Being Boiled is a song written and recorded by The Human League and released as the group's first single on the Fast Product label in 1978. The song was re-recorded as a new version in early 1980 and was included on the Holiday '80 EP and subsequently on the Travelogue album.
The original version eventually entered the UK charts in early 1982 after The Human League had become one of the country's most successful recording artists. This version has been included on all the group's greatest hits compilation albums and was also made available on the CD re-issues of the Reproduction album.
The song was released on the Scottish independent label Fast Product in 1978 together with Circus of Death (cat no. FAST 4). The labels state that both tracks are 'mono' recordings. A re-release on Fast Product via EMI in 1980 carries the same tracks, with the same sleeve but with a different label design. These again state 'mono' although it is generally believed to be a stereo remix. Both versions feature a 'faded out' ending although a version with an abrupt ending was later released. Being Boiled was again released in September 1980 as a last-ditch attempt to get the group a hit after new material and even a re-release of the 1979 single Empire State Human had failed to get the group into the UK singles charts. The original group line-up split shortly after.
Another re-release after the new group's commercial breakthrough in 1981 eventually made the UK Charts in early 1982 reaching no. 6. Due to its chart success the single has been included on all the groups hits compilation albums either with the fade-out or abrupt ending version, which has been used since 2003. The latter was also included on the CD re-issue of the Reproduction album (2003), marked as 'Fast Version'.
Fast Product, 7" single FAST 4
timings are stated on the 1980 release labels only
A. Being Boiled (3:45)
B. Circus of Death (4:47)
No promo video was made for Being Boiled.
Peel session version
The song was also recorded for the group's only John Peel session on 08 August 1978, first broadcast on 16 August 1978. This track is the only one from the four track session to have been officially released and can be found on the compilation CD Movement: BBC Radio 1 Peel Sessions 1977-1979.
Holiday '80/Travelogue version
The song was radically re-recorded by the group in 1980 and was eventually included on the Holiday '80 EP and the Travelogue album. According to cover notes it was recorded on 8-track and engineered and produced by the group and John Leckie. The "synthetic horns" were programmed by The Boys of Buddha. A demo version entitled 'State of the Art mix' is included on A Very British Synthesizer Group and is very close to this finished version and so presumably also from early 1980.
For the Canadian issue of Travelogue, Being Boiled was renamed "Voice of Buddha" and re-positioned as the opening track of the album.
The song was a regular part of early live dates although like many early songs was dropped for performances during the 1980s. The song has been regularly included in more recent live concerts.
So It Goes
The group appeared on the Granada TV show So It Goes in February 1980 to perform Being Boiled live. This version is closer to the Peel session than it is to the original although also contains keyboard parts which would feature on the Holiday '80/Travelogue version. The show and the performance were introduced by Tony Wilson.
The song has been performed live by Heaven 17.
|'Fast version' (fade-out)||
|'Fast version' (abrupt ending)||
|Holiday '80 / Travelogue version|
|John Peel session version||
|'State of the Art mix'||A Very British Synthesizer Group|
Richard X 'mash-ups'
In 2001 DJ and producer Richard X released a single under the name of Girls On Top, featuring the original 'Fast' version of 'Being Boiled' in a 'mash-up' with the song 'No Scrubs', originally released by TLC.  The front cover of the limietd edition 7" is also a pastiche of the original.
In 2003 he released a new mash-up of the song entiled 'Being Nobody', this time as Richard X vs. Liberty X, mixing 'Being Boiled' with 'Ain't Nobody', originally released by Chaka Khan.