Level 42 flying on the wings of love

Mark King and the Gould brothers (Phil and Rowland) were raised on the Isle of Wight. They played in various bands during their teenage years. Phil studied at Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he met Mike Lindup. Mark and Phil joined Robin Sott's M project where they met Afro-French keyboard player Wally Badarou. Wally played keyboards on M's worldwide hit "Pop Muzik".

Level 42 in 1980

The first line-up of Level 42 included: Mark King (Drums), Mike Lindup (keyboards, drums), Phil Gould (drums), Rowland Gould (bass guitar, guitar) and Dominic Miller (guitar). Dominic soon left the band and later he became guitarist for Sting (The Police). They soon found out Phil was the best drummer in the band and Mark decided to learn to play bass guitar instead. Until now they were only playing instrumental songs. Mark picked up the thumb-slap bass guitar technique which became his "trade Mark".

Level 42 in 1981

The name Level 42 is a reference to the novel "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams, in which "42" is the answer to "the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything". They never lost contact with Wally Badarou who became their fifth Beatle. He was co-writing songs, playing keyboards and synthesizers in the studio.

Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Wally Badarou

They signed to Elite Records (a small independent label) in 1980 and their first record was an instrumental B-Side titled "Sandstorm" with Powerline's "Journey To..." on the A-Side. The label asked them to come up with vocals for the songs and they considered recruiting a singer but eventually they decided that Mark and Mike will do the vocals. With the release of the single "Love Meeting Love" they were discovered by Polydor Records who contracted them with the option to release a full album. The last single on the Elite Records label was "Wings Of Love".

Finally in 1981 their debut album was released and Level 42 were the the most famous band in the britfunk movement. The Average White Band, Shakatak and Freeez were other famous Britfunk bands.

Starchild - single cover

The single "Love Games" with vocals of Mark and "Starchild" those of Mike. Inbetween "Turn It On" was also released as a single from the debut album. The album still holds instrumentals like "43", "Heathrow" and "Dune Tune".

After the success of their debut album Polydor bought the rights to their recordings on the Elite Records label and released the album "The Early Tapes" as a second album in 1982.

Original album cover
Level 42
Turn It On / "43" / Why Are You Leaving / Almost There / Heathrow / Love Games / Dune Tune / Starchild

Original album cover

The Early Tapes July/Aug 1980
Sandstorm / Love Meeting Love / Theme To Margaret / Autum (Paradise Is Free) / Wings Of Love / Woman / Mr. Pink / 88

Love Games in TOTP 1981

Starchild in Toppop 1981

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