::: LIVE :::
With ABC & The Human
Part of the 'Some Days Never End'
Sunday 26th October in the grounds of the Royal
Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin.
Tickets priced at 44.50 Euro inc. booking fee & are available
from Ticketmaster & usual outlets nationwide.
"Live At Last", the new live album from
Electro New Wave pioneers, Heaven 17. Recorded
at the SECC, Glasgow in 1999, the album features the original line-up
of Glenn Gregory (vocals), Martyn Ware
(keyboards) and Ian Craig Marsh (guitar/synths).
“This live album is from a tour we did with Erasure,”
explains Martyn Ware. “It was a 40-minute set, so it's
basically a greatest hits package with a couple of new songs. Because
of the nature of the way we are on stage, it has to be by necessity
- and we want it to be - very electronic. Certain songs adapt to
that, and songs from 'How Men Are' onwards don't adapt is well,
because that was more real instruments. So that's why they're generally
from the first two albums and more recent stuff.”
But why did you decided to include 'Being Boiled'?
"It was the first thing that me and Ian even wrote, and
also Glenn is a big fan of 'Being Boiled'. Glenn always thought
he should have been the original singer in The Human League, which
if he had been in Sheffield, he probably would have been. But I
can't claim authorship of the lyrics - they're too barking. Those
were Phil's. He freely admits now that he'd got three or four major
religions all mixed up in his head, and it was just a conglomerated
mix. But it sounded good. And it adapts well to a contemporary treatment
- it's not a million miles away from the kind of big sounding electronic
music that we heard much more of in later years.
Available on CD and as a digital download bundle, the full tracklisting
is as follows :
1. (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang
2. Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry
3. We Blame Love
4. Come Live With Me
6. Let Me Go
7. Let’s All Make A Bomb
8. Penthouse And Pavement
9. Designing Heaven
11. Being Boiler
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 production company British Electric Foundation (BEF). BEF’s
first recording was a cassette only album called Music for Stowaways and
an LP called Music for Listening To. Shortly after, they recruited their
friend and photographer Glenn Gregory on vocals to complete the lineup
for Heaven 17.
Like The Human League, Heaven 17 pioneered the use synthesizers and drum
machines, the Linn LM-1 programmed by Ware particularly contributing to
their signature sound. Session musicians were used for bass and guitar
(John Wilson) and occasionally, piano (Nick Plytas).
Initially they had a series of ‘smaller’ hits including "Play
To Win", from their debut album, the critically acclaimed ‘Penthouse
Their debut single "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang"
from the same album had attracted some attention, becoming a left-wing
anthem for a while, and was banned by Mike Reid, a Radio 1 DJ for the
BBC, because of its overtly political lyrics, though it still reached
#45 in the UK singles chart.
In the interim the band produced two further LPs as BEF. The first being
Music of Quality & Distinction featuring Glenn Gregory, Paula Yates,
Billy Mackenzie, Paul Jones, Bernadette Nolan and Gary Glitter. The tracks
were cover versions of songs that Martyn, Ian & Glenn had grown up
listening to. A follow up was issued in the 90’s called somewhat
unsurprisingly, Music of Quality & Distinction 2.
The release of their second album ‘The Luxury Gap’ saw Heaven
17 catapulted into the major league with their worldwide hit single "Temptation"
(on which they were augmented by vocalist Carol Kenyon, a former backing
singer for Isaac Hayes). ‘Temptation’ reached #2 in the UK
charts in summer 1983, and was a hit across Europe and in the USA.
Other songs from the same album were also hits, "Come Live With Me"
reached #5 in the UK, "Crushed By The Wheels of Industry" number
17, and "Let Me Go", #41 in November 1982. The album itself
charted at #4, their best ever position.
At the end of 1983, the band (under their BEF guise and assisted by producer
Greg Walsh) helped relaunch the career of R&B legend Tina Turner -producing
and providing backing vocals on her debut hit "Let's Stay Together".
In 1984 Heaven 17 released the brilliant but somewhat misunderstood album
‘How Men Are’ which reached#12 in the UK album charts. Featuring
the Phoenix Horns (horn section to Earth Wind & Fire), and some extraordinary
lush production, the album is perhaps better appreciated now than it was
The band also worked on the Band Aid single at the end of 1984, with Gregory
and Ware supplying vocals alongside Midge Ure and Sting after a personal
request from Ure that they attend. However, true to their avowed intent
(at this point they’d never performed live) they did not perform
at Live Aid the following year.
In fact Heaven 17's first ‘live’ performance was in 1986 on
the UK TV show "The Tube" - though live is pushing the term
as Ian was operating a Series IIx Fairlight CMI and a Revox Reel to Reel
tape recorder was wizzing away in the background.
Pleasure One (featuring the single "Trouble" - a minor hit in
the UK at #51, but a big success in Germany where it reached #17) appeared
in 1986 and contained a number of songs that were originally intended
for a French film project that never came to be. This was the first Heaven
17 album to not mention production credits for BEF and the abbreviation
BEF would not appear again until "Bigger Than America" (1996).
It was followed up in 1988 with Teddy Bear, Duke & Psycho (featuring
the single "Train of Love in Motion"), although these two albums
were poorly received and had little commercial success. The early 1990s
were a quiet period for the band and they would not work together as Heaven
17 again until 1996's Bigger Than America. In the preceding years, Marsh
and Ware produced a second BEF album to follow 1982's original Music of
Quality and Distinction and Gregory formed the band Ugly. Ware became
an in-demand producer, working for the likes of Terence Trent D'Arby,
Alison Moyet and Erasure. "Temptation" was remixed and re-released
in 1992, reaching number 4 on the UK Singles chart.
2005 saw the release of the long-awaited Before After, which had a much
more contemporary dance sound compared to previous albums. A CD of remixes
of "Hands Up To Heaven" from the album hit number 6 on the Billboard
Magazine US Club Play Chart in May 2006. In October the same year Virgin
issued a greatest hits compilation called Sight and Sound, which included
a previously unheard version of "Temptation" with spoken vocals
by an unknown student from Germany whom the band met in 1982. It had been
discovered on 1-inch tape by Glenn Gregory's mother and remastered by
In an interview, Martyn described how the live album came about; "This
live album is from a tour we did with Erasure. It was a 40-minute set,
so it's basically a greatest hits package with a couple of new songs.
Because of the nature of the way we are on stage, it has to be by necessity
-and we want it to be - very electronic. Certain songs adapt to that,
and songs from 'How Men Are' onwards don't adapt is well, because that
was more real instruments. So that's why they're generally from the first
two albums and more recent stuff.
But why did you decided to include 'Being Boiled'?
"It was the first thing that me and Ian even wrote, and also Glenn
is a big fan of 'Being Boiled'. Glenn always thought he should have been
the original singer in The Human League, which if he had been in Sheffield,
he probably would have been. But I can't claim authorship of the lyrics
- they're too barking. Those were Phil's. He freely admits now that he'd
got three or four major religions all mixed up in his head, and it was
just a Glen Hoddle-esque mix. But it sounded good. And it adapts well
to a contemporary treatment - it's not a million miles away from the Chemical
Brothers or something of that genre, big-sounding electronic music.
"The amazing thing is we're still surviving. It's 22 years since
we started. It's a long time. But then we're not really old compared with
the Rolling Stones, are we?”