Side by side: The Human League – ‘Being Boiled’ on Fast Product 1978/1980

An unarguable release of merit, The Human League’s debut single ‘Being Boiled/’Circus of Death’, released to the world via Bob Last’s ‘Fast Product‘ label in 1978 and which had the likes of David Bowie proclaiming them as the future (hehehe). If you were there in the day you’d have the original issue, but being that bit behind the curve, I came across this original recording of the song (as opposed to the ‘Travelogue’ era reprogramming by the Boys of Buddah…) when it was first re-issued in 1980.

The Human League 'Being Boiled' Fast Product release sleeve design

^ The Human League ‘Being Boiled’ Fast Product release sleeve design

1982, surely, I hear you say… as in when it was a post-‘Don’t You Want Me’ hit which prompted their then current label Virgin to cry foul and re-release their own later re-recording of the song on 45 format?

No, 1980 it is. For that is when it was first re-issued, alongside the Gang of Four’s ‘Damaged Goods’ EP, another Fast Product. September 1980, to be more exact, and for good measure, reproduced below is the advert for it that appeared in the music press (specifically, Smash Hits in this example).

Smash Hits advert for the 1980 Fast Product re-issue singles

^ Smash Hits advert for the 1980 Fast Product re-issue singles

As it happens, when I later came across a copy of the 1978 pressing I realised that it wasn’t a 100% exact copy, the principle difference being a radically different label design, so here side by side are the two issues.

1978 and 1980 issues side-by-side

^ 1978 and 1980 issues side-by-side

For the sleeve design, only minimal changes – the front design is unaltered, while the rear sees the addition of the FAST 4 catalogue number and the removal of the Delga Press printers credit.

Rear sleeve designs side by side: 1980 re-issue (left) and (rather tatty condition) 1978 original (right)

^ Rear sleeve designs side by side: 1980 re-issue (left) and (rather tatty condition) 1978 original (right)

It is with the label designs that the change are radical, as you will see in the following close-ups of both issues A and B sides.

Both of these issues include the “Think we’ll ever find any real intelligent life out there? Who cares?” dialogue at the end of ‘Circus of Death’, which was missed off of the later inclusion on the CD re-issue of ‘Reproduction’.

1978 issue label A side

^ 1978 issue label A side

1978 issue label B side

^ 1978 issue label B side

"History catches up with you" - 1980 issue label A side

^ “History catches up with you” – 1980 issue label A side

"You catch up with history" - 1980 issue label B side

^ “You catch up with history” – 1980 issue label B side

3 Responses to “Side by side: The Human League – ‘Being Boiled’ on Fast Product 1978/1980”

  1. MemberD says:

    Fascinating. and the 1978 issue seems to be in excelelnt nick. well done.

  2. Nice find on the original pressing 🙂 FYI There are official promo/demo copies of the 1980 reissue with “Demo Record Not For Resale” printed on both labels…

  3. Rober Fligg says:

    Both of these tracks appear on Fast’s Mutant Pop compilation, as well, as full versions. The “Think we’ll find any intelligent life out there. Who cares.” dialogue is lifted from John Carpenter’s “Dark Star” (1974).

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