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Heaven 17 Biography

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Heaven 17 In-depth Biography

Taking their name from the Anthony Burgess} novel A Clockwork Orange}, the U.K. techno-pop trio Heaven 17} grew out of the experimental dance project the British Electric Foundation}, itself an offshoot of the electro-pop outfit Human League}. The core of Heaven 17} was comprised of Martyn Ware} and Ian Craig Marsh}, a pair of onetime computer operators who first teamed in 1977 as the Dead Daughters}, a duo which integrated synthesizer patterns with a heavy reliance on tape loops. Soon, Ware} and Marsh} were joined by Philip Oakey} and Adi Newton} and changed their name to the Human League}, where they remained before exiting together in 1980.

As a means of establishing the synthesizer as an expressive, human instrument, Marsh} and Ware} formed the British Electric Foundation}, a production project which employed a variety of musicians and singers including Tina Turner}, Sandie Shaw}, and Gary Glitter}. The B.E.F.}'s debut, 1980's Music of Quality and Distinction, Vol. 1}, also included vocalist Glenn Gregory}, a former photographer whom Ware} and Marsh} met at a Sheffield drama center; in 1981, the duo enlisted Gregory} for Heaven 17}, the first and most successful B.E.F}. alter ego, and debuted with the single "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang,"} a minor hit banned by the BBC over its title. An album, Penthouse and Pavement}, followed the same year.

By the release of 1983's The Luxury Gap}, the B.E.F}. had fallen by the wayside, and Heaven 17} had become Ware} and Marsh's} primary focus; the LP proved highly successful, spawning the hit singles "Temptation,"} "Come Live With Me,"} "Crushed by the Wheels of Industry,"} and "Let Me Go."} The follow-up, How Men Are}, was another British hit, but the group receded from view after its release; when they returned in 1986 with the album Pleasure One}, it was with a number of guest musicians and vocalists.

After the commerical failure of 1988's Teddy Bear, Duke & Psycho}, Heaven 17} officially disbanded; Ware} focused on production chores and worked on Terence Trent D'Arby's} debut Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby}. In 1990, he and Marsh} resurrected the B.E.F.} aegis, releasing Music of Quality and Distinction, Vol. 2} the following year. In 1996, a reformed Heaven 17} returned with Bigger Than America}. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide
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