Heaven 17

Martyn WareKeyboards1980-
Ian Craig MarshKeyboards1980-2007
Glenn GregoryVocals1980-
  • Songs
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Heaven 17 were formed by former The Human League founder members Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware. Glenn Gregory had been Human League's original choice when seeking a vocalist for the band but he was unavailable at the time, so they chose Philip Oakey instead. When Marsh and Ware left the group in 1980, they enlisted Gregory for their new project.
  • Ware and Marsh formed British Electric Foundation (B.E.F.) around the same time. The production group is best known for relaunching Tina Turner's career with her covers of "Ball Of Confusion" and "Let's Stay Together."
  • They were named after the band in Anthony Burgess' novel and Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange. The story line has fictional group Heaven Seventeen at #4 in the charts with "Inside."
  • Heaven 17 achieved three UK Top 20 hits, "Temptation" (#2), "Come Live With Me" (#5) and "Crushed by the Wheels of Industry" (#17). Their biggest commercial success was their debut album Penthouse And Pavement , which spent 76 weeks in the UK album chart between 1981 and 1983.
  • Heaven 17 had little commercial success in the US, because of their reluctance to tour. Martyn Ware explained to us: "We'd never had any intention for touring with Heaven 17 because we lost quite a bit of money touring - un-recouped stuff. It was the start of MTV, and we figured that with the money that we would have spent on tour support, why don't we – in a very modern way - service all the world's markets simultaneously with spending that money on making good videos?"

    "It worked, in terms of making us internationally popular," he added. " But America at that time was still wrapped up with the idea of touring bands. Because we didn't tour, we had a negative impact on the record company and the system in general taking us seriously. 'Who are these weird English dudes who refuse to tour? Who the hell do they think they are? So it generally had a negative effect on sales. Having said that, the hipsters liked us in New York and L.A. and San Francisco - on the coasts, really. But because we never really toured, we never 'broke' in America, in that sense."
  • Heaven 17 made their first live performance in 1986 on the UK television program The Tube (with the help of backing tapes).
  • Although most of the band's music was recorded in the 1980s, Heaven 17 have occasionally reformed to record and perform. Marsh left the band in 2007 but Ware and Gregory have continued to keep the Heaven 17 name alive.
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