Heaven 17

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Heaven 17 are a British synthpop band originating from Sheffield, South Yorkshire in the early 1980s. The trio comprises Martyn Ware (keyboards), Ian Craig Marsh (keyboards) (both previously with The Human League) and Glenn Gregory (vocals). Although most of the band's output was in the 1980s, they have occasionally reformed to record and perform since then, playing their first ever live gigs in 1997.[1]

Contents

Biography

1980s

Taking their name from a fictional pop group mentioned in Anthony Burgess's novel, A Clockwork Orange, (where 'The Heaven Seventeen' are at number 4 in the charts with "Inside"), Heaven 17 formed when Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware split from their earlier group, The Human League, and formed the production company British Electric Foundation (BEF).[1]

BEF’s first recording was a cassette-only album called Music for Stowaways[2] and an LP called Music for Listening To. Shortly after, they completed their line-up when they recruited their friend, photographer Glenn Gregory, as vocalist. Like The Human League, Heaven 17 heavily used synthesizers and drum machines (the Linn LM-1 programmed by Ware). Session musicians were used for bass and guitar (John Wilson) and grand piano (Nick Plytas). Whereas the band's former colleagues The Human League had gone on to major chart success in 1981, Heaven 17 struggled to make an impact. Their debut single "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang" attracted some attention and, due to its overtly left-wing political lyrics, was banned by BBC Radio 1[3] DJ Mike Read (who is a staunch supporter of the Conservative Party),[4] and neither this nor any other of the four singles taken from the band's debut album Penthouse and Pavement managed to reach the Top 40 in the UK Singles Chart.[1] The album itself proved to be a minor success and peaked at Number 14 on the UK Albums Chart, and was later certified gold by the BPI in 1982.

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