Heaven 17

Heaven 17 is a British new wave and synth-pop band formed in Sheffield, England, in 1980. The band’s name is derived from the fictional band in Anthony Burgess’s novel “A Clockwork Orange.” Comprising Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh, and Glenn Gregory, Heaven 17 quickly carved out a unique sound that blended electronic music with socially conscious lyrics.

Band Members:
– Martyn Ware: keyboards, synthesisers
– Ian Craig Marsh: keyboards, synthesisers
– Glenn Gregory: lead vocals

Formation and Early Years:
Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh were originally members of the electronic band The Human League but left after the release of their debut album “Reproduction” due to musical disagreements. Along with Glenn Gregory on vocals, they formed Heaven 17 in 1980, signing with Virgin Records.

Heaven 17’s debut album, “Penthouse and Pavement” (1981), showcased their adeptness at combining danceable rhythms with politically charged lyrics. The album included hits like “Temptation” and “Let Me Go,” which both became staples of the new wave genre.

UK Hits:
Heaven 17 had several chart-topping hits in the UK, including:
1. “Temptation” – UK #2
2. “Come Live with Me” – UK #5
3. “Crushed by the Wheels of Industry” – UK #17
4. “Let Me Go” – UK #41
5. “Sunset Now” – UK #24
6. “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang” – UK #45
7. “The Foolish Thing to Do” (with Jimmy Ruffin) – UK #18

Heaven 17 released a series of successful albums throughout their career, including:
1. “Penthouse and Pavement” (1981)
2. “The Luxury Gap” (1983)
3. “Pleasure One” (1986)
4. “Teddy Bear, Duke & Psycho” (1988)
5. “Bigger Than America” (1996)
6. “Before After” (2005)
7. “Naked As Advertised” (2012)

Success and Influence:
Heaven 17’s unique blend of electronic music and socially conscious lyrics set them apart in the new wave and synth-pop scene of the 1980s. Their music often addressed political themes, consumer culture, and societal issues, earning them a devoted following.

The band’s second album, “The Luxury Gap” (1983), solidified their success with hits like “Let Me Go” and “Temptation,” both of which are now considered classics of the era. The album reached number four in the UK charts and was certified platinum.

In addition to their chart success, Heaven 17’s music has had a lasting influence on subsequent generations of electronic and synth-pop artists. Their use of synthesizers and innovative production techniques helped shape the sound of 80s pop music and beyond.

Awards and Achievements:
Heaven 17 has received critical acclaim and various awards throughout their career. They were nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Group in 1982 and won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song with “Temptation” in 1993.

In 2010, Heaven 17 was honoured with the PRS for Music Heritage Award, which celebrates artists and venues that have significantly contributed to the British music landscape.

Heaven 17 continues to perform live and record music to this day, with a loyal fan base that spans decades. Their music remains a staple of 80s playlists and electronic music compilations, and their influence can be heard in the work of contemporary artists who draw inspiration from the synth-pop genre.

With their thought-provoking lyrics, innovative sound, and enduring appeal, Heaven 17 has secured a lasting legacy in the annals of British music history. Their contributions to the electronic music scene and their socially conscious message continue to resonate with audiences around the world.

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