Heaven 17 ‘Heaven 17’ US compilation album (Arista AL6606, 1983)

The second in a brief series focusing on US albums compiled by cherry-picking a couple of already released UK albums to create something else – last time out it was O.M.D. by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, this time it’s the turn of Heaven 17. Released in America and in Europe, this release pulled together much of the band’s debut album, ‘Penthouse & Pavement’ along with a couple of tracks that would shortly thereafter be included on the second album, ‘The Luxury Gap’, plus the early single ‘I’m Your Money’. There was no UK equivalent release for this album, so I came to it many years later as one of those interesting regional curiosities that the the record industry of the time would throw up, and which were exotic manna for collectors such as I.

Heaven 17 USA compilation LP - front
^ Heaven 17 USA compilation LP – front

For American fans of the band in particular though, depending on your point of entry to appreciation of the band and what it had to offer, this might either represent a bona fide debut release (if you were all new to the band and not familiar with the history), since ‘Penthouse & Pavement’ was not issued in the States at the time …or just sent to mix up matters if you were already tuned in and, keen as mustard, had bought ‘P&P’ on import. (In fact, since starting this post, the ever reliable font of knowledge PostPunkMonk has touched upon this very release in passing while looking at ‘Let Me Go’ and it’s 40th anniversary.)

Heaven 17 USA compilation LP - rear
^ Heaven 17 USA compilation LP – rear

Although it states 1982  on sleeve and label, it looks more likely that the release date was January or February of 1983 looking back at the media of the time. (It was a new entry on the Billboard album charts of the time at number 115 on the chart dated week of 12 February 1983.

Heaven 17 USA compilation LP - label side A
^ Heaven 17 USA compilation LP – label side A

In terms of the Version craziness to be had – well, nothing exclusive really. It’s not noted on the sleeve nor label but the version of ‘The Height Of The Fighting’ is the single version complete with additional brass section. The version of ‘I’m Your Money’ is the original vinyl 7” mix (without the B.E.F. Ident at the end though).

Heaven 17 USA compilation LP - label side B
^ Heaven 17 USA compilation LP – label side B


Side One:

  1. Who Will Stop The Rain (3’01”)
  2. Penthouse & Pavement (6’20”)
  3. Play To Win (3’32”)
  4. Let Me Go (4’15”)

Side Two:

  1. (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang (4’16”)
  2. The Height Of The Fighting (2’52”)
  3. Geisha Boys & Temple Girls (4’30”)
  4. i’m Your Money (3’30”)
  5. We’re Going To Live For A Very Long Time (2’54”)

6 Replies to “Heaven 17 ‘Heaven 17’ US compilation album (Arista AL6606, 1983)”

  1. I bought this as soon as it came out, and already had the “Let Me Go” UK 12″ at the time. I’d put it at somewhere in the fall of 1982. Because I reviewed it for my college newspaper and I was on the staff that semester. The big draw was “Who Will Stop The Rain” months before “The Luxury Gap” was released in England. There were three singles from this album in America. “Who Will Stop the Rain” in a pre-release promo-only 12″ with an exclusive dub mix by Chris Nelson [who was also responsible for the US promo 12″ mix of “White Boys + Heroes” by Gary Numan]. The commercial singles of “Let Me Go” 12″/7″ from 1982 and the “We Live So Fast” 12″/7″ which was the last single from 1983, prior to the US release of “The Luxury Gap.” I have all of the Arista 12″singles from this period on as well as the 7″ of “We Live So fast” for that salmon tinted PS.

    Those American 12″ remixes eventually were released in the UK as B-sides to the “Temptation” 12″ single in April of 1983.

    If you cite Billboard showing a chart entry for the US “Heaven 17” album it may have been the case that only by February of 1983 did it ever begin to chart in spite of being released months earlier! I can say that “Let Me Go” was getting some airplay at that time since I actually heard the song once on radio then.

  2. Thanks for those valuable insights, Monk – the Billboard charts are a mystery to me, so I would assume you are spot on – the UK charts tended to be weighted to things arriving with a rocket on release date, rather than slow burn. I think the 7″ version was a different edit of the song – though the album has the same version as per ‘The Luxury Gap’?

  3. Yes, the rise of an album on the US chart could be a slow and stately affair in huge, balkanized America with a thousand radio stations; each closer to independent programming back then before Reagan gutted FCC rules to allow for corporations to own unlimited outlets. The homogenization of the US media landscape over the last 40 years has ironically brought it closer to the UK standard in practice, with an opposing political ethos in place! Over here, state ownership of the spectrum [decided in the 1920s when radio was spreading] never had a chance. Correct on the “We Live So Fast” issue. The US 7″ is a [nice] remix and differs from the LP mix.

  4. Interesting to note the difference… in the UK back at that time (and since), the trend for certain acts was to crash in high the week after release, stick around and then fall away swiftly once sales with the established fan base petered out – perhaps a rally with a subsequent hit single release – Gary Numan a good example of this. The ‘Heaven 17’ album obviously much more of a slow burn release by comparison to the UK norm, picking up momentum slowly. While trawling through the Billboard charts I noticed hat Numan’s album ‘Dance’ charted in the US months after the UK release date, which would get me thinking maybe it had a later release date stateside – but perhaps not so, just a slower climb up the charts like you say.

  5. I am here to tell you that “Dance” was released the week of September 25, 1981, because I bought it on my birthday, the next day, along with “Rage In Eden” and “The Garden!” This is burned into my cells! So its appearance on the Top 200 a month later showed the lag between release and charting in colossal America. Ugh! That was the first time I’ve tried to find US chart positions on Billboard.com. The official UK charts have a much better interface on their website!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *