July 15, 2024

Sheffield Scene Part 1: The Human League

As a celebration to the music scene of the Steel City, I have decided to highlight some of the best bands the place has to offer.

Over the next few days and weeks I will be picking a band or singer that came out of Sheffield’s rich, gritty, industrial background. Highlighting those well known and less well known music stars, I will detail their background, sound and give you a track that best defines them.

So, first off the band that probably most of the population of Sheffield’s factory workforce could relate to the most; The Human League.

Meeting in a hairdressers near Pond Street, the individuals decided to form a group immediately. They were all queuing for their hair cutting one Saturday morning and passing the time talking about who would be number one on Sunday, when Suzanne one of the founding men of the group said, quite jokingly, they could do better than Duran Duran.

In a moment that froze in time, all thought they actually could. In a blur all were in a studio banging pieces of metal against each other. “It happened reyt quick like” said Phil Oakley, the lead singer. ” one minute I am having mi ‘air cut, like, the next I am signing about Being Boiled. I dint even ‘ave chance to cut other side o’ mi ‘air……like.”

Their sound and lyrics reflected life in Sheffield, as the title of their single The Lebanon highlights. The gritty industrial sound was both rebellious of the disco age that defined the early 80’s and set the pace for many other bands. Their look drew them close to the factory workers and miners alike.

After many hits, the strain of trying to hit high notes and fighting over make up, the band decided to call it a day.

This is probably their defining moment, a song describing a woman’s plight of signing on whilst still working:

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