Boys and Girls (The Human League song)

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"Boys and Girls"
Single by The Human League
B-side "Tom Baker"
Released 20 Feb 1981
Format 7" Vinyl Single
Recorded Monumental Studios, Sheffield, England
Genre Synthpop, new wave, dark wave
Length 3:14
Label Virgin
Songwriter(s) Philip Oakey, Philip Adrian Wright
Producer(s) John Leckie
The Human League singles chronology
"Only After Dark"
"Boys and Girls"
"Sound of the Crowd"

"Only After Dark"
"Boys and Girls"
"Sound of the Crowd"

"Boys and Girls" is a song by the British synthpop group The Human League. It was released as a single in the UK in February 1981 and peaked at number 48 in the UK Singles Charts. It was written by lead singer Philip Oakey and the band's visual director / keyboard player Philip Adrian Wright.

It was the first single released by the new Human League line-up of Oakey, Wright together with new teenage dancers Susanne Sulley (now called Susan Ann Sulley) and Joanne Catherall, although the latter two did not perform on the record and only appear on the picture sleeve. The new line-up formed after the acrimonious departure of Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh from the band four months earlier.


By late 1980 Oakey was deeply in debt to Virgin Records so both he and the label were keen that he release a single to start clearing that debt as early in 1981 as possible.

"Boys and Girls" was a song that had been used on the November 1980 European tour. On return from the tour it was recorded quickly and rushed out by Virgin Records in late February 1981.


The single was initially issued in a gatefold picture sleeve although contained a single 7" disc only with the instrumental track "Tom Baker" as the B-side. After a limited gatefold run it was released in a regular picture sleeve. At the time it was remarked on that Sulley and Catherall were missing from the song, after the mythology that had been started in the media about their recent recruitment to the band from the Crazy Daisy Nightclub four months earlier. This was because they had both returned to school full-time and "Boys and Girls" was originally written without any female vocals. Although both Sulley and Catherall do feature on the record sleeve artwork and publicity material. Reviewing the single in the NME, Stuart Maconie remarked:

Reviewing the single for Smash Hits, critic David Hepworth stated "Sometimes I wonder whether these boys (and nowadays girls) seriously crave a hit or not" and invited the band to "Shape up"[2]


With the benefit of hindsight critics now state that 'Boys and Girls' belongs to the earlier pre split Mk 1 Human League experimental electronic sound of Travelogue. It would be the last time that style was produced by the band as they evolved towards the Dare album sound within months.[3]
Both "Boys and Girls" and the B side "Tom Baker" were included on the 2003 remastered reissue of the Travelogue album in 2003.
Although the song was never included on any of the groups hit singles compilation albums, it did feature on the career-spanning "A Very British Synthesiser Group" anthology.[4]


  1. ^ Kolling, Niels "Boys and Girls" on BHOS
  2. ^ Hepworth, David (19 February 1981). "Single reviews". Smash Hits. 3 (4): 24.
  3. ^ Windle, Rob Human League Bio, 2003 Archived 9 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ ""A Very British Synthesiser Group"". Retrieved 2016-09-09.

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