LEVEL 42 – being a level head
Level 42. Almost everyone knows I am a ‘Level head’. A long time fan of the Brit-funk/rock Band, since 1985.
The term ‘Levelhead’ describes some fans of the band, many of them musicians themselves, who have at some point played in bands and gigged regularly.
At 12-years old, I was too young to have any real understanding of the early 1980’s underground music scene, where they gained a large following.
The first time I heard Level 42 play ‘Live’ was at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1990, which was three years’ after two original members, brothers Phil and Boon (Gould) left the band.
Level 42: The musician’s Band
They are still to this day, the ‘Musician’s band’. A working band, who have always played instruments Live’.
They were different to most of the other regular pop-stars of the 1980’s. It was all about the music first. Musicians to learn from and aspire to be a little something like.
Level 42 weren’t a very ‘fashionable’ group with the British media, but this made me want to follow and buy their music even more.
One night in September 1985, I tuned into BBC Top-of-the-Pops and watched a music video for a new release called ‘Something about You’. I hadn’t seen or heard the band before.
Level 42: Something About You
Watching music artists on TV was nothing new, but promo videos were fairly new, and every song had to have one if they wanted to feature on satellite channels like MTV.
As I watched the video, I wanted to hear the song again and again. The melody, vocal harmony, the right-hand keyboard hook, the percussive bass sound and drums locked in.. the guitar solo.. and the lyrics.
The song is about coming to terms with the fact that nobody in life is perfect.
We all make mistakes, but despite everything, there will always be something about someone that means we can’t be without them.
The song reached number 6 in the UK singles chart, and number 7 in the US Billboard chart.
Saturday came around and I got paid the usual £10 by the Newsagent for another week delivering red tops.
I walked down to my local record store and bought my first record on vinyl: –
Level 42: Mr. Mike Lindup
I was interested in synthesizers and intrigued by the quiet guy in the video, sitting in the corner of the train carriage, who played those brilliant keys and sang.
I was the quiet one in the corner too. Could there be someone out there who was in a band; looked cool, and could really sing and play the Piano? It was Mr. Mike Lindup (of course).
May 6th, 1999. I was in the audience to see Mike Lindup play a sell-out solo gig at the Komedia Theatre, Brighton.
At this time, Mike (and Mark King) had stopped touring. He gave an interview and answered questions from the audience about being in the band, that he co-founded in 1980.
Mike played some ‘Level 42’ songs and tracks from his brilliant solo album ‘Changes’ on the Piano.
He also recorded an arrangement of ‘Something About You’, which remains my favorite version of the song.
You can listen here: –
Afterward, I discovered that I spent the entire gig sitting next to Mike’s Mum, Nadia. I don’t think she could have been more proud!
Mike has enjoyed a varied and diverse musical career, as co-founder of the much-admired band ‘Level 42’ (still going strong), his solo albums, and appearances on keyboards for ‘The Princes Trust’ house band.
You can find out more on his official website ☛ Mikelindup.com
Level 42: The ‘L’ word
The man on my right in the photo is Stuart Martin. He knows more than anyone about how I manage to weave the band name into almost every conversation. I’m exaggerating.
By the end of this post, you will see that I have written ‘Level 42’ more than a dozen times.
Stuart did have the last laugh. He managed to mention the ‘L’ word at least 42-times during his ‘Best Man’ speech at my wedding in 2003.
A while ago, I took a sentimental look back through my vinyl, cassette and CD collection; and these are my top tracks in chronological order, as they first appeared:-
Level 42: My top tracks
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