The Human League
In 1978, Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh's band The Future had just parted ways with their singer Adi Newton, who later went on to sing with Clock DVA. Former school chum Philip Oakey joined, and they gave him a tape of the music to listen to. Two days later he came back with the lyrics, and The Human League was born.
The song was purportedly recorded on a standard cassette deck, in mono, in a disused factory for a cost of £2.50, which inspired many musicians who were on a budget. Fellow musician Paul Bowers liked it and passed it on to Fast Product label manager Bob Last, who released it in June 1978, replete with press release on computer paper. Although failing to chart, David Bowie declared it "the future of music" and a young musician named Vince Clarke liked it so much that it inspired him to form Depeche Mode.
When The Human League had the big time in their sights in 1980, they re-recorded the song for their Holiday '80 EP. This also failed to chart, but inspired more people to seek out the original.