Mirror Man (song)

Mirror Man (song)
"Mirror Man"
Single by The Human League
from the album Fascination!
B-side "Non-Stop"
Released 27 November 1982
Format 7", 12" vinyl single
Recorded Genetic Studios, Reading, UK
Genre Synthpop
Length 3:52
Label Virgin Records, A&M Records
Writer(s) Philip Oakey, Jo Callis, Ian Burden
Producer Martin Rushent
The Human League singles chronology
"Don't You Want Me"
"Mirror Man"
"(Keep Feeling) Fascination"

"Mirror Man" is a Motown-inspired song by the British synthpop group The Human League. It was released as a single in the UK on 27 November 1982 and peaked at number two in the UK Singles Chart. It was written jointly by lead singer Philip Oakey with keyboard players Jo Callis and Ian Burden. The song features a lead vocal by Oakey and female backing vocals by Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall, analogue synthesizers by Callis, Philip Adrian Wright and Ian Burden (who also plays bass on the song). Drum machines, sequencing and programming were provided by producer Martin Rushent.



"Mirror Man" was the first track written and recorded by the Human League after they returned from their World Tour, conducted in the wake of the enormous international success of their album Dare. "Mirror Man" was conceived and written as a celebration of Philip Oakey and Philip Adrian Wright's love of Motown. It has been described as electronic northern soul, with Oakey's main verses delivered in deliberate sentences with emphasis on the last word of each sentence. Vocalists Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall feature heavily but have no lyrics, providing a backing of operatic "oohs" and "ahhs". Recording and production was overseen by Martin Rushent. It is possible to pick out his style in the sequencing and drum machine layers, ensuring "Mirror Man" would sound as if it had come from Dare.[1]

Speculation about who was the titular 'Mirror Man' was ended in 1988 when, during interviews to promote the band's Greatest Hits album, Oakey revealed that it was about Adam Ant. Oakey had become concerned that Ant was starting to believe his own publicity, and was in danger of losing touch with reality. Oakey had avoided revealing this at the time for fear of offending the song's subject.

The song was released as a single in the UK in November 1982. It was the first single the band had released since the unexpected phenomenal success of "Don't You Want Me" almost a year earlier. The single was tipped by the media as their second Christmas number-one single in the UK, but peaked just short, at number two.

Its release in the U.S. was delayed until May 1983 where it was incorporated into the stop gap EP Fascination!. A&M Records had refused to release it as a single "unless there was to be an album hot on its heels".[2] The track peaked at number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the fall of 1983.

Promotional video

The promotional video for "Mirror Man" was conceived and directed by Duffy[3]. The basic premise is that Oakey is a ghost of a performer who has died suddenly, and now inhabits a theatre where he reveals himself to a band (Human League) who have come to rehearse. The video is filmed on location at a deserted theatre in London. The main scenes are of Oakey in a dressing room singing to a mirror. Footage of the crash and death of John Cobb (whilst attempting to break the world water speed record on Loch Ness on 29 September 1952) is spliced in with Oakey's dressing room scene. Cryptic references are left in shot, including a British Vehicle excise duty disc with an expiry date of October 1981 which was the release date of Dare.

Chart performances


Chart Positions
Dutch Singles Chart 31
French Singles Chart[6] 84
New Zealand Singles Chart 23
Swedish Singles Chart 19
UK Singles Chart 2
US Billboard Hot 100 30


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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