I wonder if some of you were imagining that I was going to say something ridiculous along the lines that Temptation by New Order wasn’t in fact the greatest 45 ever released.  Ha!

This piece is, instead, about the Heaven 17 song which reached #2 in the UK singles chart back in April 1983, another of those songs that seems to be just about universally loved but has never been regarded as much cop here in Villain Towers.

I was a fan of Heaven 17 before its release and remained so afterwards but this, by far their biggest hit and best-known track was one that I usually lifted the needle over which meant that when I played Side 2 of The Luxury Gap LP, I went straight to its second track, the rather schmaltzy Come Live With Me.

Temptation annoyed me from the outset.  I thought it was tuneless and I wasn’t a fan of the OTT and occasionally screeching co-vocal courtesy of Carol Kenyon.  My mood wasn’t helped by the fact that having experienced flops with all the excellent singles from Penthouse & Pavement as well as the superlative Let Me Go, the band were now regulars on Top of The Pops with the worst thing they had done to this point in time.  I despaired, again, at the poor taste being demonstrated by the record-buying public.

Even today, if it gets aired at one of the retro nights I occasionally drop into, I’ll sit on my backside and sulk rather than strut my stuff on the dance floor.  And as I do, I will quietly laugh at any couples who use the occasion to act out a Glenn/Carol sing-song fantasy with one another.

mp3 : Heaven 17 – Temptation

I’m sort of enjoying doing these negative pieces for therapeutic reasons.  But please, as ever, feel free to disagree.





  1. This is a post I can get behind. In complete agreement on every aspect of Heaven 17 you mention. On another note, this might be the first time I don’t agree with FORW on something. Nearly 36 years and hundreds of plays later, I’m still not tired of Come on Eileen.

  2. This is a post I can’t get behind. I agre with the over familiarity bit but…I actually think it’s a great track with a great melody and a scorching one off vocal performance. Since I read this this morning the tune has been running through my head.

  3. I disagree with FORW, it was not ruined by over-familiarity, it’s simply a terrible song. Unlike Temptation, which is a fine pop song.

  4. Temptation disappointed me when I first heard it – I was expecting something more in line with the tracks on Penthouse & Pavement. I don’t mind it too much now, but it will never be my favourite of theirs. One of many acts whose biggest commercial success didn’t come with their most interesting release.

  5. I was never a fan of Heaven 17. Temptation doesn’t bug me like it does you, it just does nothing for me. That is arguably worse than being moved to feel something one way or the other.

  6. As a big H17 fan, I also found it disappointing. Especially after the world-straddling “Let Me Go” failed in the UK charts [but remains H17’s calling card in America*]. I also considered Carol Kenyon’s dominance on the track somewhat tiring/shrill. I have to say that I loved the Expressionist sexual harassment video that is sadly more topical now than 35 years earlier.

    I will say that I found the Brothers In Rhythm 1992 post-modern remix of this tune absolutely superior. Their “Gipsy Kings” take on the song was pretty exciting. And that’s a statement you will very rarely hear issue from my lips. I like it a lot more live now with their stellar new vocalist Billie Godfrey singing it. She’s much less shrill than I found Ms. Kenyon.

    So to sum up:
    • headscratching regarding the first hit version
    • loved the second hit version
    • sign me up for the song live as H17 now tour regularly.

    * It peaked at 41…41! in the UK charts, and only got to 74 in the Billboard Hot 100 in America, but it really hit high on the Billboard Dance Chart at #4, and even got to #32 in the Billboard Rock Chart… which is insane since in 1982 that chart was dominated by the likes of Journey and Asia!

  7. p.s. – I once actually heard “Let Me Go” on the radio in Central Florida that played in college drawing class. The station? WDIZ-FM – normally total classic rock/metal [Led Zeppelin/Who/Stones axis] but during the Spring of 1983 they had a dalliance with “New Music,” and H17 actually got FM Rock airplay! I suspect their ratings were down due to people watching MTV instead. In America, at that time, MTV was very influential in getting tons of UK acts onto the charts. Most of this was on the top 40 charts, but AOR Rock stations also felt the pinch, obviously. So… proof of the #32 Rock charting of the song!

  8. I actually saw their 1st ever live performance 20 years ago. Agree that it is not the strongest thing on ‘Luxury Gap’ – has to be the ‘Key to the world’ with the Tower of Power horns, ‘Let me go’ e.g. the 1st side. 2nd side not so good. I actually liked ‘How men are’ when it came out, but now other than ‘Reputation’ not much. Penthouse and Pavement was up against Dare when it came out, and I think Dare is more poppy and a classic but the Heaven 17 album has greater depth. Had it lost it contenders? PS I like their cover of Partyfearstwo because it is different, and is done as a waltz. Didn’t Billy M do Music of Quality and Distinction?

  9. It’s all about over familiarity for me. Heard in situ on The Luxury Gap, I enjoy Temptation, but it is really not representative of the band as a single.

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