Heaven 17

Heaven 17 are an English synthpop/sophisti-pop trio from Sheffield that released five albums on Virgin between 1981 and 1988. The band was formed by the instrumental half of the original Human League, musicians Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, who concurrently recorded as the British Electric Foundation. The trio was completed by vocalist Glenn Gregory, whom the pair had originally wanted for the Human League.

Members: Martyn Ware (synthesizer, percussion, backing vocals), Glenn Gregory (vocals), Ian Craig Marsh (synthesizer, percussion, saxophone, 1981-2007)


Background

Heaven 17 were the brainchild of electronic musicians Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, who first teamed up in early 1977 in the impromptu band the Dead Daughters. Armed with a miniKORG 700, they performed on several occasions before friends in their Sheffield musical circle. They changed their name to The Future and recorded a clutch of minimal-wave demos, including seven tracks that were later compiled on the archival disc The Golden Hour of the Future with early recordings by their next band, The Human League.

Marsh and Ware formed the Human League in late 1977 with Philip Oakey, a local scenester with no prior musical experience. They first wanted singer Glenn Gregory, but he was busy at the time with a band called 57 Men, which also included Jack Hues and Nick Feldman, later of Wang Chung. The Human League cut a pioneering electro-pop single (“Being Boiled,” 1978) and expanded to a four-piece, cutting two albums and an instrumental EP on Virgin in 1979/80. After their 1980 release Travelogue, tensions erupted and Marsh and Ware left the Human League nameplate in the hands of Oakey and slide-projectionist Adrian Wright.

In early 1981, Marsh and Ware pitched another offer to Gregory, who’d played with Marsh eight years prior in the teen shock-rock band Musical Vomit (with future 2.3 frontman Paul Bower). With Gregory now on board, the trio took their name from The Heaven Seventeen, a fictional pop band in the 1961 Anthony Burgess novel A Clockwork Orange.


“(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang”

In March 1981, Heaven 17 debuted with “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang”

A. “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang” (4:20)

B. “The Decline of the West” (7:00)


“I’m Your Money”

In May 1981, Heaven 17 released the standalone single “I’m Your Money” backed with the Buzzcocks cover “Are Everything.”

7–inch single (UK)
A. “I’m Your Money” (3:26)
B. “Are Everything” (Pete Shelley) (2:59)

12–inch single (UK, ‘Special fortified dance mixes!’)
A. “I’m Your Money” (5:42)
B. “Are Everything” (4:25)


Penthouse and Pavement

Heaven 17 released their debut album, Penthouse and Pavement, in September 1981 on Virgin.

Side A (“Pavement”)
1. “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang” (4:20)
2. “Penthouse and Pavement” (6:23)
3. “Play to Win” (3:37)
4. “Soul Warfare” (5:04)

Side B (“Penthouse”)
5. “Geisha Boys and Temple Girls” (4:33)
6. “Let’s All Make a Bomb” (4:03)
7. “The Height of the Fighting” (3:01)
8. “Song with No Name” (3:36)
9. “We’re Going to Live for a Very Long Time” (3:15)

Studio Maison Rouge (Sheffield)
Producer British Electric Foundation
Glenn Gregory – lead vocals, backing vocals
Martyn Ware – pianos, synthesizers, Linn LM-1, percussion, backing vocals
Ian Craig Marsh – synthesizers, saxophone, percussion

Session musicians
Malcolm Veale – synthesizers, saxophone
The Boys of Buddha – synthetic horns
Steve Travell – acoustic piano (4)
John Wilson – guitars (1-4), guitar synthesizers (1-4), bass (1-4)
Josie James – backing vocals (2)

Production
Bob Last – executive producer
British Electric Foundation – producers, packaging design
Peter Walsh – production assistant (2, 3, 4, 6), engineer (2, 3, 4, 6)
Steve Rance – engineer (5, 7, 8, 9)
Ray Smith – cover painting

“Play to Win” / “Play”
Released: August 1981

“Penthouse and Pavement” / “Penthouse And Pavement (Instrumental)”
Released: November 1981

“The Height of the Fighting (He-La-Hu)” / “Honeymoon In New York”
Released: February 1982

B. “Honeymoon In New York” (2:12)

UK Albums (OCC) 14
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista) 18


The Luxury Gap

Heaven 17 released their second album, The Luxury Gap, on April 25, 1983, on Virgin.

1. “Crushed by the Wheels of Industry” (5:54)
2. “Who’ll Stop the Rain” (3:04)
3. “Let Me Go” (4:23)
4. “Key to the World” (3:42)

5. “Temptation” (3:34)
6. “Come Live with Me” (4:18)
7. “Lady Ice and Mr Hex” (3:46)
8. “We Live So Fast” (3:49)
9. “The Best Kept Secret” (5:09)

Studio AIR (Oxford St, London) The Town House (London)
Producer British Electric Foundation Greg Walsh

Heaven 17
Glenn Gregory – lead vocals, backing vocals
Martyn Ware – synthesizer programming, Linn LM-1 drum machine, backing vocals, arrangements
Ian Craig Marsh – synthesizer programming, arrangements

Additional musicians
Nick Plytas – grand piano (1, 3, 7)
Greg Walsh – acoustic piano and synthesizer programming (1, 4), arrangements
John Wilson – guitars and guitar synthesizer (1, 2, 3, 7)
Ray Russell – guitars and guitar synthesizer (2, 4, 6)
Simon Phillips – drums and percussion (7, 9)
Don Myrick – saxophones
Louis Satterfield – trombone
Michael Harris – trumpet
Rahmlee Michael Davis – trumpet
John Barker – orchestra arrangements and conductor (5, 6, 9)
Sarah Gregory – “screams” (2)
Carol Kenyon – backing vocals (4, 5)

Production
Ian Craig Marsh – producer, engineer
Martyn Ware – producer, engineer
Greg Walsh – producer, engineer
Ray Smith – cover concept, painting

“Let Me Go” / “Let Me Go (Instrumental)”
Released: 30 October 1982

“Temptation (UK/Europe only)”
Released: 8 April 1983

“We Live So Fast (US only)”
Released: 8 April 1983

“Come Live with Me” / “Let’s All Make a Bomb (New Version)”
Released: 24 June 1983

“Crushed by the Wheels of Industry” / “Crushed by the Wheels of Industry (Part II)”
Released: 29 September 1983

UK Albums (OCC)[26] 4
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[23] 7
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[24] 11
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[22] 13
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[25] 17
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[21] 20


How Men Are

Heaven 17 released their third album, How Men Are, on September 24, 1984, on Virgin.

1. “Five Minutes to Midnight” (3:46)
2. “Sunset Now” (3:35)
3. “This Is Mine” (3:51)
4. “The Fuse” (3:05)
5. “Shame Is on the Rocks” (3:59)

6. “The Skin I’m In” (3:46)
7. “Flamedown” (2:59)
8. “Reputation” (John Wilson, Glenn Gregory, Ian Craig Marsh, Martyn Ware) (3:03)
9. “And That’s No Lie” (10:02)

Studio AIR Studios and CBS Studios (London, UK)
Producer B.E.F. Greg Walsh

Glenn Gregory – lead and backing vocals
Martyn Ware – LinnDrum programming, backing vocals, Roland System 100 bass (3)
Ian Craig Marsh – Fairlight CMI programming, backing vocals (1), Roland System 100 (3, 6)

Session musicians
Greg Walsh – Fairlight CMI programming, Roland System 100 bass (3)
Nick Plytas – Roland System 100 simulated classical guitar (6), acoustic piano (8, 9)
Ray Russell – guitars (5, 7, 9)
John Wilson – guitars (8), bass guitar (9)
Mo Foster – fretless bass (6)
Phenix Horns Esquire – horns (3, 7)
Michael Harris – flugelhorn (3)
David Cullen – orchestral arrangements and conductor (1, 6, 9)
Afrodiziak – backing vocals (2, 4, 8, 9)

Production
B.E.F. – producers
Greg Walsh – producer, engineer
Jeremy Allom – engineer
Ray Smith – cover paintings, photography, cover concept

“Sunset Now” / “Counterforce”
Released: August 1984
7″ single
A. “Sunset Now” – 3:40
B. “Counterforce” – 3:02
12″ single
“Sunset Now (Extended version)” – 5:21
“Flamedown” – 3:14
“Counterforce” – 3:02
“Sunset Now (Album version)” – 3:40
“Counterforce II” – 3:08

“This Is Mine” / “Skin”
Released: October 1984
12-inch single
“This Is Mine” (Filmix) – 7:18
“This Is Mine” (Cinemix) – 8:55
“Skin” – 3:40

“…(And That’s No Lie)”
Released: January 1985

UK Albums (OCC) 12


Pleasure One

Heaven 17 released their fourth album, Pleasure One, on November 17, 1986, on Virgin.


Discography:

  • Penthouse and Pavement (1981)
  • The Luxury Gap (1983)
  • How Men Are (1984)
  • Pleasure One (1986)
  • Teddy Bear, Duke & Psycho (1988)

Sources:

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