This music video from 1982 features a fictional wedding in which Human League vocalist Joanne Catherall weds her groom while lead singer Philip Oakey pines over her from the upper balcony. Yes, just like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. Only this is a New Wave Dustin Hoffman with killer cheekbones and a beauty mark (which seems to be a requirement for band members, as mirrored by Catherall and her blonde counterpart Susan Ann Sulley).
In fact, as a child I remember being captivated by Philip Oakey’s voice, and by that beautiful blonde singer with the beauty mark. And that beautiful brunette singer with the beauty mark. (Note: the video’s groom, also boasting a beauty mark and chiseled features, is played by Human League keyboardist Ian Burden.) Add Adrian Wright and Jo Callis, and you have a striking group of performers.
It just doesn’ get any better than this, folks. And can I just say, good call Philip Oakey for recruiting Catherall and Sulley on a whim. As the story goes, he spotted the two beauties–schoolgirls at the time–at The Crazy Daisy Nightclub in Sheffield, and invited them to join The Human League as dancers and vocalists. Word has it he had to get their parents’ permission. The timing was perfect, as conflict had recently led to a Human League break-up, and Oakey was days away from a European tour with only one other band member to take the stage with him. As you can see from the video, additional collaborators eventually came on board.
“Love Action (I Believe in Love)” was released in 1981 and reached #3 in the UK, but the video was filmed in 1982 to coincide with the single’s U.S. release. And of course, Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley certainly glammed it up! As you watch today’s video, be on the lookout for:
- an abundance of jean and leather jackets
- stylishly feathered hair (yes, it does exist)
- fashionably high-waisted pants
- pleated, voluminous clothing that–even when combined with gold jewelry–somehow manages to look cutting edge rather than country club
- the ’80s equivalent of “Gwen Stefani impact” in the realm of red lipstick
With fashion this good, you almost forget your need to make sense of the video’s voyeuristic element. Why are band members taking turns sitting in a darkened room viewing slides of other unsuspecting band members? Does all that matter when you see Joanne Catherall rock a puffy-sleeved leather jacket while traversing the walkway of a creepy apartment complex? We think not.