Mark King and The brothers known as the Gould brothers (Phil and Rowland), were all brought up on the Isle of Wight and all played together in various bands during their teenage years.
Phil Gould went on to study at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he met keyboard player Mike Lindup in a percussion course. Both musicians found that they shared musical hero and tastes from artists like Miles Davis, John McLaughlin, Keith Jarrettand Jan Hammer.
Mark King, eventually became the bands lead singer and bass player, and took up the slap and pop style created by artists like Larry Graham and Stanley Clarke and developed his own sound. The band's self-titled album and bought forth tracks like 'Turn it on' and 'Love Games' were unique. They produced three albums that were associated with the Brit Funk/Jazz Funk movement that was: 'Level 42', 'The Early Tapes' (released a few years later following their rising success), and 'The Pursuit of Accidents'.
I will always remember the single called “Love Games” by Level 42 and seeing them for the first time on the British Music show called "Top Of the Pops; and just falling in love with them. (23/04/1981)
The very first time I heard the single as a whole was when I heard the single on the Radio show called “Boogie down with Dave Brown” Radio show during April,1981
The Dave Brown Radio show could be heard on Saturday evenings from 18:00 to 20:00; and was the best show to listen to if you were based in the county area of England called Suffolk.
The Dave Brown Radio show that was presented played the latest soul, funk, jazz, Brit funk and disco hits from that period of time (1979 to 1985)
However, if you missed that show on the same day you were spoiled for choice as you could listen to the Robbie Vincent show that played the latest soul, funk, Brit- funk, import Japanese Jazz and Brazil Jazz Funk tunes as well.
However, if you were based in the city of London, you spolied even further due to the huge net of Pirate Radio stations playing this music as well.
Level 42 I am sure would have been played on that show. I am sure of it.
That single went down well with the Jazz Funk / Soul Fans at the time where ever you were based in the UK.
It was their 2nd single release from the group that finally got me to buy material, or should I say vinyl from the band. At first I bought the single called “Turn it on” as a 12 inch single. I loved the single so much that I bought the debut album from the group. I also loved the track called “Why are you leaving as well”. And finally Star Child. Alot of people seem to like "
One person that I need to mention and I nearly forgot was the inclusion of the musician known as Wally Badarou. He is/was just an important member of the band and who helped to develop its Jazz/Funk and Brit Funk sound. Wally himself is asynthesizer specialist and was the long-time associate of Level 42, He himself has co-written and performed on a number of the band's tracks since their recording début in 1980, and go on to later co-producing them.
On listening to the album I just feel in love with the single from the album called “43”. It is an instrument track but I loved the wonderful musicianship that created that single.
The group last and official release from that album was “Star Child" - which alot of musicians at the time loved from where I was based here in Ipswih Town, England.
News that Level 42 were to play at the Regent Theatre here in Ipswich Town, England during the month of October 1981 was just the ticket. This was because of the Jazz Funk/Brit Funk craze that was happening within England at the time. And Level 42 fitted right into that craze.
I managed to eventually get a ticket for the show. I have to say it was a brilliant show I have to say. All the group pulled out the stops in providing a really entertaining show. Mark King and the rest of the group cracked a few jokes during the concert to the Ipswich Crowd that endeared them even more.
Here below are the details of the album that was released in July, 1981.
Level 42 debut album (called Level 42) was released during July 1981 by the British group Level 42
- "Turn It On" (Badarou, Gould, King) – 4:42
- "43" (King) – 7:04
- "Why Are You Leaving?" (Gould, Lindup) – 4:36
- "Almost There" (Gould, Gould, King) – 5:45
- "Heathrow" (Badarou) – 4:43
- "Love Games" (Gould, King) – 5:20
- "Dune Tune" (King) – 4:52
- "Starchild" (Badarou, Gould, King) – 5:58
The album is still best known for the track "Love Games", which became a successful jazz–funk and dancefloor hit for the band (reaching number 38 on the UK pop charts).
The second single, "Turn it On", released in the United Kingdom, Spain, France and Canada. This single peaked at 47 in the UK single charts.
The third single, "Starchild", has been released in six countries beyond the United Kingdom (peak position: 57), including the United States of America,where it entered the Club Play Singles at 60.
I couldn’t believe as we were being told that the group were to bring out another album within (1982). This time this album was to be released on the Polydor label of whom they were signed to. Polydor capitalised on the band's success by releasing a second album, called The Early Tapes. On which they had released originally on the label called Elite records. Polydor bought the masters from Polydor.
- "Sandstorm" (Badarou, King) – 4:41
- "Love Meeting Love" (Gould, King) – 6:24
- "Theme to Margaret" (King) – 3:59
- "Autumn (Paradise Is Free)" (King) – 4:45
- "Wings of Love" (Badarou, Gould, Gould, King) – 6:58
- "Woman" (Lindup) – 4:38
- "Mr. Pink" (Badarou, King) – 5:08
- "88" (King) – 5:11
I still have these albums at home with me via the the loft area of my home. I know that I haven’t played them in years from start to finish. But that will change in a couple of days I am hoping to pull them out of the loft area and play them on my record player.
Just as we thought that would be it in regards to other releases from the band. We were treated with another release that came out in the year of 1982. And this album was upto scratch with the other two releases mention above. The album was to be called The Pursuit of Accidents (1982) release!)
- "Weave Your Spell"(Lindup, King, P. Gould)– 5:30
- "The Pursuit Of Accidents"(Badarou, King, Lindup, P. Gould)– 7:44
- "Last Chance"(P.Gould, King, Lindup)– 4:30
- "Are You Hearing (What I Hear)?"(King, P. Gould, R. Gould)– 4:58
- "You Can't Blame Louis"(King, P. Gould, Badarou)– 5:05
- "Eyes Waterfalling"(King, P. Gould, Lindup, R. Gould)– 5:58
- "Shapeshifter"(King)– 5:09
- "The Chinese Way"(King, P. Gould, Badarou)– 5:53
My favourite from this release has got to be the title track that is called - "The Pursuit of Accidents". A wonderful slice of Funk with lovely touches of Jazz; and a great deal of musicianship added to boot! I just love that single. The album added further acclaim to the band that they were not just a studio band. They were one to go and see live. As they always put on a very good set whereever they played within the world.
Level 42, will always be fondly remembered as one the leading figures of the Brit-Funk or Jazz Funk scene that came out the Uk during the early 1980’s. However as they progressively became more famous around their music and their sound in my opinion became more Pop and Rock orientated.
This to me was a great shame. As their sound from these 3 Album releases mentioned above alone made every one around the world sit up and take notice. And I mean that. They were Loved just as much in England as in Europe. And many in the Usa were increasing asking about this band called Level 42 at that partiicular period of time - 1982 to 1984!!
Their stage shows always looked fun to be a part of and their musicianship was extremely good.
I am glad that I got to see them during their Jazz Funk and Brit Funk years. They are still touring and playing around the world mind you.
In fact check out the groups website for future dates - http://www.level42.com/
However there era from 1981 to 1984 it was their best years musically.
Please have a look at this last video that features Mark King below explaining how they nearly but destroyed the band after all the hard work that thay had all put in !!
Level 42 were not the only from that band to indulge in that music sound from the Uk. But that is another article I need to write!
Well that all folks for me now anyway.
Dj Mistri and the Electric Soul Show © www.electricsoulshow.com