The Story of... 'Together in Electric Dreams' by Phil Oakey and Giorgio Moroder

10 April 2019, 16:34

Phil Oakey in the Electric Dreams video
Phil Oakey in the Electric Dreams video. Picture: Virgin

By Tom Eames

The Human League's Phil Oakey teamed up with electronic master Giorgio Moroder for this classic '80s tune.

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But why was the song recorded and what inspired it? Here's all the fascinating facts behind 'Together in Electric Dreams':

  1. Who wrote 'Together in Electric Dreams'?

    Giorgio Moroder in 1978
    Giorgio Moroder in 1978. Picture: Getty

    Giorgio Moroder wrote 'Together in Electric Dreams', intended for a male solo vocal.

    Movie director Steve Barron suggested his former colleague, Human League frontman Philip Oakey, for the part.

    The song was later credited to Moroder and Oakey, after the two teamed up in the recording studio.

    Moroder is best known for his production work and is often called the 'Father of Disco'.

    He produced singles for Donna Summer including 'Love to Love You Baby', 'I Feel Love' and 'Hot Stuff', and is the founder of the former Musicland Studios in Munich, a recording studio used by many artists including Electric Light Orchestra, Led Zeppelin, Queen and Elton John.

  2. Why was the song recorded and what film did it feature in?

    The film Electric Dreams was director Steve Barron's first full feature film. His previous work included directing a number of music videos, with his most famous being The Human League's 'Don't You Want Me' in 1981.

    For the film, Barron wanted to emulate the massive success of the film Flashdance a year earlier.

    Flashdance had used the electronic music of Giorgio Moroder, so Barron signed up Moroder as director of music, who also wrote most of the film's score.

    Barron wanted the end credits to include "an emotional" song, in the same way as Flashdance had done.

    Electric Dreams was a sci-fi rom-com, that followed a love triangle between a man, a woman and a personal computer. It starred Lenny Von Dohlen, Virginia Madsen, Maxwell Caulfield, and the voice of Bud Cort.

    After the first full recording, Moroder told Oakey that the first take was "good enough, as first time is always best". However, Oakey, who thought he was just rehearsing, insisted on doing another take.

    Although Moroder agreed, Oakey has said that he reckons Moroder still used the first take.

  3. The song was bigger than the movie

    Originally released to advertise the film, the song quickly overshadowed the movie, and became a success in its own right.

    The film was not a critical or commercial success, but the song helped the movie's overall legacy decades later.

    Oakey later said that it is ironic that a song that took about ten minutes to record would become a worldwide hit, while some of his Human League tracks that took over a year to record and did not.

    The song reached number three in the UK, and has gone on to become one of the staple '80s electronic hits of all time.

  4. It's often confused for a Human League song

    As Phil Oakey is the lead singer of The Human League. 'Together in Electric Dreams' is often credited as a Human League single.

    It was also released at the height of the band's '80s fame and success, and because of this, it has been included in the band's various Greatest Hits compilation albums.

    Although the Human League have never recorded their own version, the band frequently play a Human League cover when they perform live, often as an encore.

  5. It spawned a full album by Moroder and Oakey

    Titled Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder, the 1985 collaborative studio album followed the single, but only peaked at number 52 on the UK Albums Chart.

    It also featured the singles 'Good-Bye Bad Times' (number 44) 'Be My Lover Now' (number 91).

    n 2003, when asked about the experience of working with his idol Moroder, Oakey said he was a "very quick worker", and that they made the entire album in a few days.

  6. Who has covered it?

    Surprisingly, not that many artists! Of all people, David Essex gave it a go in 1997.

    More recently, it was performed by Rob & Chris for a Strongbow TV advert.

  7. Together in Electric Dreams lyrics:

    I only knew you for a while
    I never saw your smile
    Till it was time to go
    Time to go away (time to go away)

    Sometimes its hard to recognise
    But comes as a surprise
    And its too late
    It's just to late to stay (to late to stay)

    We'll always be together
    However far it seems (love never ends)
    We'll always be together
    Together in electric dreams

    Because of the friendship that you gave
    Has taught me to be brave
    No matter where I go
    I'll never find a better prize (find a better prize)

    Though your miles and miles away
    I see you everyday
    I don't have to try
    I just close my eyes
    I close my eyes

    We'll always be together
    However far it seems (love never ends)
    We'll always be together
    Together in electric dreams