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Reproduction is the first album released by British synthpop group The Human League. The album was released in 1979 through Virgin Records.

Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 1979
StudioWorkshop Studio in Sheffield
GenreNew wave, electronic, synthpop, industrial
ProducerThe Human League, Colin Thurston
The Human League chronology
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[1]
Smash Hits8/10[2]


Reproduction contains nine tracks of electronic/synthpop with some elements of industrial music, and was recorded during six weeks at The Human League's studio in Sheffield.[citation needed] The recordings were co-produced by Colin Thurston, who had previously worked on some key new wave recordings such as Iggy Pop's Lust for Life and Magazine's Secondhand Daylight, and who went on to produce numerous hit albums of the 1980s, most notably for Duran Duran. The album was composed and engineered by The Human League (Oakey/Ware/Marsh) and Bob Last for Virgin Records. The album includes The Human League's cover version of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", a hit single in 1965 for The Righteous Brothers.


The cover shows the feet of a man and two women seemingly standing on a number of naked babies. This was at the instruction of the band, but band member Martyn Ware described how the band's brief was misinterpreted by the record company's art department:

"We said we wanted an image of a glass dance floor in a discotheque which people were dancing on and beneath this, a lit room full of babies. It was meant to look like a still from a film – like some kind of dystopian vision of the future – but it just looks like they're treading on babies. We were quite upset but at that time, it was too late to change it."[3]

Commercial performanceEdit

The album's initial release in October 1979 was a commercial failure, but it was re-issued and entered the charts almost two years later in August 1981, earning a Silver disc by the end of the year and peaking at #34 in early 1982.[citation needed] The album spent a total of 23 weeks in the album chart and was certified Gold by the BPI in 1988.

The only single released from the album was "Empire State Human" which initially failed to chart. It was re-released in June 1980 (with a free single taken from the band's second album, Travelogue) and reached #62.[citation needed] The band's first single from 1978, "Being Boiled", was not included on the original release of Reproduction, but was added as an extra track on all CD issues from the late 1980s onwards. However, re-recorded version of that single's B-side, "Circus of Death", was included on the album.[citation needed]

Track listingEdit

  1. "Almost Medieval" – 4:43
  2. "Circus of Death" – 3:55
  3. "The Path of Least Resistance" – 3:33
  4. "Blind Youth" – 3:25
  5. "The Word Before Last" – 4:04
  6. "Empire State Human" – 3:17
  7. "Morale...You've Lost That Loving Feeling" – 9:39
  8. "Austerity/Girl One (Medley)" – 6:44
  9. "Zero as a Limit" – 4:13

The following tracks were first added when the album was released on CD in 1989:

  1. "Introducing" – 3:19
  2. "The Dignity of Labour part 1" – 4:22
  3. "The Dignity of Labour part 2" – 2:53
  4. "The Dignity of Labour part 3" – 3:56
  5. "The Dignity of Labour part 4" – 3:52
  6. "Flexi Disc" – 4:11
  7. "Being Boiled" (Fast Version) – 3:54
  8. "Circus of Death" (Fast Version) – 4:38

"Introducing" was originally the B-side of the "Empire State Human" single. The master tape of this recording probably got lost since a digitized vinyl recording was used for the CD. The instrumental "The Dignity of Labour" tracks had been released as an EP in 1979 with "Flexi Disc" (a tongue-in-cheek in-studio meta-conversation between the members of the band and their manager, Bob Last, about their plans to include a flexidisc with their EP and what to put on it). The last two tracks were the A- and B-sides of the band's first single, "Being Boiled", released before they signed to Virgin. The 'Fast Version' (so-called because of the label the single was released on – Fast Product) of "Circus of Death" is shorter than the original single version as it does not have the spoken end of the song.

The original vinyl release of the album included some musique concrète-style vocal recordings, seemingly from the radio or television, between some tracks. Of note, 'knit one, purl one' could be heard on side one. These elements were not included in subsequent CD reissues.

Chart positionsEdit

Chart (1981) Peak
UK Albums Chart[4] 34


  1. ^ "Reproduction - Human League". Allmusic.
  2. ^ Starr, Red. "Albums". Smash Hits (18–31 Feb 1979): 29.
  3. ^ Rachael Stevens (11 October 2013). "Creative Review blog "The Human League and a vision of the future"".
  4. ^ "The Official Charts Company - Reproduction by The Human League Search". The Official Charts Company. 3 April 2015.