Human League – ‘Only After Dark’ West German 7″ (Virgin, 102 148-100, 1980)

‘Only After Dark’ should have been the second single released from the ‘Travelogue’ album in the UK – and indeed copies were pressed up, complete with a long version of ‘Toyota City’ on the B side, catalogue number VS351. But it appears that it was a record company choice and so much to the displeasure of the band that they objected to its release (as told in the wonderful Blind Youth website). Instead, Virgin went with the re-press and re-release of ‘Empire State Human’ instead (and also on 12” too this time) with the same VS351 catalogue number as ‘Only After Dark’ and shrink-wrapped copies of that and ‘Only After Dark’ together as another value for money double-pack limited edition (15,000, apparently) like the ‘Holiday ‘80’ EP before it. That’s the version I bought anyway and I must admit, I never realised that officially it was ‘Empire State Human’ as the lead single – I always assumed it was ‘Only After Dark’.

Human League - 'Only After Dark' West German 7" front cover design

^ Human League – ‘Only After Dark’ West German 7″ front cover design

No such confusion in the West German territory of the era, as we see here. ‘Only After Dark’ was quite clearly the choice of single first and foremost from ‘Travelogue’, backed with another album track on the B side, the wonderful closing album track, ‘WXJL Tonight’.

Neither the ‘Holiday ‘80’ EP nor ‘Empire State Human’ were issued as singles in West Germany at the time – so, I would guess that this single possibly came out before the album? That might explain the choice of ‘WXJL Tonight’ as the B side, since in the UK the ‘Empire State Human’/‘Only After Dark’ double-pack definitely came after the album release.

If anyone knows for sure, do please leave a comment.

Human League - 'Only After Dark' West German 7" rear cover design

^ Human League – ‘Only After Dark’ West German 7″ rear cover design

Human League - 'Only After Dark' West German 7" label design side 1

^ Human League – ‘Only After Dark’ West German 7″ label design side 1

Human League - 'Only After Dark' West German 7" label design side 2

^ Human League – ‘Only After Dark’ West German 7″ label design side 2

2 Responses to “Human League – ‘Only After Dark’ West German 7″ (Virgin, 102 148-100, 1980)”

  1. I cannot understand the label love for “Only After Dark” over the brilliance of “The Black Hit of Space” or especially the massive 2nd version of “Being Boiled” from “Travelogue.” I don’t have either pressing of “Only After Dark,” but that’s not to say i would pass one up out in the wilds. After all, I only recently got the “Empire State Human” 7″ and need to see if it is the original pressing or the reissue. I really should/i>< own the early Human League singles since they are so significant to me. The one with the most allure is probably "Boys + Girls." That record amazes me since it showed that without Martyn and Ian that Phil and Philip could carry on in a consistent vein but of course, "Dare" changed everything. Not really for the better.

  2. admin says:

    The workings of record labels and their single choices can be a strange thing at times. In ‘Boys and Girls’ though, what is so amazing is how quickly both Human League and Heaven 17 were up and running and releasing their first singles after the split. A whole different era – similarly, the fast turnaround from recording an album and its release (sometimes two albums a year! (Think OMitD, Ultravox!, XTC, Monochrome Set, etc…)

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