The origins of Heaven 17 were explored in our article of 13 June
concerning The Human League
. On leaving that band, Ian Marsh and Martyn Ware formed a production company called British Electric Foundation and released a cassette called Music For Stowaways
under the BEF name. Heaven 17 was formed when Marsh and Ware hired Glenn Gregory to be permanent vocalist, he having worked with Marsh on various projects since the early 70s. A BEF track (The Decline Of The West
) ended up on the B-side of the first Heaven 17 single (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thing
in early 1981. Despite this single’s release and the completion of a Heaven 17 LP, BEF did not come to end immediately: projects included an album for Hot Gossip (this preceded Sinitta
’s association with the group by a couple of years) and another collection under the BEF brand, featuring several guest vocalists (including Gregory on one track).
Temptation, a 1983 single, released when all three members of Heaven 17 were concentrating on the band full-time, became their breakthrough and biggest hit. Featuring a prominent guest vocal from Carol Kenyon, it made the Top 10, as did the album it was taken from. They were unable to match this success however, and subsequent releases in the 80s sold progressively fewer copies. Contenders, the lead single from the fourth album, wasn’t a hit, although the follow-up Trouble nearly made the Top 50.
NEW SINGLES on sale from Oct. 6
HEAVEN 17 Contenders (Virgin VS881)
The MISSION (Wayne Hussey) Stay With Me (Mercury MYTH1)