Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Level 42

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

There's lots of great bands that just don't get much attention. For me, Level 42 is one of those 80s groups that have been grossly under-appreciated and underrated. 

Up until 1984, the band gained fame only in the UK and in Europe. There's big breakout album was 1985's World Machine. I, like many people, first heard of Level 42 when their top 10 single "Something About You" rocketed up the charts.

Their sound was a mix of some funky-jazz, laced with a a little R&B and pop. I do believe the band, musically, stood out. Lead singer and bass guitarist Mark King. He has this slapping technique that is just amazing to hear. I'm pretty sure there's some stuff on YouTube of King slapping the hell out of a bass guitar like there's nobody's business.

In 1986, they had another hit, "Lessons In Love." This song went #1 all over the world.

Other than the band's musical quality, I think their lyrics are poetically profound. Here's a snippet from "Lessons In Love"

For restless eyes egos burn
and the mold is hard to break
now we've waded in too deep
and love is overboard
heavy hearts token words
all the hopes I ever had
fade like footprints in the sand

Unfortunately, the music video is 80s-cheese. LOL!


Cynthia said...

I remember them playing Level 42 on VH1 in the '80s. That was back in the good 'ol days when they actually had music videos on VH1 and MTV. Imagine that.

Anonymous said...

I was all "I don't know this band" until I heard the song.

Totally looked like the lead singer was looking off stage to be coached in his "dance" moves. Like the toddlers on Toddlers and Tiaras.

mooderino said...

I had their album on cassette tape. Google it kids.

Laura Eno said...

Haha! I'd forgotten how cheesy some of the videos were back then. :)

J. A. Bennett said...

I had never heard of them before. Thanks for correcting that! :)

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Never heard of them.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Weren't all 80's videos cheesy?
Sorry, I was big into metal at the time. Yes, including cheesy hair metal.

Dana said...

I had to laugh at Alex's comment because it describes me, too. Cheesy hair metal all the way!

Michael Offutt, S.F.A. said...

I'd never heard of these ever. So underappreciated is an under statement.

The Desert Rocks said...

Too cheesy for me! Honestly, I never heard of them.

Robin said...

They are new to me, too. They look very Euro. However, ALL 80s videos had a degree of what you are calling "cheese factor." Personally, I like it. I think it is way more interesting than a band shooting a video of themselves in concert. **snooze** The only difference between then and now is that we have better tech. And twenty years from now there will be better tech. Whatevs. I liked the song. Sorry I missed them when they came around the first time. Thanks for sharing:)

Melanie Schulz said...

That video has 80's written all over it. LOL.

Eve said...

Hey Jay! I never heard this band before. Definately have that undeniable '80's sound, like Flock of Seagulls and Soft Cell. I like it.

Anonymous said...

Oh this brings back way too many memories. I've only just got the ghostbusters theme out of my head... replaced by the look of love :)

Valerie said...

Oh man! That video is full of cheesey goodness!! Thanks for the flashback!


Valerie Nunez and the Flying Platypi

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