"Don't You Want Me" is a single by British synthpop group The Human League. It is the band's best known and most commercially successful recording to date. In 1981 it was the Christmas number one in the UK, where it has since sold over 1,560,000 copies, making it the 23rd most successful single in UK Singles Chart history. It later topped the Billboard Hot 100 in the US on 3 July 1982 where it stayed for three weeks.
An urban myth has grown around the song that it is autobiographical. This is untrue. Susan Ann Sulley is often irritated that she constantly has to refute the mistaken belief that the song is a reference to her and Joanne Catherall joining the band. At only 17 years old when the song was recorded, she was legally too young by UK law to have been a cocktail waitress and was, in fact, still in Secondary School.
"Don't You Want Me" was released in the UK on 27 November 1981. To the amazement of the band, it shot to number one on the UK charts. This success was repeated six months later in the US, with "Don't You Want Me" hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. Billboard magazine ranked it as the sixth-biggest hit of 1982. The single was certified Gold by the RIAA the same year for sales of a million copies. As of November 2012, "Don't You Want Me" is the 23rd best-selling single in the UK with 1.55 million copies sold.
The video was released in December 1981, just as the music video culture was becoming an integral part of the pop music scene, and it was a major contribution to the song's commercial success.
Although The Human League came from Sheffield, I couldn't recall having ever met or even seen Phil Oakey around Sheffield. I knew both the girls as they used to hang out all the time in the same club as me called 'The Limit' in the early 80's and I knew Martin Ware well as he had a record shop and I used go to buy records from him.
But about four years ago I was standing outside a bank in the city centre while Steve went inside to sort out his money. All of a sudden I noticed Phil Oakey walking towards me with a big smile on his face and he gushingly said 'Hiya' and he greeted me with a big hug and kissed me on the cheek like he'd known me for years!
He then said
"Oh My God!, I haven't seen you for years, how've you been keeping? "
"Fine thanks. How are you?" I replied as though I'd known him for years.
"Yeah doing really well. God! how long has it been since The Limit?" *Blows* "It must be 25 to 30 years!
I realised it was probably a case of mistaken identity - although it would have been nice to think that he had actually recognised me from the 'Limit' days!
"Doesn't time pass! Oh you know what? it's really great seeing you again"
"Yeah it's really nice seeing you again too"
To which I got another hug and he told me to "take care" as he dissappeared off down the road!
Steve then came out of the bank and I said "you'll never guess what's just happened!"
To this day I have no idea whether I was who he thought I was or not!