The song was pressed as a single by Virgin Records following the release of the Travelogue album, but it was then decided to re-release the song "Empire State Human" (from the band's first album) instead and include "Only After Dark" as a free single to be given away with the first 15,000 copies of "Empire State Human". This was perceived by the band as a total lack of faith in their newer material, causing great resentment and anger, and would be one of the issues that contributed to the split of this line-up of The Human League some months later. As a free single it wasn't included in the UK chart mechanism, though the re-release of "Empire State Human" to which it belonged peaked at #62.
Fellow Sheffield band, Def Leppard covered "Only After Dark" in 1992, as a b-side to their UK #2 hit single, "Let's Get Rocked". Their version was later included on the 1993 compilation Retro Active; a collection of touched-up versions of B-sides and previously unreleased recordings from the band's recording sessions between 1984 and 1993.