Level 42

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About Level 42

Slap-bass virtuosity is historically the province of prog-rock musos and flashy fusionists, but in the mid-’80s, Level 42 brought jazz-schooled chops to pop. Formed in 1979 on the Isle of Wight, Level 42 were originally among the coterie of musicians orbiting around producer Robin Scott’s new-wave project M (of “Pop Muzik” fame), but their initial, instrumental-heavy albums were steeped in the synth-sparkled gloss and worldbeat accents of early-’80s fusion. By mid-decade, the vocal interplay between bassist Mark King’s smooth croon and keyboardist Mike Lindup’s swooning falsetto had become increasingly central to their sound, and alongside groups like Tears for Fears and Wang Chung, Level 42 epitomized the sophisticated, aspirational sound of Thatcher-era British pop on crossover hits like “Something About You” and “Lessons in Love.” Following the multi-platinum global success of 1987’s Running in the Family, fraternal founding members Phil and Boon Gould left due to a combination of burnout and dissatisfaction with the band’s commercial direction. But King and Lindup kept Level 42 lodged in the UK Top 10 up to their 1994 dissolution, before staging periodic reunions in the 21st century.

Isle of Wight, England

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