Question: are Level 42 too damn clever for their own good? From their name, a nod to Douglas Adams (and a helping hand from their first producer – 42 was just too short for a name), to the super cool, mesmeric quality of their sound, many people would scream YES! I’d say no way. They do form quite a back drop to a lot of my memories of the 80’s. There was the argument in the sixth form refectory between a Level 42 nut and a huge U2 fan (I was into both and didn’t know where to look) which nearly ended in blows and then a mate who bought both the 7″ and 12″ of Running In The Family (the single) and promptly left them on the bus home from town. Ah, happy days.
However, this is about Lessons In Love, the 7″ single. I bought it on the 3rd of May 1986 after it had been in the UK Singles Chart for just a week having been released w/e 26th April. It quickly rose to number 3 – the band’s highest singles chart position. It was backed by a live version of their 1984 hit Hot Water. The track was taken from the album Running In The Family which was released in 1987.
Level 42 is often described as being a jazz-funk group, this is pigeon holing at its worst and laziest. They are a pop group who write their own songs which just make you want to get up and dance. Have a look here (it’s Level 42 and CBSO with a brief chat with George Martin first):