A Little Slice Of Heaven In The Latest Video You Deserve
Mondays can be rough.
And so, every Monday, we give you a music video.
A fun, funny music video. Something that’ll make you smile, make you laugh, make you reminisce, and make you realize that back in the day, music video creators were probably either insane or heavily intoxicated.
But were also incredibly entertaining.
We call this feature, The Video You Deserve, and you can find it every Monday on your site for fun, free entertainment and features, QuadCities.com.
Our latest video is from a band that was always more of a cult act here in the United States, but had a pretty significant cult following especially in the early years of MTV, at which time our video today got a pretty good amount of airtime — but nowhere near as much as that of a rival band which had an especially delicious revenge in that.
In the late ’70s, Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware were the founding members of pioneering British electro-pop group the Human League; Glenn Gregory had been their original choice when seeking a lead singer for the band but he was unavailable at the time, so they chose Philip Oakey instead. When personal and creative tensions within the group reached a breaking point in late 1980, Marsh and Ware left the band, ceding the Human League name to Oakey, and continuing on as the British Electronic Foundation, which switched its name to Heaven 17, named after a band in the book A Clockwork Orange.
In 1981, it seemed as if Heaven 17 were the ones who were going to make it big and leave the Human League behind. After all, the League had never really had a huge hit, and Marsh and Ware were the primary songwriters and considered the primary talent in the band. They went off and got a record deal and got their debut album, “Penthouse and Pavement,” ready to go. And, certainly, “Penthouse,” got the band off to a great start. It got good reviews and hit number 14 in their native Britain — and generated four singles, including the title track of their album, which also garnered them a small but vocal following in the U.S. among record critics, college radio and teens who saw them on MTV.
But, of course, their initial lead start in 1981 was ultimately dwarfed by the massive worldwide success of the Human League later that year, who would have a multi-platinum worldwide hit album with “Dare,” four top 10 singles, and a huge, genre-defining synth pop number one worldwide with the song “Don’t You Want Me,” which is still seen as one of the top singles of the ’80s. Heaven 17 never caught up. They would go on to have a few hits in Britain, most notably “Let Me Go,” and “This Is Mine,” and their albums sold well, but they never came close to the Human League. By the end of the ’80s, they were pretty much sort of scratching along, and in ensuing decades they never came close to their ’80s heyday.
They’ve largely been confined to the Where Are They Now? file, but they’re still fondly remembered by fans of ’80s tunes. Yes, they got the head start and seemed like they were going to be the bigger band, and yes they went on to have a few more hits in their native Britain and remained a cult fave here in the States, but never came close to matching the humungous success and resonance of the Human League, and the jilted Phil Oakey, whose androgynous look came to define the ’80s. Which just goes to show you that you never know who’s going to end up in the penthouse, and who’s going to end up in the pavement.
Hey, that would make a great title for a song!
And, for this week’s Video You Deserve…