Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Soundtrack to a Generation (song)

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Released  12 November 1990
Genre  Synthpop
Format  7", 12", 2 x CD
Length  4:21
B-side  "Soundtrack To A Generation (Instrumental)"
Recorded  Human League Studios, Sheffield, 1990

"Soundtrack to a Generation" is a song by the British synthpop group The Human League. It is taken from the album, Romantic?, from 1990.



"Soundtrack to a Generation" is the second and final single to be taken from Romantic?. It would be the band's final original release under their contract with Virgin Records. It was written by lead singer Philip Oakey and keyboard player Neil Sutton and features vocals by Oakey, Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley.

It was recorded at HL studios in Sheffield during 1990 and produced by Bob Kraushaar. After the moderate success of "Heart Like a Wheel" in 1990, Virgin agreed to release a second single from Romantic? In an attempt to resurrect their past, the band advertised the track as 'Red', a reference to their old early 1980s labeling system of 'Red' for dance tracks and 'Blue' for pop songs. The reference was lost on all but the most knowledgeable fans.


Released in the UK in November 1990, "Soundtrack to a Generation" flopped badly reaching only number 77 in the UK singles chart, and charting for two weeks. It was to be the worst performance of a Human League single for ten years.

Although "Soundtrack to a Generation" was called "likable" in some sections of the music press who praised Oakey's profound lyric of "all I knew at 17 is all I know now". It was also heavily criticized elsewhere, particularly for Sulley and Catherall's idiosyncratic incidental "holy cow!" exclamations.

After losing money on the single's promotion and its music video, it would be the point that Virgin Records ran out of patience with the Human League. There would be no further releases from Romantic? and within a year the band would be dropped by the label.

Promotional video

The music video for "Soundtrack to a Generation" was a simply shot studio performance of the song with video smudge effects and a video overlay of falling leaves to give an "autumn" effect. The band's dress style had been a deliberate attempt to distance themselves from the over-stylized, late-1980s videos. There was little change in Catherall, but Oakey had re-adopted long hair and wore leather chaps. Susan Ann Sulley had adopted a "Supermodel" style of a very short dress and bouffant blonde hair. The video would be keyboard player and co-songwriter Neil Sutton's first onscreen appearance with the band.

Track listing

  • CD 1 1990, Virgin (VSCDT 1303)
    1. "Soundtrack to a Generation" (Edit) - 4:01
    2. "Soundtrack to a Generation" (Orbit Mix) - 6:03
    3. "Soundtrack to a Generation" (Instrumental) - 4:32
    4. "Soundtrack to a Generation" (Pan Belgian Mix) - 4:40
  • CD 2 1990, Virgin (VSCDX 1303)
    1. "Soundtrack to a Generation" (Pan Belgian Dub) - 5:55
    2. "Soundtrack to a Generation" (808 Mix Instrumental) - 4:44
    3. "Soundtrack to a Generation" (Dave Dodd's Mix) - 6:07
    4. "Soundtrack to a Generation" (Acapella) - 2:47


    Soundtrack to a Generation (song) Wikipedia

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