Level 42
Level 42
Level 42 is an English jazz-funk band formed on the Isle of Wight in 1979. They had a number of UK and worldwide hits during the 1980s and 1990s.

This internationally popular British pop/funk quartet, fronted by Mark King and Mike Lindup, is best known for the hits “Lessons in Love”, “Something About You”, “The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up)”, “Love Games”, and “Hot Water”. The genre-blending group started out on the Isle of Wight. Though their membership has fluctuated throughout the years, the original and perhaps best-known lineup of Level 42 consisted of Mark King aka “Thunderthumbs” (vocals & bass), Mike Lindup (vocals & keyboards), and brothers Boon Gould (guitar) and Phil Gould (drums).

Their first album, ‘Level 42’, came out in July 1981. Their first single, “Love Games”, became a hit, reaching #38 on the U.K. single charts, and has since been a fan-favorite. While the band didn’t quite break into the mainstream completely, this album and its follow-ups featured a spirited new wave sound that drew influence from jazz, funk, and rock.

After the success of the 1987 ‘Running In The Family’ album, the Gould brothers left the band, citing musical differences and nervous exhaustion. Said release, the seventh album from Level 42, included perhaps the group’s most popular and iconic single: “Lessons in Love”. ‘Running In The Family’ and their previous album, 1985’s ‘World Machine’, both brought them international stardom and critical acclaim, with ‘World Machine’ peaking at #3 on the U.K. album charts and staying on that chart for 72 weeks.

King and Lindup continued on after the brother’s departure, picking up replacement artists in Gary Husband on drums and former Go West and Kate Bush guitarist Alan Murphy. Murphy sadly passed away after suffering from an AIDS related illness in October 1989. The band released their then swansong album, ‘Forever Now’, in 1994.

At the end of the 80s, Mark King was recognized as one of the best bass players in the world, having partly pioneered the ‘slap and pull’ technique (treating the bass as a percussion instrument). His style and virtuosity still are hugely influential, considering he also sang while he played very difficult basslines. As time went on, the group’s singles continued to recieve major airplay, particularly the two international mega-hits “Lessons in Love” and “Something About You”

Following the formal breakup of the band in the mid-90s, King later performed with a new lineup under the Level 42 moniker. He and Lindup reunited to record ‘Retroglide’ in 2006. King and Lindup spent part of the 00s and onward still touring, with the personnel of Pete Ray Biggin, Sean Freeman and Nathan King coming in. 

Lessons in Love was Level 42's biggest hit single, reaching number three in the UK and number 12 in the US. It was also the second biggest hit across all of Europe in 1986.


Lessons In Love (Extended Video)

30th Anniversary World Tour 22 October 2010

And of course we can't forget another one of their world-wide hits!


Something About You [Extended Mix]

30th Anniversary World Tour 22 October 2010

Level 42 still tours today.  Hitting all the jazz festivals. 

If you're looking for a similar group you can check out Jonah Nilsson and Dirty Loops.

Author, educator, musician, dancer and all around creative type. Founder of "The Happy Now" website and the online jewelry store "Silver and Sage".

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