, record company Virgin were becoming aware that the promotional music video was evolving into an important marketing tool, with MTV being launched that year. Because it was agreed[by whom?] that the video for Open Your Heart had looked "cheap and nasty", Virgin commissioned a much more elaborate and expensive promotional video for "Don't You Want Me".
The video for the song was filmed near Slough, Berkshire, during November 1981 and has the theme of the filming and editing of a murder-mystery film, featuring the band members as characters and production staff. Due to it being a "making of" video, both crew and camera apparatus appear throughout. It was conceived and directed by filmmaker Steve Barron, and has at its core the interaction between a successful actress (also a 2nd negative cutter) played by Susan Ann Sulley walking out on "film director" Philip Oakey on a film set. It is loosely based on the film A Star Is Born. Near the end of the video, Wright, who also plays a film editor, has an expression on his face, while the camera pulls back to reveal that the negative room where Oakey, Wright, and Sulley were working in is yet another set (the camera can be seen in the mirror's reflection).
Filmed on a cold, wet, winter night, it was shot on 35mm film instead of the cheaper video tape prevalent at the time. Susan Sulley claims that Steve Barron was heavily influenced by the cinematography of Ultravox's video for "Vienna" (directed by Russell Mulcahy earlier that year). Steve Barron was also influenced by François Truffaut and his film Day for Night, and because of that the clapper board seen in the video bears the inscription "Le League Humaine" as a tribute to Truffaut.
The video is credited[by whom?] for making Oakey, Sulley and Catherall visual icons of the early 1980s but became controversial later for a scene involving the murder-mystery film subplot where Jo Callis appears to shoot Catherall (and later in the video repeated with Oakey shooting Sulley) with a pistol from a car window (a Saab 99 turbo). The scene is cut out of the DVD version and usually on music television, replaced with a montage of other shots from the video edited in slow-motion. The other car that was used in the video is a gold W-Reg Rover SD1. In a 1995 interview, Catherall mentioned that the car Callis was driving had to be pushed into shot as he couldn't drive at the time, to which Sulley added "he still can't!"
The video was released in December 1981.
Sales and certifications
In 2001, Virgin Records allowed the song to be used in a Fiat Punto commercial, starring Myfanwy Waring and James Daffern, where the latter actor spoke lyrics from the first verse and chorus over the accompanying background music. Fiat's use of the song prompted legal action from The Human League, who lost the case to Virgin. Susan Sulley later complained: "Now even if we wanted to use the song for a more worthy company, we can't because it will always be associated with a particular brand."[unreliable source?]
A campaign was started by Aberdeen F.C. fans in March 2014 to get the song to number one on the UK Singles Chart after their Scottish League Cup final victory against Inverness CT. The song peaked at No. 4 in the iTunes Download chart on 19 March 2014. The following Sunday, 23 March, the song re-entered at number nineteen on the UK Singles Chart.
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|"Don't You Want Me Baby"|
|Single by Mandy Smith|
|"If It Makes You Feel Good"|
|Mandy Smith singles chronology|
In 1989 English pop singer Mandy covered this song under the title of "Don't You Want Me Baby". Released as a standalone single after her only album Mandy, it was also Smith's final single and became her only single to hit the UK top 75, peaking at #59. The B-side, "If It Makes You Feel Good", featured on the album. The song was included as a bonus track on the 2009 reissue of her album.
|UK Singles Chart||59|
|Irish Singles Chart||30|
|Italian Singles Chart||13|
|"Don't You Want Me"|
|Single by The Farm|
|from the album Love See No Colour|
|The Farm singles chronology|
British band The Farm released a cover of The Human League version of Don't You Want Me in October 1992 which got to no. 18 in the UK charts, making it their third most successful single after 1990's All Together Now and Groovy Train.
An uncredited female singer features as lead vocal on the second verse, as sung by Susanne Sulley on the original version.
|"Don't You Want Me"|
|Single by Alcazar|
|from the album Casino|
|Alcazar singles chronology|
"Don't You Want Me" is a Eurodance song performed by Swedish band Alcazar and released internationally in 2002. The song was included to the European version of Casino together with a few other, and was recorded in Stockholm at first, but when they wanted it for a new pan-European single, a whole new version was made.
The single was released in Australia as a follow up to the successful single "Crying at the Discoteque" and the release includes the "Ivan's X Mix" of CATD as a bonus. The white 12 inch was released in Europe and distributed to DJs to get maximum airplay at the disco arenas.
So far "Don't You Want Me" is the biggest hit for the group in United States, climbing to No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and staying on the chart for 15 weeks.
The video was filmed at Filmhuset in Stockholm, and once again Jesper Ganslandt directed it all. As always in Alcazar videos the storyline takes place in "Alcazar world" - and this time it all took place in "Circus Alcazar". The video is filled with horses, ducks, an evil parrot, acrobats and the Alcazar ballet.
The whole video shoot took almost 23 hours, and actually includes Annikafiore's boyfriend juggling with fire in the background The Alcazar dog Selma was styled in a pink ballerina dress and waited the whole day for the filming of her scene where she would perform jumps in the circus arena.
These are the formats and track listings of promotional single releases of "Don't You Want Me".
|Australian ARIA Singles Chart||37|
|Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders)||21|
|Dutch Singles Chart||83|
|Finnish Singles Chart||18|
|Swedish Singles Chart||30|
|Swiss Singles Chart||76|
|Hot Dance Club Play||30|