Number One Albums: #2


  • HOWARD JONES Human’s Lib (WEA)
  • Week Ending March 17th (for 10 weeks)
  • Week Ending June 23rd (for 2 weeks)
  • Total Weeks On The Top 30 – 40

Well, here we are once more.

(Chorus of “Oh No!” from the stalls).

Yep, it’s that man again with that album again. What more can I possibly find to say about Howard Jones and Human’s Lib? Previously, we covered the album as part of my Top 100 Albums Of All-Time, plus individual write-ups for the singles which topped my chart (What Is Love?, Hide & Seek and Pearl In The Shell). On top of that, I kicked off the popular Fantasy Deluxe series with a 4-disc take on the album.

Let’s rewind to March 1984, and the week of its release. I’d got into the album-buying swing of things with Into The Gap, and enjoyed everything about it, but the prospect of a whole album from the artist I was really, properly obsessed with, was something else completely. The excitement!

Then, somehow I got wind of an in-store signing at the then-“flagship” HMV in Oxford Street. The one with endless steep staircases. Not sure where I read or heard about it, there’s nothing in the Smash Hits or No.1 Magazines of the period, but nevertheless I simply HAD to be there. Howard Jones, in the flesh, signing this album I’d not even heard yet. The excitement!


HMV Oxford Street, sometime in the mid-1980s.

Come the day, I arranged for Mum and Dad to pick me up after school instead of coming home on the bus, and we set off by Tube to London. I’d already been to the multi-storey music store in the past, owing to my Dad’s passion for classical music, but that was pre-1983 and I hadn’t taken much notice (I have memories of Queen’s Hot Space album cover everywhere at the front, so I’m guessing it was mid-1982).

Unfortunately, upon arrival there was no sign of a signing about to take place. Enquiries revealed that the event had been cancelled. HoJo was a No Show. The disappointment!

I still bought a copy of the album that evening, regardless. I wasn’t going to deprive myself of that, especially after such an effort to get there. As soon as I was back home, I put it on and the opening bars of Conditioning had me hooked; to my delight (and relief) the entire record was fantastic. Obviously I would eventually discover that not all albums were as flawless as the first two I had chosen to purchase!

Human’s Lib unsurprisingly topped my album chart for that week, with Thompson Twins down to #2 and Simple Minds holding steady at #3 after someone at school had kindly lent me the LP to listen to overnight and I became transfixed by Side One’s brilliance.


Since the previous featured chart, a few notable new entries had appeared…..albums from Queen, The Smiths, Nik Kershaw and Madness, and they were still in my Top 10 (even though I’d not actually heard anything on them except the hits). But looking back, what a selection that is. Those are all albums I still regularly listen to.

It would be late May before anything could topple the mighty Human’s Lib, and it returned to the top in June after Pearl In The Shell‘s release as its fourth and final single.



  1. You were unlucky that the Howard Jones in-store signing was cancelled, otherwise you would have had a copy with his signature.

    The only Howard Jones albums that I have are “Human’s Lib” and “Dream Into Action”. After that he was no longer heard on Dutch radio and I lost track of him. The same can be said for Nik Kershaw. He was also very successful with his first two albums.

    But to come back to Howard Jones. His debut album “Human’s Lib” was so good that he could never match or surpass this album. “Dream Into Action” isn’t a bad album, but it isn’t as good as his first album. I still have the cassette that I made of “Human’s Lib” and of the 12″ Inch of “Hide & Seek”.

    Perhaps you are not going to believe this, but Howard Jones only had two hits here in the Dutch Top 40 : “Hide & Seek” and “Life In One Day”. The first one peaked at number 28 and the second one at number 27. His Album “Human’s Lib” peaked at number 15 in the Dutch album charts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Strange how he fared so poorly in the Netherlands! And those two singles which did make the Top 30 are quite random ones. Surprised that What Is Love? wasn’t a hit there.


  3. Sorry for my late reply. Yes, it is strange that his singles did so poorly in the Netherlands. It was a surprise for me as well that “What Is Love?” didn’t reach the Dutch Top 40. I really liked this song.


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