Don’t You Want Me – Human League | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: (#1 for 3 weeks) July, 1982

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

First, Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware formed Dead Daughters in 1977. Then, they brought on Phil Oakey and Adrian Wright and became The Future, and then, The Human League. After two album releases and some charted singles, Marsh and Ware left over artistic differences on the eve of a German tour. So here’s our poor boy Phil, hanging his head at a nightclub, when he spots two teenage girls dancing together. Problem solved! Phil recruits the girls, Joanne Catherall and Susanne Sulley, as additions to the band, and off they go. The first album release (Dare) by this new configuration yielded three Top 10 singles in their native England in four months. The third one, Don’t You Want Me, gave Virgin Records its first #1 hit, then repeated the feat in the U.S. More importantly, it kicked off a string of synthesizer-driven pop hits that defined the sound of the 1980’s.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Martin Rushent

Lyrics Written by:

  • Jo Callis
  • Philip Oakey
  • Philip Adrian Wright


  • Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough Act in 1982
  • Nominated for the Best New Artist award at the 25th Annual Grammy Awards in 1983