Heaven 17 – Temptation
Trying to find it (Temptation)
You've got to get up behind it (Temptation)
Put your dime in the hot slot (Temptation)
But it's a million to one shot (Temptation)
Ok, I know, I put the blame on me, I wrote a sexist title. Actually I really just wanted to highlight four fundamental elements of a beautiful song released in April 1983. Where do we start? Let’s start with the orange, which is not a normal orange, but A Clockwork Orange. And in Kubrick’s famous film, in 1972, a band called Heaven 17th is mentioned. Eight years later we move to Sheffield, and we find two great musicians forming a new band. Ian Craig Marsh and the great Martyn Ware had created another very successful band, The Human League, a short time earlier.
Being both keyboardists, they needed a singer, and they chose their friend Glenn Gregory. Glenn was unavailable at the time, so their second choice was Phil Oakey. Certainly Phil Oakey is a great profile, but within a year the harmony between the three musicians ended, and between lawyers and producers Oakey decided to take on debts and commitments of The Human League in order to continue to use that name. And within a short time he recruited Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall and The Human League as we know them were born, ready for hits like The Lebanon and Don’t you want me.
Marsh and Ware left to form a new band, finally found their friend Glenn Gregory available, and gave the new group the name Heaven 17. After a couple of gruelling years they found a first success with Let me go in the Fall of 1982. At that time, one morning the good Martyn Ware woke up with one of his ideas: he wanted to write a song that talked about sex. He had never written a song about sex, and he didn’t want to talk about it explicitly, but he wanted to recreate in a song the emotional and physical tension that grows all the time when we’re attracted to a person who exchanges our feelings back. In short, he realized that his song should not be explicitly about sex, but about the growing temptation we feel when we are attracted and reciprocated by a new person.
And so one of Heaven 17’s greatest hits, Temptation, was born. But Ware soon realized that his and Gregory’s male voices would not be enough to express the rise of this tension, they needed a female voice, and so we get to the last element of our title, women.
In fact, the most captivating part of the whole song is probably that part of the chorus where the beautiful female voice is singing along with Heaven 17. They had turned to a very good vocalist, Carol Kenyon. In England she was well known, and a few years later she also sang in Paul Hardcastle’ s Don’t waste my time, for example.
Carol agreed to sing, but did not agree with the production to appear in the video as well, or perhaps simply did not want to. However, if they wanted to shoot a video, given the topic and especially given the importance of Carol’s voice, they definitely needed a female singer in the video too. They then turned to an English model who was a sort of Carol Kenyon’s lookalike. The model was also quite well known and her name was Gillian De Terville. She was the first coloured girl to appear on the Sun’s famous third page, the one that would soon host Samantha Fox’s debut.
It was a fabulous coincidence for Gillian, because she had just finished acting, with a minor role, even in a James Bond film. She was in fact one of the Octopussy Girls in Octopussy, who would be released a few months away. So the beautiful and smart Gillian found a way to become popular with the video of Temptation just before the film with Roger Moore, which of course gave her a visibility far beyond the marginal importance of the role she had in the movie.
But for Gillian it was just the beginning: it is said that the following year a phone call rang at her parents’ house, and her mother passed the phone to her daughter saying.. “It’s for you, it’s a Bob…” Gillian did not immediately understand, and perhaps struggled to believe it, but it was Robert De Niro who wanted to meet her. And they started a relationship that lasted for much of 1984.
In short, Martyn Ware’s creative genius had managed to create a very strong new group, to create a song and a video that would enter the story of the 80s, and even to give birth to a love story!!!!
Heaven 17 on Wikipedia