Penthouse and Pavement

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Penthouse and Pavement
Penthouse and Pavement.jpg
Studio album by Heaven 17
Released September 1981
Recorded Sheffield, Maison Rouge
Length 50:32 ¹
Label Virgin
Producer British Electric Foundation
Heaven 17 chronology
Penthouse and Pavement
The Luxury Gap
(1983)The Luxury Gap1983
Singles from Penthouse and Pavement
  1. "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang"
    Released: March 1981
  2. "I'm Your Money"
    Released: May 1981
  3. "Play to Win"
    Released: August 1981
  4. "Penthouse and Pavement"
    Released: November 1981
  5. "The Height of the Fighting (He-La-Hu)"
    Released: February 1982

Penthouse and Pavement is the debut studio album by the English synthpop band Heaven 17. It was originally released in September 1981, on the label Virgin.

"(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang" was released as a single, but did not achieve chart success partly due to a ban by the BBC.[1] The album sold reasonably well, but was not a great commercial success on release.[2] It has since been regarded as "an important outing",[2] is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, and was re-released in 2010 in a three-disc special edition. The title track was included on the soundtrack of the 1993 erotic thriller film Sliver.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[2]
Mojo 4/5 stars[3]
PopMatters 8/10[4]
Smash Hits 8/10[5]
Uncut 4/5 stars[6]

Whilst the singles charted poorly, the album charted at No. 14 and remained in the Top 100 for 77 weeks.[7] It was certified gold (100,000 copies sold) by the BPI in October 1982.[8]

Dan LeRoy in a retrospective review for AllMusic felt that the album combined electropop with good melodies, and that Glenn Gregory was able to handle the "overtly left-wing political" lyrics without sounding "pretentious".[2]

The album is included in the musical reference book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[9]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh, and Glenn Gregory.

Side A (Pavement)
No. Title Length
1. "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang" 4:20
2. "Penthouse and Pavement" 6:23
3. "Play to Win" 3:37
4. "Soul Warfare" 5:04
Side B (Penthouse)
No. Title Length
5. "Geisha Boys and Temple Girls" 4:33
6. "Let's All Make a Bomb" 4:03
7. "The Height of the Fighting" 3:01
8. "Song with No Name" 3:36
9. "We're Going to Live for a Very Long Time¹" 3:15
Total length: 38:12
Additional tracks
2010 3-disc special edition

The album was reproduced live in its entirety in a series of concerts the band held throughout 2010, one of which (in Sheffield) was filmed and shown on BBC Two on 16 May 2010. The following night a documentary about the making of the album was screened; this was later included on a new three-disc special edition of the album released in November 2010.


Heaven 17
Session musicians
  • Malcolm Veale – synthesisers; saxophone
  • Josie James – backing vocals on "Penthouse and Pavement"
  • Steve Travell – piano on "Soul Warfare"
  • The Boys of Buddha – synthetic horns
  • John Wilson – bass guitar; guitar; guitar synthesizers on "Pavement" side
Production team

Chart performance[edit]


Chart (1981/1982) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10] 99
New Zealand Albums Chart[11] 45
Swedish Albums Chart[12] 24
UK Albums Chart[13] 14 Gold


Date Single Chart Position
March 1981 "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang" UK 45
May 1981 "I'm Your Money" UK -
August 1981 "Play to Win" UK 46
November 1981 "Penthouse and Pavement" UK 57
February 1982 "The Height of the Fighting (He-La-Hu)"† UK -

† Released as a 12" single only.


  • ¹ – The last track on the original vinyl LP release, "We're Going to Live for a Very Long Time", was recorded up to and onto the runoff groove; meaning the runtime of this track (as labelled on the LP sleeve) and the album is infinite, looping the line "For a very long time".
  • "Groove Thang", "Decline of the West" and "B.E.F. Ident" originally appeared on the B.E.F. cassette-only release Music For Stowaways.
  • All tracks were mixed at Red Bus Studios except "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang" and "Let's All Make a Bomb" which were mixed at The Townhouse.
  • The Canadian LP and cassette releases included the original version of "I'm Your Money" and an uncredited "B.E.F. Ident" between "Geisha Boys and Temple Girls" and "Let's All Make a Bomb."[14] The cassette's version of "Play to Win" is an edited version of the 12" single mix. This version was later released on the 1986 UK compilation Endless (cassette version only)[15]


  1. ^ 1001 Albums: You Must Hear Before You Die. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d LeRoy, Dan. "Penthouse and Pavement – Heaven 17". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "Heaven 17: Penthouse and Pavement". Mojo: 121. It is stark and arty, as evidenced by the anti-nuke 'Let's All Make a Bomb' and the astonishing electronic/symphonic of 'Geisha Boys and Temple Girls.' 
  4. ^ O'Neil, Tim (30 November 2006). "Heaven 17: Penthouse and Pavement / The Luxury Gap / How Men Are". PopMatters. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Rimmer, David (17–30 September 1981). "Heaven 17: Penthouse and Pavement (Virgin)". Smash Hits: 29. 
  6. ^ "Heaven 17: Penthouse and Pavement". Uncut: 86. [They] defined new pop ambitions with Penthouse and Pavement, a steely state-of-the-art, state-of-the-nation address... 
  7. ^ ChartStats (Penthouse and Pavement)
  8. ^ British Phonographic Industry database
  9. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5. 
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 137. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  11. ^ Steffen Hung (27 February 2012). "New Zealand charts portal". Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  12. ^ Steffen Hung (24 February 2012). "Swedish Charts Portal". Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  13. ^ "UK Singles & Albums Chart Archive". Chart Stats. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  14. ^ "Heaven 17 - Penthouse And Pavement". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  15. ^ "Heaven 17 - Endless". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-07-15. 

External links[edit]