Level 42: Essential Level 42: Triple CD

Essential Level 42: Triple CD

Level 42

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  • Release Date 17 July 2020
  • In Stock
Product code
Triple CD Album

Formed in 1979 around 3 Isle of Wight born friends who’d decamped to London, various line-up changes and a costly European adventure would lead the then only instrumental outfits’ drummer, Mark King, to switch to bass so he could sell his drum kit to pay for the European debacle!. Fate, was clearly already playing its part. Involvement with Robin Scott, best known as M for his 1979 UK No.2 hit Pop Muzik, introduced them to Afro-French keyboardist and writer Wally Badarou, who would subsequently become a long time contributor to the band, who by then had decided to take their name in part, from the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy TV series, where 42 is the answer to everything. Plans to find a singer went by the wayside as keyboardist Mike Lindup and Mark King stepped up and they never looked back.

Inspired by Miles Davis and Jan Hammer they soon found themselves part of the extended UK Brit Funk scene alongside Incognito, Beggar & Co and Light Of The World. Their 1980 debut for dance label Elite, which had opened its own account the previous year with Atmosphere’s enduring club classic Dancing In Outta Space, only added to their credentials and major label Polydor quickly came knocking. Polydor would issue their eponymous UK Top 20 debut album the following year. 1981 also marked the beginning of their UK single successes and what started as a trickle would lead to 15 UK Top 40 singles (all included here), of which 6 would grace the UK Top 10. During the same period (1981-1988), they racked up no less than 7 UK Top 20 albums and it's this era of the bands career which this 3CD set celebrates.

By 1988 their star had begun to wain and the stresses and strains of touring caused the original band to split. King and Lindup would lead various line-ups over the next 6 years before calling it a day in 1994. There have been reunions ever since and between 2006 and the present they have again become a regular presence on the live circuit both here and in Europe, even releasing the excellent Sirens EP in 2016, mixed by long-time fan, US DJ John Morales.

CD1 kicks off with their biggest hit, the incredible Lessons In Love (UK No.3). Issued towards the end of 1986 it would be the lead single from their hugely successful Running In The Family album (UK No.2), released the following year and the title track from the same is next out the blocks (UK No.6). From 1985 we next have another top 10 hit and delicious slice of pop soul, Something About You (UK No.6), followed by the extended 12” mix of Leaving Me Now (UK No.15) from the same year. Weave Your Spell (UK No.43) from 1982 is next and reminds you of their club credentials and whilst it might have possessed more than a passing resemblance to Gwen Guthrie’s Keep The Fire Burning, it was home grown and filled the dance floor in soul boy clubs the length and breadth. True Believers from 1984’s long player True Colours (UK No.14) follows and is simply classic Level 42. The clock rolls forward whilst the pace drops with Two Hearts Collide from 1988’s Staring At The Sun album (UK No. 2). From 1981’s eponymous debut (UK No.20) there’s Starchild (UK No. 47) and later another irresistible club cut in Turn It On (UK No.57). CD1 also boasts Micro Kid (UK No.37) the opener from their 1983 long player, Standing In The Light (UK No. 9) and The Chant Has Begun (UK No. 41).

CD2 commences with 1983’s instantly memorable The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up) (UK No.10). As singles go it was a game changer, catapulting the band into the international pop mainstream. It’s Over (UK No. 10) and 1987’s To Be With You Again (UK No. 10) make it a hattrick of top 10’s, whilst Heaven In My Hands (UK No. 12) and Tracie (UK No.25) keep the singles coming. CD2 boasts further singles Love Meeting Love (UK No.61), Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind (UK No.41), Take A Look (UK No. 32), Take Care Of Yourself (UK No. 39), jazz funk instrumental ‘43’ and much more.

CD3 opens with top 20 single Hot Water (UK No.18), followed by The Chinese Way (UK No.24), Children Say (UK No.22) and Love Games (UK No.38). Further on amidst the album cuts there’s Sandstorm, one of their earliest recordings and it’s exactly the type of jazz funk work out that endeared them to young listeners like Gilles Peterson. Ditto Are You Hearing (What I Hear)? (UK No.49). More album favourites and even a live cut complete the set.

40 years on from their debut release, this selection documents how Level 42 helped soundtrack the 80s. Enjoy.

1 Lessons In Love  
2 Running In The Family  
3 Something About You  
4 Leaving Me Now (Extended Version)  
5 Weave Your Spell  
6 True Believers  
7 Two Hearts Collide  
8 The Chant Has Begun  
9 Forty Two  
10 Starchild (1981 Remix/Edit)  
11 Why Are You Leaving?  
12 Mr. Pink  
13 Sleep On My Heart  
14 Micro Kid  
15 Turn It On  
16 Seven Days  
17 (Flying On The) Wings Of Love  
1 The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up)  
2 It's Over (Remix)  
3 To Be With You Again  
4 Heaven In My Hands  
5 Tracie  
6 Love Meeting Love (Album Mix Edit)  
7 "43"  
8 Out Of Sight Out Of Mind  
9 World Machine  
10 Dance On Heavy Weather  
11 Take Care Of Yourself  
12 Heathrow  
13 A Floating Life  
14 Take A Look  
15 Foundation And Empire (12" Version)  
1 Hot Water  
2 The Chinese Way  
3 Children Say  
4 Love Games (Edit Album Version)  
5 Standing In The Light  
6 Are You Hearing (What I Hear)?  
7 You Can't Blame Louis  
8 Sandstorm  
9 Kansas City Milkman (Live)  
10 Can't Walk You Home (Edit)  
11 Dune Tune  
12 Hours By The Window  
13 Good Man In A Storm  
14 The Sleepwalkers  
15 The Return Of The Handsome Rugged Man  
16 Staring At The Sun