Heaven 17 >
MAKING MUSIC IS A FUNNY THING. YOU START OFF WITH THE BEST INTENTIONS – SOMETIMES YOU EAT THE BEAR AND OTHER TIMES THE BEAR EATS YOU. I STARTED EATING THE BEAR IN 1978 WITH THE HUMAN LEAGUE, FURIOUSLY STRIDING UP THE DOWN ESCALATOR OF MUSICAL TRENDS, INSISTING IT WAS POSSIBLE TO CREATE POP MUSIC ONLY USING PURE, ELECTRONIC SOURCES.
If you were a man (or a woman) with a briefcase and a bowler hat in the UK in the early 1980’s dancing was a problem. The sensibilities of punk remained but there was a growing recognition that there should be more to dancing than jumping up and down. Then along came Fascist Groove Thang, it pressed all the right buttons. Politically ‘the democrats are out of power’ was causing people to worry about the US in the same way as they do today, not least the great BBC radio 1 who banned it from play. It was funky but not tainted by disco and it was most definitely cool without really trying. (We don’t need this) Fascist Groove Thang was the first single released by Heaven 17, perhaps the huge impact the song made on those who danced to it is not so surprising when one considers that two of the three band members, Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware, were founder members of the Human League. Together with Glenn Gregory they drew on their love of US funk such as Funcadelic and Parliament and more common student fodder such as Bowie and Roxy Music, and combined this with that mascot of early eighties pop the synthesizers. Heaven 17 went on to fuse funk and pop through a series of vital 80’s albums and singles gaining several chart successes and cult status along the way. For the pre MTV generation who religiously watched Top of the Pops every week, just the titles of some of their biggest hits, “Let Me Go”, We Live So Fast”, “Come Live With Me”, “At The Height Of The Fighting” and of course, “Temptation” are enough to start their toes tapping.
Heaven 17 continued making albums throughout the eighties and into the 90s. Their influence has been felt not just in the beat of their records but also the beat of collaboration with key soul artists such as Tina Turner, Chaka Kahn and Mavis Staples. And this could have been the final paragraph but in 1997 Heaven 17 did their groove thing live for the first time and they loved it, so.….
WE MOVE ONWARDS TOWARDS THE 21ST CENTURY, STILL HAVING AS MUCH FUN AS EVER. IN THIS EXCITING WORLD OF RANDOM CHANGES AND UNEXPECTED EVENTS, I CAN ONLY HOPE AND PRAY THAT WE DON’T GET EATEN BY THE BEAR.