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Heaven 17

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Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England (1980 – present)

Heaven 17 is a British band originating in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England that was formed in 1980, having much success with their sound. Taking their name from a fictional 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 devised the production company British Electric Foundation (B.E.F.).

Shortly after, they recruited their good friend and photographer Glenn Gregory on vocals to complete their lineup for Heaven 17. Contrary to popular belief, they were not ‘New Romantics’ per se and had different visual characteristics than groups such as Spandau Ballet and the Culture Club. Like The Human League, Heaven 17 heavily used synthesizers and drum machines while taking influence from the minimalist music of the .

They had a few minor hits in their early days, including the song “Play To Win” that featured on the album ‘Penthouse and Pavement’. Their debut single ‘(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang’ from the same album attracted some attention, became a left-wing anthem for a while, and was banned by the BBC because of its overtly political lyrics, but it still reached number 45 in the UK singles chart.

Major chart success eluded them until the single ‘Temptation’ (in which they were augmented by the vocalist Carol Kenyon) reached number 2 in the UK charts in summer 1983.

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