Taking their name from the meaning of life ("42") in Douglas Adam's novel "The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy", they were formed in London in the late seventies by former drummer-turned-bassist and vocalist Mark King, brothers Phil (ex-' M '), and Boon Gould on drums and vocals and guitars respectively and keyboard player/vocalist Mike Lindup. Their catchy bass driven funk/jazz style won them many fans and they were signed to Polydor Records. Their debut, self-titled album came out in 1981 to critical acclaim. Second keyboard player Wally Badarou, also ex- ' M ', joined the band later that year and appeared on subsequent albums, some of which spawned occasional hits, notably 1983's "The Sun Goes Down (Living it Up)". Level 42 went on to record a number of very good albums and had a very successful run which peaked with 1985's "World Machine" and 1987's "Running in the Family". The band split up in the mid-nineties, with King embarking on a moderately successful solo career. (His solo "Influences" album, released in 1989, is worth checking out). 

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Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
At the beginning of their career, Level 42 was a jazz-funk fusion band, following in the footsteps of such pioneers as Stanley Clarke. By the end of the '80s, they were a pop-R&B band with a number of hit singles to their credit. Featuring Mark King (bass, vocals), Phil Gould (drums), Boon Gould (guitar), and Mike Lindup (keyboards), the band formed in 1980. Before they released their first single, "Love Meeting Love," the band was pushed to add vocals to their music in order to give it a more commercial sound; they complied, with King becoming the lead singer. Released in 1981, their self-titled debut album was a slick soul-R&B collection that charted in the U.K. Top 20, resulting in the release of The Early Tapes by their former record label, Polydor. Level 42 had several minor hit singles before 1984's "The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up)" hit the British Top Ten. Released in late 1985, World Machine broke the band worldwide; "Lessons in Love" hit number one in Britain and "Something About You" hit number seven in America. Their next two records, Running in the Family (1987) and Staring at the Sun (1988), were a big success in the U.K., yet only made some headway in the U.S. Both of the Gould brothers left the band in late 1987; they were replaced by guitarist Alan Murphy and drummer Gary Husband. Murphy died of AIDS-related diseases in 1989; he was replaced by the renowned fusion guitarist Alan Holdsworth for 1991's Guaranteed. The band followed Guaranteed in 1995 with Forever Now. 

 

Allan Holdsworth
Mark King
Lyndon Connah
Boon Gould
Phil Gould
Gary HusbandJ
akko M. Jakszyk
Mike Lindup
Alan Murphy

UB40
Olympic Runners
Freeez
Beggar & Co
Hall & Oates
General Public
The Human League
Paul Young
The Style Council
Culture Club

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Level 42 - 1981 - Level 42 - 4.5/5

Level 42 - 1982 - The Pursuit of Accidents - 3/5

Level 42 - 1983 - Standing in the Light - 3/5

Level 42 - 1983 - True Colours - 3/5

Level 42 - 1985 - A Physical Presence - 3/5

Level 42 - 1985 - World Machine - 4/5

Level 42 - 1987 - Running in the Family - 3/5

Level 42 - 1988 - Staring at the Sun - 1.5/5

Level 42 - 1991 - Guarenteed - 3.5/5

Level 42 - 1995 - Forever Now - 4/5

Level 42 - 1996 - Live at Wembley - 2/5

Level 42 - 2003 - Live - 4/5

Level 42 - 2005 - Greatest Hits Live (2005) - 4/5

Level 42 - 2006 - Retroglide - 3/5

Rating

 

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