Temptation (Heaven 17 song)

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Single by Heaven 17
from the album The Luxury Gap
B-side "We Live So Fast",
"Who'll Stop the Rain"
Released 11 April 1983
Format 7" vinyl,
12" vinyl,
3" CD,
5" CD,
Recorded 1983
Genre Synthpop, new wave
Length 3:08 (7" version)
4:37 (12" version)
Label Virgin
Writer(s) Glenn Gregory, Ian Craig Marsh, Martyn Ware
Producer(s) B.E.F., Greg Walsh
Heaven 17 singles chronology
"Let Me Go"
"Who'll Stop The Rain"
Alternative cover
1992 re-release: Brothers in Rhythm Remix

"Temptation" is a single by the Sheffield band Heaven 17, originally released in April 1983, peaking at number 2 in the UK charts.[1] This was the second single to be taken from their second album The Luxury Gap, after "Let Me Go" in November 1982.

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 Escher staircase and in the end there’s this big release."[2]

Carol Kenyon provided guest vocals; she continued to work with the band on the Pleasure One and Teddy Bear, Duke & Psycho albums. The song also featured an orchestra, arranged and conducted by John Wesley Barker, which was also heard for the single "Come Live With Me" and in various tracks on the parent album.

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

In 1992, the song was remixed and re-released by the Brothers in Rhythm, whose new mix charted at number 4 in the UK Top 40, and reaching number 1 in the UK dance charts.

In 2008, the song was re-recorded for Heaven 17's album Naked as Advertised with the vocalist Billie Godfrey as guest vocalist.[3] On 19 October 2010, Heaven 17 performed the song on the Later... with Jools Holland show on BBC Two in the United Kingdom.[4]

The single was rated at number 273 on Manchester's All Time Favourite Top 500 Dance Tunes (compiled December 1995).[5]

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.

Chart performance[edit]

Original version[edit]

Chart (1983) Peak
UK Singles Chart[1] 2
Dutch Top 40[6] 27
French Singles Chart[7] 20
German Singles Chart[8] 11
GfK Dutch Charts[9] 25
Irish Singles Chart[10] 3
US Billboard Club Play Singles[11] 34

Brothers in Rhythm Remix[edit]

Chart (1992) Peak
UK Singles Chart[12] 4
Irish Singles Chart[10] 9
Chart (1993) Peak
Dutch Top 40[13] 16
German Singles Chart[8] 42
GfK Dutch Charts[14] 18

Cover versions[edit]

The song was covered by Cradle of Filth in 2006 for the album Thornography.[15]

At the NME Awards 2007, Jarvis Cocker and Beth Ditto performed "Temptation", and released it as a charity single.[16]

Heaven 17 collaborated on a new performance of the song with La Roux at Maida Vale on 26 January 2010 for BBC6 Music.[17] At Glastonbury on 25 June 2010, Glenn Gregory was invited on stage to perform the version again with La Roux during their set.[18]

References in popular culture[edit]

"Temptation" was used in the 1996 film Trainspotting and appears on the second volume of the official soundtrack.[19] It is also used in the 2010 Plus Net advert, where the band were featured in a tongue-in-cheek appearance performing the song.[20][21]


External links[edit]