Level 42's 10 greatest ever songs, ranked

17 May 2022, 12:02

Level 42
Level 42. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

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

Led by singer and 'king of the slap bass' Mark King, alongside Mike Lindup and Gould brothers Phil and Rowland, the band had many hit singles, and here we've picked our very favourites.

  1. Hot Water

    This was the lead single to Level 42's fifth album True Colours in 1984.

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

  2. Heaven in My Hands

    This energetic track was the lead single to Level 42's 1988 album Staring at the Sun, and the first not to feature the Gould brothers (though, Boon did contribute lyrics).

    If you're a tennis fan, you might remember this being used a lot during the BBC's Wimbledon coverage back in 1989.

  3. Children Say

    This was the final single to be taken from Level 42's huge album Running in the Family.

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

  4. The Sun Goes Down (Livin' It Up)

    This track had something of a sun-kissed yacht rock vibe, and was a top 10 hit from 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, this was Level 42's debut single from their debut album.

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

  6. It's Over

    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 release was one of the first examples of a CD video single (CD-V). Remember those?

  7. Lessons in Love

    This was Level 42's biggest hit single, reaching number three in the UK and number 12 in the US. It was also the second biggest hit across all of Europe in 1986.

    Mark King later revealed that the song started out as a melody from an add-on closing sequence for the live version of their song 'Physical Presence' in 1985.

  8. Leaving Me Now

    This stunning ballad about an end of a relationship, contains a piano solo by Mike Lindup in the middle and at the end, though this is edited down for the single edit.

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

  9. Something About You

    The band weren't sure that this song was good enough for the album, as it had a more commercial sound and glossier 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 dark clown magician, representing the negative aspects in the relationships of Mike Lindup, Phil and Boon Gould with their girlfriends, all played by actress Cherie Lunghi.

  10. Running in the Family

    This 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 driven home by their disappointed father. Mark also laments how one person’s actions and traits usually happen to their children.