Great Moments In Pop – The 80s Part 21.

This is another British group who did some interesting things in the 80s, mostly in the electropop genre, which was rather exciting at the time. Heaven 17 were formed by Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware after they departed The Human League, although of course that group did manage to carry on successfully without them. They recruited Glenn Gregory as their singer.

They had four hit singles in 1981, but all of them missed the Top 40. The best of them for me though was “Penthouse And Pavement”, which reached only no. 57. A further single in 1982 narrowly missed the Top 40 too. But they finally made their breakthrough in April 1983 when “Temptation” was released. This featured the uncredited vocal by Carol Kenyon (although she was credited on her later collaboration with Paul Hardcastle).

This reached no. 2, to become their biggest hit single in the UK. At last they were big news, and they also made the cover of Smash Hits twice, which was proof that they had hit the pop jackpot. They followed this in June 1983 with “Come Live With Me”, to make it two Top Ten hits in a row. They had further hits in 1983 and 1984, with “Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry” being another good one.

Their hits had started to drop off by 1985 though. After a quiet period in the late-80s, Heaven 17 would eventually return. In July 1991, Marsh and Ware’s other group BEF (British Electronic Foundation) released a cover of Sly And The Family Stone’s “Family Affair”, which featured a guest vocal from Lalah Hathaway, and reached no. 37, while Gregory also worked with the group Honeyroot.

By this point, I wouldn’t know for sure of course, but they must’ve looked at the growing market of “squeeze one final success out of your career by doing a remix of your biggest hit one decade on”, and realised that there could be a place for them in that. And it would be a rather novel way to rescue them from being Down The Dumper as well.

So in November 1992, a remix of “Temptation” by Brothers In Rhythm was released, and this did indeed make the Top Ten for a second time (although two places lower than the original version). And suddenly they were back on Top Of The Pops, it was poptastic, mate, and it seemed for a moment that the previous decade hadn’t happened. But Carol Kenyon still didn’t receive a credit, and no new video was made.

That a Greatest Hits album was also released around this time wasn’t a coincidence. They decided in 1993 to release some more remixes of their 80s hit singles, but this just resulted in “Penthouse And Pavement” missing the Top 50 for a second time, which was disappointing. And this was also their final action on the chart, but they have now made eight albums.


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