So there I was, listening to Visage radio on last.fm, when what should come on but a long-forgotten gem from Heaven 17 called Let Me go. I don’t think I’d heard this in well over 20 years, but I reckon it’s the best thing they ever did.
Heaven 17 were reasonably big in the early ’80s, but they only seem to be remembered these days for Temptation, which was thrust back into prominence after appearing on the Trainspotting soundtrack.
Along with their very Aryan-looking singer Glenn Gregory (who I once saw in London), Heaven 17 comprised two other Sheffield natives, Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, who had been in the original lineup of The Human League. When the two of them left to pursue their new project, the smart money was most definitely on Heaven 17 hitting the big time and The Human League fading into obscurity. Of course, things didn’t quite work out that way.
Still, for a few years Heaven 17 released a string of sophisticated, intelligent pop albums that were among the earliest to satirise the yuppified, get-rich-quick mentality that defined Thatcher’s Britain in the ’80s. And though not all of their work has aged so well, Let Me Go is an unalloyed delight.
(WIKI FACT: Let Me Go was “one of the first commercial releases to feature the Roland TB-303, a bass synthesiser which later played a pivotal role in the later acid house movement.”)