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Staring at the Sun (Level 42 album)

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Staring at the Sun
Studio album by
Released19 September 1988[1]
StudioStudio Miraval (Correns, France)
GenrePop rock
Length49:41 (CD), 43:42 (vinyl)
Level 42 chronology
Running in the Family
Staring at the Sun
Singles from Staring at the Sun
  1. "Heaven in My Hands"
    Released: August 1988
  2. "Take a Look"
    Released: 10 October 1988
  3. "Tracie"
    Released: 9 January 1989
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic link
Smash Hits[2]

Staring at the Sun is the eighth studio album by British jazz/funk band Level 42, released in 1988. The album includes the singles "Heaven in My Hands" (UK No. 12), "Take a Look" (UK No. 32) and "Tracie" (UK no. 25).


Staring at the Sun is the first Level 42 album not to feature brothers Phil Gould and Boon Gould, although Boon did write the lyrics to six of the songs. They were replaced by British guitarist Alan Murphy, who had collaborated with Go West and singer Kate Bush, and drummer Gary Husband, who had been a member of the band Morrissey–Mullen. This would be the only Level 42 album on which Murphy would appear, as he died only a year after its release from complications related to HIV/AIDS.

Commercial performance[edit]

The album was not as successful as its predecessors, again reaching the Top 5 in the UK Albums Chart but missing the top half of the Billboard 200 in the US. Internationally, it reached the Top 10 in several countries, but ultimately had a lesser impact on the charts than the band's two previous albums.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Heaven in My Hands" (King, R. Gould) – 4:39
  2. "I Don't Know Why" (King, R. Gould) – 4.22
  3. "Take a Look" (King, R. Gould, Lindup, Badarou) – 4:41
  4. "Over There" (King, Lindup) – 3:59
  5. "Silence" (Lindup) – 4:56
  6. "Tracie" (King, Husband) – 4:53
  7. "Staring at the Sun" (King, R. Gould, Badarou) – 4:39
  8. "Two Hearts Collide" (King, R. Gould) – 4:10
  9. "Man" (King, R. Gould, Badarou) – 7:23
  10. "Gresham Blues" A (King) – 5:43

A Available on the CD and cassette only


Level 42



  • Level 42 – producers
  • Wally Badarou – producer
  • Julian Mendelsohn – producer, engineer, mixing
  • Jean Lamoot – assistant engineer
  • Kevin Metcalfe – mastering
  • The Artful Dodgers – sleeve design
  • Mark Hughes – illustration
  • John Stoddart – photography
  • Paul Crockford – management

Chart positions[edit]


Year Album Chart Peak
1988 Staring at the Sun UK Albums Chart 2
1988 Staring at the Sun US Billboard 200 128


Year Song Chart Peak
1988 "Heaven in My Hands" UK Singles Chart 12
1988 "Take a Look" UK Singles Chart 32
1988 "Tracie" UK Singles Chart 25

Sales and certifications[edit]

Certifications for Staring at the Sun
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[3] Gold 50,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[4] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[5] Gold 100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Smith, Robin (17 September 1988). "News: Releases". Record Mirror. p. 6. ISSN 0144-5804.
  2. ^ Smash Hits, October 1988 link
  3. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Level 42 – Staring at the Sun". Music Canada. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  4. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Level 42 – Staring at the Sun" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 16 July 2022. Enter Staring at the Sun in the "Artiest of titel" box. Select 1988 in the drop-down menu saying "Alle jaargangen".
  5. ^ "British album certifications – Level 42 – Staring at the Sun". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 23 August 2022.