Level 42

Level 42 were an English jazz-funk band from the Isle of Wight that released seven studio albums and a live double-LP on Polydor between 1981 and 1988.

Members: Mark King (vocals, bass, percussion, guitar, keyboards), Mike Lindup (vocals, keyboards, percussion, 1980-94, 2006-present), Phil Gould (drums, vocals, keyboards, 1980-87, 1993-94), Boon Gould (guitar, saxophone, 1980-87), Gary Husband (drums, keyboards, vocals, 1987-93, 2001-10), Steve Topping (guitar, 1987-88), Alan Murphy (guitar, 1988-89)


Level 42 had its roots in a musical camaraderie between Mark King and brothers Phil and Boon Gould, who jammed in assorted bands as teenagers on the Isle of Wight. Later, Phil Gould studied percussion at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he found a shared affinity for jazz in classmate Mike Lindup, who played keyboards. They both had a special fondness for Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, John McLaughlin, and Jan Hammer.

Meanwhile, King relocated to London, where he played drums and guitar on the 1980 album The Official Secrets Act by music-maker M (aka Robin Scott). This brought him into contact with Afro-French keyboardist Wally Badarou, a prolific sessionist (Tumblack, Gibson Brother, Grace Jones, Miriam Makeba).

Initially, King and Boon Gould tried multiple instruments. In their early rehearsals, King drummed and sometimes handled guitar while Boon played bass and saxophone. However, by the time King and the Gould’s convened in London, Phil was a classically trained drummer and Boon had mastered the guitar. King switched to bass, having played it on one track (“Maniac”) with M. A fast learner, he modeled his style on the slapping techniques employed in stateside funk.


By the summer of 1980, the instrumental four-piece of King, Lindup, and the Gould’s chose the name Level 42, a reference to the magic number in the 1979 sci-fi novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by English humorist Douglas Adams. That July, they recorded eight songs for a proposed first album on Brit-funk label Elite (Atmosfear, Powerline). Two singles emerged that year: “Sandstorm” (b/w “Journey To…” by Powerline) and “Love Meeting Love” (b/w “Instrumental Love”). The latter caught the attention of Polydor, which signed Level 42 that fall.

15 Aug 1980
A: Love Meeting Love
B: Instrumental Love

21 Nov 1980
A: (Flying On The) Wings Of Love
B: Wings Of Love

27 Mar 1981
A: Love Games
B: Forty Two

Level 42

Level 42 released their self-titled debut album in August 1981 on Polydor.

1. “Turn It On” (Badarou, Gould, Gould, King) – 4:42
2. “43” (King) – 7:04
3. “Why Are You Leaving?” (Gould, Lindup) – 4:36
4. “Almost There” (Gould, Gould, King) – 5:45
5. “Heathrow” (Badarou) – 4:43
6. “Love Games” (Gould, King) – 5:20
7. “Dune Tune” (King) – 4:52
8. “Starchild” (Badarou, Gould, King) – 5:58

Mark King – bass, percussion, vocals (lead vocals on ‘Turn It On’, “Why Are You Leaving”, “Almost There” & “Love Games”)
Mike Lindup – Minimoog, acoustic piano, electric piano, percussion, vocals (lead vocals on “Starchild”, chorus lead vocals on “Turn it On” & “Almost There”, bridge lead vocals on “Love Games”)
Boon Gould – guitars
Phil Gould – drums, percussion, glockenspiel, timbales, backing vocals

Wally Badarou – Prophet-5, Korg Polyphonic, Minimoog, vocalizing (courtesy Barclay Records)
Leroy Williams – congas, bongos, percussion
Gary Barnacle – electric saxophone solo on “Heathrow”
Dave Chambers – tenor saxophone solo on “Why Are You Leaving”

Mike Vernon – producer
Dick Plant – engineer
Gregg Jackman – assistant engineer
Richard Lengyel – assistant engineer
John Rule – assistant engineer

Joe Bartling – illustration

31 Jul 1981
A: Turn It On
B: Beezer One

30 Oct 1981
A: Starchild
B: Foundation And Empire (Part 1)

Dutch Pop Albums 4
UK Pop Albums 20

The Early Tapes July/Aug 1980

In March 1982, Level 42 released The Early Tapes, their intended first album recorded in July–August 1980 before their Polydor debut.

1. “Sandstorm” (Badarou, King) – 4:41
2. “Love Meeting Love” (Gould, King) – 6:24
3. “Theme to Margaret” (King) – 3:59
4. “Autumn (Paradise Is Free)” (King) – 4:45
5. “Wings of Love” (Badarou, Gould, Gould, King, Lindup) – 6:58
6. “Woman” (Lindup) – 4:38
7. “Mr. Pink” (Badarou, King) – 5:08
8. “88” (King) – 5:11

Producer Andy Sojka, Jerry Pike

Mark King – bass guitar, percussion, vocals on “Love Meeting Love” & “Autumn (Paradise is Free)”, chant vocals on “88”
Mike Lindup – keyboards, percussion, vocals on “Wings of Love”, chant vocals on “88”
Boon Gould – guitars, alto saxophone
Phil Gould – drums, percussion

Wally Badarou – Prophet 5 and inspiration
Leroy Williams – percussion (Courtesy EMI)
Dave Chambers – tenor and soprano saxophones


On May 7, 1982, Level 42 released the King–Gould’s number “Are You Hearing (What I Hear),” an advance single from their upcoming third album; backed with the group-written exclusive “The Return of the Handsome Rugged Man.”

A: “Are You Hearing (What I Hear)”
B: “The Return of the Handsome Rugged Man”

The Pursuit of Accidents

Level 42 released their third album, The Pursuit of Accidents, in September 1982 on Polydor.

1. “Weave Your Spell” (Lindup, King, P. Gould) – 5:30
2. “The Pursuit of Accidents” (Badarou, King, Lindup, P. Gould) – 7:44
3. “Last Chance” (P.Gould, King, Lindup) – 4:30
4. “Are You Hearing (What I Hear)?” (King, P. Gould, R. Gould) – 4:58
5. “You Can’t Blame Louis” (King, P. Gould, Badarou) – 5:05
6. “Eyes Waterfalling” (King, P. Gould, Lindup, R. Gould) – 5:58
7. “Shapeshifter” (King) – 5:09
8. “The Chinese Way” (King, P. Gould, Badarou) – 5:53

Recorded Eden Studios, Battery Studios, Vineyard Studios, Basing Street Studios, Red Bus Studios and Maison Rouge Studios (all London) and Chipping Norton Recording Studios, Chipping Norton;

Mark King – vocals, additional keyboards, bass guitar, percussion
Mike Lindup – vocals, acoustic piano, electric piano, Prophet-5, Minimoog, percussion
Boon Gould – guitars
Phil Gould – drums, percussion, Roland TR-808, backing vocals

Wally Badarou – Prophet-5, Solina String Ensemble
Pete Wingfield – clavinet on “Are You Hearing (What I Hear)?”
Pete Jacobson – Roland Jupiter-4 on “Last Chance”

Mike Vernon – producer
Jerry Boys – engineer, mixing
Nick Launay – rhythm track recording (2)
Dick Plant – recording (4)
David Bascombe – additional engineer
Gordon Milne – additional engineer

Alwyn Clayden – sleeve design
Bruce Gill – sleeve design
Jay Myrdal – photography

1 Oct 1982
A: Weave Your Spell
B: Love Games (Live)

31 Dec 1982
A: The Chinese Way
B: 88 (Live)


In April 1983, Level 42 released “Out Of Sight . Out Of Mind” as an advance single from their upcoming album, backed with a remix of

A: Out Of Sight . Out Of Mind
B: You Can’t Blame Louis (Re-Mix)

Standing in the Light

Level 42 released their fourth album, Standing in the Light, in August 1983 on Polydor.

1. “Micro-kid” (Wally Badarou, Mark King, Phil Gould, Brian Taylor, Allee Willis) – 4:44
2. “The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up)” (Badarou, King, Mike Lindup, P. Gould) – 4:15
3. “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” (P. Gould, King, Lindup, Boon Gould) – 5:12
4. “Dance On Heavy Weather” (King, P. Gould, Lindup, Taylor, Larry Dunn, Verdine White) – 4:27
5. “A Pharaoh’s Dream (Of Endless Time)” (King, P. Gould, Lindup) – 4:21
6. “Standing in the Light” (King, P. Gould, Badarou) – 3:42
7. “I Want Eyes” (King, P. Gould) 4:59
8. “People” (Lindup) – 4:55
9. “The Machine Stops” (King, P. Gould, Badarou) – 4:15

Studio The Complex (Los Angeles, California) and Marcus Recording Studios (London)

Mark King – vocals, scat, bass guitar, rototoms
Mike Lindup – vocals, acoustic piano, electric piano, Memorymoog, Prophet-5, vocoder
Boon Gould – guitars
Phil Gould – drums, percussion, marimba, rototoms, backing vocals

Wally Badarou – Prophet-5, E-mu Emulator
Paulinho da Costa – percussion
Andrew Woolfolk (also of Earth, Wind & Fire) – soprano saxophone on “A Pharaoh’s Dream (Of Endless Time)”

Larry Dunn – producer (1, 2, 4-9)
Verdine White – producer (1, 2, 4-9)
Wally Badarou – producer (3)
Chris Brunt – recording (1, 2, 4-9), mixing
Paul Staveley O’Duffy – recording (3)

Neville Brody – sleeve design
Sheila Rock – photography

July 1983
A: The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up)
B: Can’t Walk You Home

“The Sun Goes Down (Living it Up)” UK Singles Chart 10

October 1983
A: Micro-Kid
B: Turn It On (Live Version)

UK Albums Chart 9


Mark King solo

Aug 1984
A: Hot Water
B: Standing In The Light

“Hot Water” UK Singles Chart #18

True Colours

Level 42 released their fifth album, True Colours, on October 5, 1984, on Polydor.

1. “The Chant Has Begun” (King, P. Gould) – 5:23
2. “Kansas City Milkman” (Badarou, King, Lindup, P. Gould) – 5.31
3. “Seven Days” (P. Gould, King, Lindup, R. Gould) – 4:26
4. “Hot Water” (King, P. Gould, Lindup, Badarou) – 5:41

5. “A Floating Life” (King, P. Gould) – 5:14
6. “True Believers” (King, P. Gould) – 5:03
7. “My Hero” (King, P. Gould, R. Gould) – 4:15 [originally a bonus track on the CD and cassette]
8. “Kouyate” (King, P. Gould, Badarou) – 4:52
9. “Hours by the Window” (King, P. Gould) – 5:10

Studio Genetic Sound (Berkshire), Park Gate Studios (East Sussex), Total Access (Redondo Beach, California)

Mark King – vocals, bass, percussion
Mike Lindup – vocals, keyboards
Boon Gould – guitars
Phil Gould – drums, percussion

Additional musicians
Wally Badarou – keyboards
Gary Barnacle – alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, electric saxophone

Produced and engineered by Ken Scott for KoMos Productions.
Assisted by James Tippett-IIes and Jim Russell
Mixed at Park Gate Studios
Mastered by Bernie Grundman at A&M Studios (Los Angeles, CA).
Sleeve design – Baker Dave and Malcolm Garrett for Assorted Images.
Photography – Sheila Rock

Oct 1984
A: The Chant Has Begun (Edited Version)
B: Almost There (Edited Version)

United Kingdom #14
Germany #23
Sweden #29 

A Physical Presence

On June 28, 1985, Level 42 released the live double-album A Physical Presence, culled from three dates on their March UK tour.

1. “Almost There” (Mark King, Phil Gould, Rowland “Boon” Gould) – 6:47
2. “Turn It On” (Wally Badarou, P. Gould, R. Gould, King) – 5:47
3. “Mr. Pink” (Badarou, King) – 6:08
4. “Eyes Waterfalling” (King, P. Gould, Mike Lindup, R. Gould) – 5:20

5. “Kansas City Milkman” (Badarou, King, Lindup, P. Gould) – 7:17
6. “Follow Me” (King, R. Gould) – 5:01
7. “Foundation & Empire” (King) – 8:39

8. “The Chant Has Begun” (King, P. Gould) – 6:12
9. “The Chinese Way” (King, P. Gould, Badarou) – 4:47
10. “The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up)” (Badarou, King, Lindup, P. Gould) – 4:59
11. “Hot Water” (King, P. Gould, Lindup, Badarou) – 6:24

12. “Love Games” (King, P. Gould) – 9:44
13. “88” (King) – 12:33

Recorded March 1985
Venue The Coronet (Woolwich), The Hexagon (Reading), Goldiggers (Chippenham, Wiltshire)

Mark King – bass guitar, vocals
Mike Lindup – keyboards, vocals
Phil Gould – drums, backing vocals
Boon Gould – guitars

Krys Mach – saxophones

Gregg Jackman – producer, mixing
Level 42 – producers, mixing
Mick McKenna – engineer

World Machine

Level 42 released their sixth studio album, World Machine, in September 1985 on Polydor.

1. “World Machine” Badarou, P. Gould, King, Lindup 5:14
2. “Physical Presence” P. Gould, King 5:27
3. “Something About You” Lindup, P. Gould, King, Badarou, R. Gould 4:24
4. “Leaving Me Now” Badarou, King, P. Gould 5:00
5. “I Sleep On My Heart” Badarou, R. Gould, P. Gould, King 4:04
6. “It’s Not The Same For Us” Badarou, King, P. Gould, Lindup 4:36
7. “Dream Crazy” (originally included as a bonus track on the CD and cassette) R. Gould, King, Lindup 3:53
8. “Good Man in a Storm” P. Gould, King 4:36
9. “Coup d’état” P. Gould, King 3:47
10. “Lying Still” Badarou, R. Gould, King 5:39

Studio Maison Rouge (Fulham, London)

Mark King – bass, vocals
Mike Lindup – keyboards, vocals
Boon Gould – guitars
Phil Gould – drums

Wally Badarou – keyboards, Synclavier, additional vocals
Gary Barnacle – saxophones

Level 42 – producers
Wally Badarou – producer
Julian Mendelsohn – production assistant, recording, mixing
Carlos Olms – digital engineer

Alwyn Clayden – art direction
Red Ranch – sleeve design
Mike Trevillion – front cover photography
Iain McKell – back cover photography

The American versions of the album feature a re-ordered track listing, as well as the substitution of the tracks “Hot Water” and “The Chant Has Begun” (both of which had originally appeared on the band’s previous album True Colours) for “I Sleep On My Heart” and “Coup d’état.” The vinyl U.S. version of the album featured the single versions of both “Hot Water” and “The Chant Has Begun,” while the full-length album version of “The Chant Has Begun” did appear on the U.S. CD edition. (“Dream Crazy,” which only appeared on certain European versions of the album did not appear on any of the North American versions).

Sep 1985
A: Something About You
B: Coup D’Etat [Version]

Nov 1985
A: Leaving Me Now
B: I Sleep On My Heart

World Machine (The Shep Pettibone Remix)
A: World Machine (Remix)
B: World Machine (Dub)

UK Albums Chart 3
US Billboard 200 18
Canada RPM 100 15


14 April 1986
A: Lessons In Love
B: Hot Water (Live)

Prince’s Trust

Running in the Family

Level 42 released their seventh studio album, Running in the Family, on March 16, 1987, on Polydor.

1. “Lessons in Love” (Wally Badarou, Rowland Gould, Mark King) (4:04)
2. “Children Say” (King, Mike Lindup, Phil Gould) (4:53)
3. “Running in the Family” (P. Gould, Badarou, King) (6:12)
4. “It’s Over” (King, R. Gould, Badarou) (6:02)

5. “To Be with You Again” (King, R. Gould) (5:19)
6. “Two Solitudes” (King, P. Gould, Lindup) (5:17)
7. “Fashion Fever” (King, R. Gould) (4:35)
8. “The Sleepwalkers” (King, P. Gould) (6:02)

CD/cassette bonus track
9. “Freedom Someday” (King, P. Gould, R. Gould, Lindup) (6:20)

Recorded 1986
Studio Sarm West (London)
Maison Rouge (London)

Mark King – lead vocals, bass guitar
Mike Lindup – keyboards, backing vocals, lead vocals on “Two Solitudes”
Rowland “Boon” Gould – guitars
Phil Gould – drums

Additional musicians
Wally Badarou – keyboards, backing vocals
Gary Barnacle – saxophone (“Lessons in Love”)
Krys Mach – saxophone (“Running in the Family”)
Julian Mendelsohn – additional backing vocals (“The Sleepwalkers”)[8]

Level 42 – producers
Wally Badarou – producer
Julian Mendelsohn – production assistant, engineer, mixing
Nicholas Froome – basic track recording (1, 2)
Carlos Olms – digital engineer
Mike “Spike” Drake – technician

Eric Watson – photography

Feb 1987
A: Running In The Family
B: Dream Crazy

Apr 1987
A: To Be With You Again
B: Micro Kid (Live)

1 Sep 1987
A: It’s Over (Remix)
B: Physical Presence (Live)

Nov 1987
A: Children Say (Remix)
B: Starchild (Remix)

UK Albums (OCC)[18] 2
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[12] 3
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[14] 3
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[10] 4
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[13] 4
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[15] 4
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[17] 4
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[11] 6
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[16] 6
US Billboard 200[19] 23

Staring at the Sun

Level 42 released their eighth studio album, Staring at the Sun, on September 19, 1988, on Polydor.

1. “Heaven in My Hands” (King, R. Gould) (4:39)
2. “I Don’t Know Why” (King, R. Gould) (4.22)
3. “Take a Look” (King, R. Gould, Lindup, Badarou) (4:41)
4. “Over There” (King, Lindup) (3:59)
5. “Silence” (Lindup) (4:56)
6. “Tracie” (King, Husband) (4:53)
7. “Staring at the Sun” (King, R. Gould, Badarou) (4:39)
8. “Two Hearts Collide” (King, R. Gould) (4:10)
9. “Man” (King, R. Gould, Badarou) (7:23)
10. “Gresham Blues” A (King) (5:43)

Recorded 1988
Studio Studio Miraval (Correns, France)
Mark King – bass guitar, vocals
Mike Lindup – keyboards, vocals
Alan Murphy – guitars
Gary Husband – drums

Wally Badarou – keyboards
Dominic Miller – guitars
Krys Mach – saxophones
Steve Sidwell – trumpet

Level 42 – producers
Wally Badarou – producer
Julian Mendelsohn – producer, engineer, mixing
Jean Lamoot – assistant engineer
Kevin Metcalfe – mastering
The Artful Dodgers – sleeve design
Mark Hughes – illustration
John Stoddart – photography
Paul Crockford – management

22 Aug 1988
A: Heaven In My Hands
B: Gresham Blues

Oct 1988
A: Take A Look
B: Man

9 Jan 1989
A: Tracie
B: Three Words


  • Level 42 (1981)
  • The Early Tapes July/Aug 1980 (1982)
  • The Pursuit of Accidents (1982)
  • Standing in the Light (1983)
  • True Colours (1984)
  • World Machine (1985)
  • A Physical Presence (live 2LP, 1985)
  • Running in the Family (1987)
  • Staring at the Sun (1988)
  • Guaranteed (1991)
  • Forever Now (1994)


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