Human Nature (Gary Clail On-U Sound System song)

"Human Nature" is a song performed and written by English singer and record producer Gary Clail. It is produced by Adrian Sherwood and features Lana Pellay on backing vocals. Released in 1991 by Perfecto and RCA as the first single from Clail's second album, Emotional Hooligan (1991), it was critically acclaimed, being named Single of the Week by Melody Maker and Record Mirror. The song peaked at number ten on the UK Singles Chart and number three on the UK Dance Singles Chart. It was also the theme tune to BBC 2's TV-show Snub TV.

"Human Nature"
Variant for CD and vinyl editions
Single by Gary Clail On-U Sound System
from the album Emotional Hooligan
Songwriter(s)Gary Clail
Producer(s)Adrian Sherwood
Gary Clail On-U Sound System singles chronology
"Human Nature"
"The Emotional Hooligan"
Music video
"Human Nature" on YouTube

It was originally intended to use a sample of a speech by Billy Graham on the track, but his representatives refused permission, so the song used portions of the speech re-recorded by Clail. However, some promo 12" singles featuring the Billy Graham sample were pressed and distributed.[1][2]

Chart performance


"Human Nature" peaked at number ten on the UK Singles Chart,[3] and number three on the UK Dance Singles Chart. It also reached number 27 in Ireland[4] and number 69 in the Netherlands.[5] On the Eurochart Hot 100, the single peaked at number 29 in April 1991. Outside Europe, it peaked at number 38 in Australia.[6]

Critical reception


Andrew Smith from Melody Maker named "Human Nature" Single of the Week, writing, "The surprise is that this is, in essence, a house groove fed through the On-U blender and wrapped raucously round a sample of Martin Luther King declaring: "There's something wrong with human nature..." It's a big, vibrant linear thing, which kicks like a 12-gauge and locks onto its ultimately enthralling climax from the first, like a modern day "Bolero" (only, of course, much less dull)."[7] Pan-European magazine Music & Media complimented it as an "outstanding" song from the Emotional Hooligan album.[8] James Hamilton from Music Week called it a "bassily chugging angry roller".[9]

James Brown from NME described it as "another electrifying club track that brings the old On-U Sound up to date and bullies the social conscience with its words. Boxheads will recognize its staple technique as being the Snub signature tune, but of course there's more. Comic strip-per Lana Pellay adds a Bacchanalian chorus call, and Sherwood and Oakenfold do the business at the controls. Light, tight, and destined to beat up the charts. The man has presence."[10] Record Mirror also named it Single of the Week. An editor, Jack Barron, wrote, "With all the momentum of a nailbomb explosion in the privates, Gary Clail spins once more into orbit riding on the back of a stellar keyboard riff, which you'll instantly recognise as the theme tune to Snub TV". He added, "As a purely physical club experience, 'Human Nature' is like strapping yourself to a roller-coaster that suddenly leaves the rails."[11]

Track listing

  • 7" single, UK & Europe (1991)
  1. "Human Nature" (On the Mix Edit)
  2. "Human Nature" (Why Is It? Mix)
  • 12" single, Europe (1991)
  1. "Human Nature" (On the Mix) — 6:18
  2. "Rumours" — 4:40
  • CD single, UK & Europe (1991)
  1. "Human Nature" (On the Mix Edit) — 3:40
  2. "Human Nature" (On the Mix) — 6:18
  3. "Rumours" — 4:40


Chart (1991) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[6] 38
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[12] 29
Ireland (IRMA)[4] 27
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40 Tipparade)[13] 16
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[5] 69
UK Singles (OCC)[3] 10
UK Dance (Music Week)[14] 3


  1. ^ "Gary Clail On-U Sound System". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Gary Clail & On-U Sound System – Human Nature". Discogs. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Gary Clail On-U Sound System". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Gary Clail On-U Sound System". Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Gary Clail On-U Sound System". Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Gary Clail On-U Sound System". Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  7. ^ Smith, Andrew (2 March 1991). "Singles". Melody Maker. p. 36. Retrieved 5 April 2023.
  8. ^ "Spotlight: Gary Clail" (PDF). Music & Media. 27 April 1991. p. 13. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  9. ^ Hamilton, James (23 March 1991). "Dance" (PDF). Music Week. p. 14. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  10. ^ Brown, James (23 March 1991). "Singles". NME. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  11. ^ Barron, Jack (23 March 1991). "Singles". Record Mirror. p. 14. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  12. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. 20 April 1991. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Gary Clail On-U Sound System - Human Nature" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Top 60 Dance Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 30 March 1991. p. 26. Retrieved 27 September 2020.