Heart Like a Wheel (The Human League song)

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"Heart Like a Wheel"
Single by The Human League
from the album Romantic?
B-side "Rebound"
Released 6 August 1990
Format 7", 12", 2 x CD single
Recorded Genetic Sound Studio 1990
Genre Synthpop
Length 4:30
Label Virgin Records
Writer(s) Jo Callis, Eugene Reynolds
Producer(s) Martin Rushent
The Human League singles chronology
"Love Is All That Matters"
"Heart Like a Wheel"
"Soundtrack to a Generation"

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"Heart Like a Wheel" is a song by the British synthpop group The Human League. It is taken from their 1990 album Romantic?.


"Heart Like a Wheel" was the first single to be taken from the Human League's Romantic? album of 1990. It was written by former band member Jo Callis with Eugene Reynolds (of The Rezillos) and features vocals by Philip Oakey, Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley; with the synthesizer skills of Neil Sutton. It was recorded at Genetic Sound Studios during 1990 and produced by Martin Rushent who was reconciled with the band after an eight-year gap.

The song is a return to the overtly political lyrics that the Human League sometimes do, but dressed up to a poppy hook that makes it palatable to the public. Whereas "The Lebanon" of 1984 was the Human League’s view of the Israeli Invasion of Southern Lebanon and subsequent civil war, "Heart Like a Wheel" is supposedly a commentary on U.S. military imperialism. Callis's lyrics are suitably vague using references such as "sell your soul to a holy war". At a time when Jihad was all but unheard of in the West, it went over the heads of most of the song's listeners. 11 years after its release, the events of '9/11, followed by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, would make the song seem written for that epoch. Although it is rarely something the band dwell on allowing people to read what they want into the lyrics.[1]

Released in the UK in August 1990, "Heart Like a Wheel" reached number 29 in the UK and number 32 in the US. A decade after the release, the record is still popular, featuring in a number of third party remixes including some by William Orbit. Also the band frequently play the song live, as it is a very live-friendly track and although not one of their greatest hits, it is still very popular with audiences. Oakey also now often explains the political message to the audiences usually describing it "an anti-war song".[1]

Track listing[edit]

  • CD 1 1990, Virgin (VSCDT 1262)
  1. "Heart Like a Wheel" - 4:30
  2. "Heart Like a Wheel" (Extended Mix) - 6:55
  3. "Rebound" - 3:58
  4. "Heart Like a Wheel" (Remix) - 4:37
  • CD 2 1990, Virgin (VSCDX 1262)
  1. "Heart Like a Wheel" - 4:30
  2. "Heart Like a Wheel" (Extended Mix) - 6:55
  3. "Rebound" - 3:58
  4. "A Doorway" (Dub Mix) - 4:29


External links[edit]