Level 42’s 10 Best Songs, Ranked

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17 May 2022, 12:02

Level 42.

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Level 42 were one of the most popular soft rock bands of the 1980s, selling millions of records worldwide.

Led by vocalist and “slap bass king” Mark King, alongside Mike Lindup and Gould brothers Phil and Rowland, the group has had many hit singles, and here we’ve picked our favorites.

  1. Hot water

    It was the lead single from Level 42’s fifth album. true colors in 1984.

    The jazzy-funky number gave them a top 20 in the UK, and it was also a top 10 in Europe.

  2. Heaven in my hands

    This energetic track was the lead single from Level 42’s 1988 album. Staring at the sunand the first not to feature the Gould brothers (although Boon contributed lyrics).

    If you’re a tennis fan, you might remember this was used a lot during the BBC’s coverage of Wimbledon in 1989.

  3. The children say

    It was the last single from Level 42’s massive album. Family run.

    The video was Level 42’s first not to feature brothers Phil and Boon Gould, who had recently left the band.

  4. The sun is going down (livin’ it up)

    This track had something of a sunny yacht rock vibe and was in the top 10 of their 1983 album Standing in the Light.

    It was also a relative rarity in that it featured Lindup on lead vocals instead of Mark King.

  5. love games

    Released in 1981, it was Level 42’s lead single from their debut album.

    It almost broke into the UK top 40 at number 38. Sacrilege!

  6. It’s finish

    This song features the narrator coldly breaking up with his partner without saying goodbye, but with just a note left on the wall, even though they “gave them everything”. Ouch.

    Interestingly, the single’s release was one of the earliest examples of a CD video single (CD-V). Remember these?

  7. lessons of love

    It was Level 42’s biggest single, reaching number three in the UK and number 12 in the US. It was also the second highest grossing in all of Europe in 1986.

    Mark King later revealed that the song began as a melody for a complementary closing sequence for the live version of their song “Physical Presence” in 1985.

  8. leave me now

    This superb ballad about the end of a relationship contains a piano solo by Mike Lindup in the middle and at the end, although it is edited for the unique editing.

    The album saw the band move from their original pure jazz-funk to a much more traditional pop-soul style. And it worked !

  9. something about you

    The band weren’t sure if this song was good enough for the album, as it had a more commercial sound and brighter production than their previous jazz funk recordings.

    However, it became their first and biggest hit in America.

    In the video, Mark King appears as a black clown magician, portraying the negative aspects of Mike Lindup, Phil and Boon Gould’s relationships with their girlfriends, all played by actress Cherie Lunghi.

  10. Family run

    It was the second of four singles from the same album to reach the UK top 10 from level 42.

    The song details Mark singing about him and his brother running away from home, only to be caught by a police officer and brought home by their disappointed father. Mark also laments how a person’s actions and traits usually happen to their children.



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