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Level 42

At the beginning of their career, Level 42 was squarely a jazz-funk fusion band, contemporaries of fellow Brit funk groups like Atmosfear, Light of the World, Incognito, and Beggar & Co. By the end of the '80s, however, the band -- whose music was instantly recognizable from Mark King's thumb-slap bass technique and associate member Wally Badarou's synthesizer flourishes -- had crossed over to the point where they were often classified as sophisti-pop and dance-rock, equally likely to be placed in the context of Sade and the Style Council as any group that made polished, upbeat, danceable pop/rock. The band's commercial peak came with 1985's World Machine, but they continued to record and tour sporadically throughout the '90s and 2000s.

Featuring Mark King (bass, vocals), Phil Gould (drums), Boon Gould (guitar), and Mike Lindup (keyboards), the band formed in 1979. Before they released their first single, "Love Meeting Love," the band was pushed to add vocals to their music in order to give it a more commercial sound; they complied, with King becoming the lead singer. Released in 1981, their self-titled debut album was a slick soul-R&B collection that charted in the U.K. Top 20, resulting in the release of The Early Tapes. Level 42 had several minor hit singles before 1984's "The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up)" hit the British Top Ten. Released in late 1985, World Machine broke the band worldwide; "Lessons in Love" hit number one in Britain and "Something About You" hit number seven in America. Their next two records, Running in the Family (1987) and Staring at the Sun (1988), were a big success in the U.K., yet only made some headway in the U.S. Both of the Gould brothers left the band in late 1987; they were replaced by guitarist Alan Murphy and drummer Gary Husband. Murphy died of AIDS-related diseases in 1989; he was replaced by the renowned fusion guitarist Alan Holdsworth for 1991's Guaranteed. The band followed Guaranteed in 1995 with Forever Now.

Throughout the remainder of the ‘90s and the 2000s, the band’s lineup fluctuated, with King the lone constant and his brother, guitarist Nathan King, on-board since 2001. Level 42 released a studio album, Retroglide, in 2006. Four years later, the band celebrated its 30th anniversary with a special tour, as well as a box set, Living It Up, which included a disc of fresh acoustic versions recorded by Mark King and Lindup. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Comments

I discovered this band some time back and this one is one of my favorites... b r i n g s back a lot of memories
10th grade memories LOL. Love how L42 harmonizes. Greatness. A time capsule to a better time in music no question in my mind.
Lol i love Level 42
CLASS of 1987!
Badarou, King and Phil Gould all performed in the group M for their hit, Pop Musik, in the late 70's.
lessons n lust.
Great band. I love the bass!
you like this band, you will love my band called Mountains of Teenage Girl Turds.
This cd got my through some tough times.... Love them :)
Love Games
marcus3232
I must admit, this one of my favorite bands of all time.
Loved this band from the 80's great songs in those days and good times!
Been loving this group since they first toured with Madonna in the 80's and still love their music. glad to know that so many others enjoy them too.
LEAVING mE kNOW IS THEIR BEST TRACK!!! GREAT GROUP!
Good man in a storm; any young mans anthem. Been a fan since the mid 80's and I'll be a fan when I'm old and gray....king , you rock!
Well Done!
Dont read this because it actually works. You will get kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lover's name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary beacause it actually works
rogertreadwe l l 6 4
Saw them in Peterborough in 79 or 80. Awesome live.
They toured with Madonna here in the states in the 80s, maybe 1988, and I would have driven from Portland, ME to Boston, MA to see them, no problem, but we didnt really have a credit card to buy tixs online. World Machine is an awesome album, and a lot of the earlier tapes are so cool. Like "You Cant Blame Louis" or "Sun Goes Down" and "Kansas City Milkman"...a n d then whats the instumental? Oh, how about Hours By The Window and Out Of Sight Out Of Mind and Good Man In The Storm and Sleepwalke
bassmusic1
Oops, it wasn't Level Best that helped me pass the time on the band bus--it was the CD A Physical Presence, which was a compilation of Level 42's hits up to that point. I think I might have bought it in Germany. Very tasty!
bassmusic1
Got a chance to visit Mark King's luthier's shop in Birmingham, England in '93 or '94 while our U.S. Air Force band was touring there--way cool. I spent many, many hours on the band tour bus grooving to Level 42's Level Best CD across Europe the two years I was stationed there! Mark King's ability to sing over such busy bass lines blows my mind. Such a creative, talented guy. Wish I could have seen any configuratio n of the band live...
mistycara13
I've always loved Mark King's voice.
The lyrics to this song are perfect.
what wonderful m
lived in the UK till the age of 30. Level 42 was the best ever jazz funk group to live on this earth.... London club music was inspirationa l . Mark King on bass is historical. Long live the bass king!!
One of my desert albums....wa s stationed in UK from 82-85 and got to see them a few times there....the n saw them at the Bayou in Georgetown, DC in 86...small club....one of the best concerts ever for me. I listen to them at least monthly....l o v e singing their songs at the top of my lungs....tim e l e s s stuff!!
tjarrell15
Mark King is the bomb. The true Ace of Bass.
My favorite group!!! Finally saw them last year. The best band - the best live - LEVEL 42!!!!!!
almartinez22
New Zealand 1985-88..... g r e a t stuff and deja vue to you
johnmargie6
They don't make music like this anymore, classic!!!
Starchild is one of my alltime favorite songs
brenda.harne d
i still in love with mark king something about you ,love love love
Guaranteed is by fay far one of my favorite albums.. ever. It featured Mike Lindup on a alot of songs which was a pleasent change. ie Lasso the Moon.
LVL42RUNSINT H E F A M I L Y
Love em! been a looong time fan! Anyone like "Lasso the Moon", from the Guaranteed album? THAT's a beautiful song too! Check it out, IF you can find it...it's an import...2 thumbs up!
Outstanding in every aspect. Lyrics, musicianship , concepts and story telling. Own everything and two live DVD's and always brings me up, even on the sad but true songs.
Their bass player is sick wid it!
LEVEL 42 IS OFF THE HOOK
I just went to the 30 year anniversary tour back in July and WOW! Have listened to them since I was a kid and FINALLY seeing them live... WOW!
I just wish Pandora.com had some of their older and newer material...
melissa.oakl e y
Love them!! I wore out my World Machine cassette tape cruising around town in 85.
level 42...when i was across the pond doing big thangs in Alconbury, England.. serious good tymes...
I have loved Level 42 since back in the 80's. But I noticed that in playing my "Level 42" station on Pandora today (10-2-10), they have not played a single Level 42 song. Did they loose the rights or something?
seitzc
I still love Level 42 after almost 25 years! Brings back many great memories of my time at Oxford, UK, and my dear Oxford chums. LOVE IT!
blues001
If you're a bass player, and you think yer gettin' good, try playing along with old, unheard of, Mark King.
You'll be crying soon...
@Rick Canedo - Looks like Moomoo sucked his comment back into his pie hole.

Good form !!

cool pop
Still loving Level 42 years later.... wow
eawhy
Level 42 had far better music than what is played on this radio station. They were masters of the funky jazz style
aletha_dutte r 4
"Something Bout U" Level 42!!!!! AWSOME song even after 20 somethn' yrs!!!!!!!
Very underrated band. Some of their best stuff never got any air play at all.
How sad. I loved the funk-pop fusion, pretty melodies and great harmonies.
I'm guessing Moomoo wouldn't know music if he sucked it out of a cow!
Level 42 was a greatly underappreca t e d band, that was more than their late 80's hits would suggest. Just great instumentati o n , and catchy jazzy songs. Love their music!
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