Martin Rushent: From Punk to Electro

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2007 interview with the recently departed producer of The Stranglers, XTC, Buzzcocks and Human League. 

Production discography

In my experience, the longer you spend making a piece of music, the more likely it is to be a pile of shit! People just get fed up with it, but stuff that’s written, organised and put down very quickly seems to have an energy. I can think of albums I’ve made as an engineer where the producer and band went on endlessly, and at the end it was just a bodge, whereas there were times during sound-checking that if we’d recorded then we’d have been home and dry!

Bonus link: 1982 interview re producing Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks


now playing on WMBR: The Stranglers - Nice ‘N’ Sleazy

Produced by Martin Rushent, here’s the lads live on Top of the Pops in 1978. Wait, is it live? I wish I knew…

Analogue synths this time around: Hammond L100 Organ, Hohner Cembalet electric piano, and Minimoog synthesizer, all played by Dave Greenfield. No samplers are in use that I can detect.

Tune in for more Last Dance at the Death Disco


Sad news today, Martin Rushent has passed on…Great record producer who knew how to make synths sound really great  and was partially responsible for arguably the greatest pop song of the 80s, Don’t You Want Me By The Human League. Not to mention how great that whole album is.

However earlier in his career he produced another great jam by the Stranglers which deserves mention.


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The man who helped new wave electronic music gets its sound, has sadly passed.  Martin Rushent was a key figure behind some of the biggest acts of the 80’s, and undeniably, helped pioneer the ‘sound’ which has become so synonymous with the music from that era.  Rushent is best known for the iconic Human League album ’Dare’, but he actually did earlier work with such greats as T.Rex, Fleetwood Mac and Yes.

Martin helped in programming and producing the massive 'Dare’ album for the Human League.  He basically provided the 'blueprint’ for the  Human League’s sound.  The album blew up, and this is the one landmark piece that would bind the two together.  The album also won Martin a BRIT Award for best producer in 1982.

'Dare’ is now about to be released in its 30th Anniversay edition.  In an interview done last year, Martin spoke highly of his groundbreaking work on the album;

“I’ve done a lot of good things that I really like, but making 'Dare’ was quite a unique experience and we were on a mission, you know? We were trying to make most of this primitive gear work most of the time. Trying to get it to stay together and play together. It was like climbing f—ing Everest!”

Oddly enough, because of musical differences with the 'League, he would soon take his early retirement in the 80’s.  However, the 'League was not all of his handiwork.  Martin started his own label, 'Genetic’ and signed Spandau Ballet, Ultravox and Visage.  better still, he produced Altered Images, The Stranglers, XTC, Generation X and the Go-Go’s.

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Though 'Dare’ is synonymous with Rushent, The 'Snobs would kindly like to suggest that curious folks look a bit further, and check out 'Love and Dancing’.  Released as a pun towards Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra, this was The Human League’s version, The 'League Unlimited Orchestra’.  The album is really an extended play of many of the songs from 'Dare’ remixed and dubbed out to make a fantastic, throbbing electro beast. It was meant to serve as a stop gap and to extend the success of Dare. At the time, Martin was heavily influenced by Grandmaster Flash.  Phil Oakey liked the direction Martin was heading, and basically left him to his own devices.  Martin soon served up and true delicacy. 'Love and Dancing’ is a classic on its own merit.


Happy Birthday Pete Shelley! In 1981 I would listen to WHFS every day just to hear “Homosapien” until (1) I had enough money to buy the album, and (2) I could find a copy of the album to buy, as it was only available as an import at the time. Then I would listen to the record every day.

Watch on

for martin 81-82-84-85

8 tracks for Martin Rushent (1948-2011), expanded on from the original broadcast

Tune in Mondays at 10pm for more Last Dance at the Death Disco


Martin Rushent passed away Saturday. He was an engineer, producer and musician who worked with everyone from T-Rex and Fleetwood Mac to Buzzcocks, the Go-Go’s, XTC and the Stranglers. His label, Genetic, signed Ultravox, Visage and Spandau Ballet. We will always love him for his work with Human League, specifically on Dare, that  featured the hits “Don’t You Want Me,” Mirror Man" and “Love Action” and our favorites, “Seconds,” and “The Sound of the Crowd.” Rushent also produced their companion remix album (one of the first), Love and Dancing under the name League Unlimited Orchestra. He was 63 years old. More via BBC news.