Temptation (Heaven 17 song)

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Heaven 17 Temptation single cover.jpg
Single by Heaven 17
from the album The Luxury Gap
  • "We Live So Fast",
  • "Who'll Stop the Rain"
Released8 April 1983[1]
Length3:08 (7" version)
4:37 (12" version)
Heaven 17 singles chronology
"Let Me Go"
"Who'll Stop The Rain"
Alternative cover
1992 re-release: Brothers in Rhythm Remix
1992 re-release: Brothers in Rhythm Remix

"Temptation" is a single by the Sheffield band Heaven 17, originally released in April 1983, peaking at No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart.[2] This was the second single to be taken from their second album The Luxury Gap, after "Let Me Go" in November 1982. "Temptation" was certified silver by the BPI in May 1983,[1] for sales exceeding 250,000 copies.

Martyn Ware explained the subject matter of the song as "I woke up one morning and thought I've got to write a song about sex, I've never written a song about sex. So the song is about rising sexual tension; it has chords that keep going up like an [M. C.] Escher staircase and in the end there's this big release."[3] Glenn Gregory later recalled that he laughed "when Martyn walked in and said he had this great idea for a song based on the Lord’s Prayer with a never-ending chord structure" (the line "lead us not into temptation" is taken from the Lord's Prayer).[4]

Carol Kenyon provided guest vocals on the recording and continued to work with the band on the Pleasure One and Teddy Bear, Duke & Psycho albums. The song featured a 60-piece orchestra, arranged and conducted by John Wesley Barker, which was also featured on the single "Come Live with Me" and in various tracks on the parent album. In a 2016 interview Ware said that he told Barker that he wanted the arrangement to be "sweeping and expressionistic", giving the theme from The Big Country as an example of the kind of sound required.[4]

Heaven 17 performed this song on Top of the Pops' 1000th edition in 1983.[5]

In 1992, the song was remixed and re-released by Brothers in Rhythm, whose new mix charted at No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart,[2] and reached No. 1 in the UK Dance Chart. The 1992 remix of "Temptation" was certified silver by the BPI in January 1993,[1] for sales exceeding 200,000 copies.

In 2008, the song was re-recorded for Heaven 17's album Naked as Advertised with Billie Godfrey as guest vocalist.[6] On 19 October 2010, Heaven 17 performed the song on Later... with Jools Holland on BBC Two in the United Kingdom.[7]

Music video[edit]

The original Heaven 17 video, directed by Steve Barron showed the band dressed in black, in drab, grey surroundings in a style of German Expressionism and had segments of what looks like an abstract office interview of some kind between vocalists Glenn Gregory and a Carol Kenyon lookalike interspersed throughout. Kenyon herself does not appear in the video, due to a disagreement over appearance money.[4]

Chart performance[edit]

Original version[edit]

Chart (1983) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[8][9] 38
France (SNEP)[10] 20
Germany (Media Control Charts)[11] 11
Irish Singles Chart[12] 3
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[13] 27
Netherlands (MegaCharts)[14] 25
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[15] 15
UK Singles Chart[2] 2
US Billboard Club Play Singles[16] 34

Brothers in Rhythm Remix[edit]

Chart (1992) Peak
UK Singles Chart[2] 4
Irish Singles Chart[12] 9
Chart (1993) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[17] 64
Dutch Top 40[18] 16
Germany (Media Control Charts)[19] 42
GfK Dutch Charts[20] 18

Cover versions[edit]

At the NME Awards 2007, Jarvis Cocker and Beth Ditto performed "Temptation", and released it as a charity single.[21]

Cradle of Filth covered the song in 2006 on their album Thornography.

Heaven 17 collaborated on a new performance of the song with La Roux at Maida Vale Studios on 26 January 2010 for BBC6 Music.[22] At Glastonbury on 25 June 2010, Glenn Gregory was invited on stage to perform the version again with La Roux during their set.[23]

References in popular culture[edit]

"Temptation" was used in the 1996 film Trainspotting and appears on the second volume of the official soundtrack.[24][25] It was also used in the 2010 Plus Net advert, where the band were featured in a tongue-in-cheek appearance performing the song.[26][27]


  1. ^ a b c "BPI > Certified Awards > Search results for Heaven 17". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "Official Charts > Heaven 17". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  3. ^ Martyn Ware interview, BBC Radio 2 Sounds of the 80s, Saturday 2 May 2015
  4. ^ a b c Watkins, Jack (26 July 2016). "Heaven 17: how we made Temptation". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  5. ^ "The Story of 1983". Top of the Pops. 6 January 2017. 31 minutes in. BBC. BBC 4. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Heaven 17 - Naked As Advertised (Versions '08)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  7. ^ "BBC Two - Later... with Jools Holland, Series 37, Episode 6". BBC.
  8. ^ "Countdown ARIA Chart – Week Ending 25th September, 1983". Imgur.com (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  9. ^ 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. N.B. The Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between mid 1983 and 19 June 1988.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 October 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts > Heaven 17 - Temptation (single)" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Irish Chart search results for 'Temptation'" (JPG). I.imgur.com. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  13. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 26, 1983". Radio538.nl. Retrieved 18 January 2009.
  14. ^ "Heaven 17 – Temptation". Dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 18 January 2009.
  15. ^ "Heaven 17 – Temptation (song)". Charts.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  16. ^ "allmusic – Heaven 17 – Billboard singles". Retrieved 18 January 2009.
  17. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  18. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 5, 1993". Radio538.nl. Retrieved 18 January 2009.
  19. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts > Heaven 17 - Temptation [Brothers In Rhythm Remix] (single)" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  20. ^ "Heaven 17 – Temptation (Brothers in Rhythm Remix)". Dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 18 January 2009.
  21. ^ "Jarvis Cocker, Gossip's Beth Ditto Cut Charity Single". Pitchforkmedia.com. Retrieved 18 January 2009.
  22. ^ "BBC - 6 Music - Heaven 17 and La Roux Live". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  23. ^ "La Roux: 'Despite saying nobody likes him, I want to see Kanye West at Glastonbury'". Nme.com. 26 June 2015. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  24. ^ "Trainspotting #2 by Various Artists". De.rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  25. ^ Hollywood, Mike (12 September 2015). "Trainspotting To Return?". Everythingsgonegreen.blogspot.com. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  26. ^ "Heaven 17 - History". Heaven17.com. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  27. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]