(RED BANK, NJ) -- 1980s new wave/synth-pop masters Heaven 17 are coming to North America this fall for their first-ever headlining transatlantic tour celebrating their storied 40-year career. The acclaimed British duo of Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory will perform their much-loved greatest hits, including "Temptation," "Let Me Go" and "Hands Up To Heaven," classic tracks and other highlights. The 15-date We Don't Need This Fascist Groove Thang outing comes to the area with a show in Red Bank on Saturday, September 17 at The Vogel.
Taking their name from the Anthony Burgess novel A Clockwork Orange, Heaven 17 grew out of the experimental production outfit the British Electric Foundation, itself an offshoot of the electro-pop group The Human League. In 1981, Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh left The Human League, recruited vocalist Glenn Gregory and Heaven 17 was born. Their critically acclaimed first album Penthouse and Pavement, featuring their debut single “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang,” followed the same year and remains a modern classic and just as relevant today.
The group’s second album, the platinum-selling The Luxury Gap (1983), was the moment when everything clicked into place to overwhelming effect, becoming an undoubtable pop masterpiece. The album’s first single “Temptation” is a song of desire and lust, brilliantly framed by a musical structure, which stormed the charts, peaking at #2 on the UK Singles Chart. Subsequent Top 20 singles off the album, “Come Live With Me” and “Crushed By the Wheels of Industry,” cemented Heaven 17 as one of Britain’s most important post-punk bands.
Over in the U.S. during this time, their self-titled Heaven 17 album (1983) was a re-working of Penthouse and Pavement with three songs deleted, replaced by “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” “I’m Your Money,” and “Let Me Go,” the latter of which received high rotation airplay on alternative rock and new wave radio stations, including LA’s KROQ and Long Island, NY’s WLIR, plus frequent MTV exposure.
Heaven 17 spent the rest of the 1980s releasing a few more albums - How Men Are (1984), Pleasure One (1986) and Teddy Bear, Duke & Psycho (1988) - before a hiatus ensued until 1996, when they released Bigger Than America and burst back onto the airwaves with their U.S. dance smash single “Hands Up To Heaven.” After another break, the 2000s saw the releases of Before After (2005) and Naked As Advertised (2008) and Heaven 17’s return to the stage.
Now a collective between Ware and Gregory with piano and synth player Flo Sabeva and soul singers Kelly Barnes and Rachel Mosleh very much part of the live dynamic, Heaven 17, who largely refused to play live during the ‘80s, is now a powerful live act, performing headlining tours throughout the UK and alongside the likes of La Roux and Squeeze. The group’s slick post-modern critique of modern society has never sounded so resonant, nor been so necessary – We (still) Don't Need This Fascist Groove Thang!