Level 42

Level 42


Manchester, England

Birth Name



Also Known As

Level 42
out of 10
User Rating
4 votes


Level 42 started in 1980 as a jazz-funk fusion band, following in the footsteps of such pioneers as Stanley Clarke and Jan Hammer. By the end of the '80s, they were a pop-R&B band with a number of hit singles to their credit, and they continued to perform…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • In 1987, Mark King and Mike Lindup performed a duet version of 'Dune Tune' on the French TV programme Rapido (TF1, France) and called it 'Rapido Blues'.

    • Mark King once appeared on comedy show 'French and Saunders' along with Ralph McTell, Mark Knopfler, Lemmy, David Gilmore and Gary Moore.

    • Mark King has released three solo albums called 'Influences' (1984), 'One Man' (1998) and 'Trash' (1999).

    • Mike Lindup has released two solo albums called 'Changes' and 'Conversations with Silence'.

    • Mike Lindup once appeared on quirky game show Banzai, beating Rick Wakeman on a musical speed challenge that involved playing every note on a piano keyboard in ascending order. Mike did it in 9.1 seconds!

    • Mark King wears tape on his thumb to protect it, after a gig in Holland early in his L42 career when he slapped his bass so hard he split his thumb open.

    • In 1982, Mark King and Mike Lindup, under the name 'Thunderthumbs and the Toetsenman' released a single called 'Freedom' with B-side 'Freedom a Go-go'.

    • 'Thunderthumbs' is Mark King's nickname, because of his bass-playing style, heavily focused on slapping the guitar with his thumb.

    • Mark King is renowned for his use of Jaydee and Alembic basses, but has also used Pangborn, Fender, GB, Moon, MusicMan, Status, Wal and Zon basses at various times in his career.

    • Originally wanting to be a drummer, Mark King had to sell his drum-kit on an ill-fated trip to Austria, so he could buy his ticket home.

    • Mark King originally had career plans to be a drummer, but out of necessity and reluctantly played bass guitar during early jamming sessions with Level 42.

    • Level 42 released a single called Love Games that was a top-40 hit and became an immediate success throughout Europe in 1981.

    • The Level 42 band has its own website.

    • Level 42 released a fourth album Standing in the Light generated their first top ten hit in the UK in 1983.

    • Polydor released The Early Tapes, recorded in the early days of the band when they signed to the Elite label.

    • King and Boon Gould decided the band should be called simply by a number. They added the word Level, supposedly at the suggestion of either Sojka's lawyer, or John Gould's (the third brother and band manager) lawyer.

    • Roland Gould was always known as Boon Gould.

    • Other names considered for the Level 42 band were Powerline and Kick in the Head.

    • Level 42 during the early 1990s, the group tried to blend more of their earlier influences, such as Mahavishnu Orchesta.

    • Lindup was working in London, but would play regularly with the band in loose rehearsal sessions.

    • In late 1979, Phil introduced King to keyboard player Mike Lindup.

    • In 1981, they released Love Games, a top-40 hit.

  • Quotes

  • A phenomenal band of musicians - a rare gem to find a group that sounds even better live than they do in the studio.

    Level 42 is a band that I didn't discover until they'd already reached worldwide commercial success – which started from 1985 onwards with 'World Machine'. I'm overjoyed that I eventually saw the light, and investigated their work from 1980-1984. Some of these early tracks are outstanding pieces of musicianship.

    The band started in 1980 with Mark King, Mike Lindup, Boon Gould and Phil Gould. There was also the renowned keyboardist Wally Badarou, the band's unofficial fifth member.

    Their early style was jazz-funk fusion, and focused heavily on Mark's use of sixteenth notes and 'machine-gun' triplets in the slap-and-pop style. Examples are 'Mr Pink' and 'Sandstorm'. Superb and fantastic!! His ability to play slap or fingerstyle, while singing counterpoint (and chewing gum!) is beyond belief (a good example is 'True Believers').

    Mike, Boon and Phil all provided unique input into the sound of Level 42, with Mike's keyboard melodies and falsetto backing vocals; Boon's understated guitar riffs; and Phil's metronomic and driving drumbeats.

    There have been many changes to the line-up over the years, and the latest album Retroglide has seen Mike and Mark joining forces again after a long break from Level 42. I've seen them live several times over the years, and they love to put on a show. They are the only band I know that sound better live than in the studio.moreless