Penthouse and Pavement

Penthouse and Pavement is the debut studio album by English new wave and synth-pop band Heaven 17, released in September 1981 by Virgin Records.

Penthouse and Pavement
Penthouse and Pavement.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 1981 (1981-09)
StudioMaison Rouge (Sheffield)
Length50:32 ¹
ProducerBritish Electric Foundation
Heaven 17 chronology
Penthouse and Pavement
The Luxury Gap
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

"(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.[2] The album sold reasonably well, but was not a great commercial success on release.[1] It has since been regarded as "an important outing",[1] 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
AllMusic     [1]
Mojo     [3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [5]
Smash Hits8/10[6]
Uncut     [7]

Whilst the singles charted poorly, the album charted at No. 14 and remained in the Top 100 for 77 weeks.[8] It was certified gold (100,000 copies sold) by the BPI in October 1982.[9]

Reviewing the album for NME, Paul Morley said: "Penthouse and Pavement is fabulous and it won't deny your needs and you just put our faith in it because it is true."[10] It was ranked the fifth best album of 1981 by NME.[11]

In a retrospective review, Dan LeRoy of AllMusic felt that the album combined electropop with good melodies, and that Glenn Gregory was able to deliver the "overtly left-wing political" lyrics without sounding "pretentious".[1]

The album is included in the musical reference book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[2]

Track listingEdit

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

Side A ("Pavement")
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")
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
Bonus tracks

All tracks are written by Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh, and Glenn Gregory, except where noted.

Bonus tracks (1997 US edition)
10."I'm Your Money" (extended mix)5:10
11."Play to Win" (extended mix)7:29
Bonus tracks (2006 remastered edition)
10."Groove Thang" (performed by the B.E.F.) 4:07
11."Are Everything" (12" version)Pete Shelley4:28
12."I'm Your Money" (12" version) 5:10
13."Decline of the West" (performed by the B.E.F.)
  • Ware
  • Marsh
14."Honeymoon in New York/B.E.F. Ident" (performed by the B.E.F., "B.E.F. Ident" unlisted)
  • Ware
  • Marsh
  • Malcolm Veale
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.

Track list
Disc 1
  1. "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang"
  2. "Penthouse and Pavement"
  3. "Play to Win"
  4. "Soul Warfare"
  5. "Geisha Boys and Temple Girls"
  6. "Let's All Make a Bomb"
  7. "The Height of the Fighting"
  8. "Song with No Name"
  9. "We're Going to Live for a Very Long Time"
  10. "I'm Your Money" (12" Version)
  11. "Are Everything" (12" Version)
  12. "Decline of the West"*
Disc 2
  1. "Penthouse and Pavement" (Original Demo)
  2. "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang" (Original Demo)
  3. "Play to Win" (Original Demo Instrumental)
  4. "Soul Warfare" (Original Demo)
  5. "Are Everything" (Original Demo)
  6. "BEF Ident" (Alternate Version)*
  7. "Decline of the West" (Alternate Version)*
  8. "Rise of the East" (Alternate Version)*
  9. "Music to Kill Your Parents By" (Alternate Version)*
  10. "Uptown Apocalypse" (Alternate Version)*
  11. "A Baby Called Billy" (Alternate Version)*
  12. "Rhythmic Experiment 1"*
  13. "Rhythmic Experiment 2"*
  14. "Boys of Buddha Experiment"*
  15. "At the Height of the Fighting" (Original Rhythm Track)
  16. "Rhythmic Loop Experiment"*
  17. "Funky Experiment"*
  18. "Song Experiment"*
  19. "Heavy Drum Experiment"*
  20. "Play to Win" (Original Demo With Vocals)

* credited to B.E.F.

Disc 3 (DVD)

  1. The Story of Penthouse And Pavement (2010 documentary)


Heaven 17

Session musicians

  • Malcolm Veale – synthesizers, saxophone
  • The Boys of Buddha – synthetic horns
  • Steve Travell – acoustic piano (4)
  • John Wilson – guitars (1-4), guitar synthesizers (1-4), bass (1-4)
  • Josie James – backing vocals (2)



Chart performance for Penthouse and Pavement
Chart (1981–1982) Peak
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[12] 99
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[13] 18
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[14] 45
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[15] 24
UK Albums (OCC)[16] 14


Certifications for Penthouse and Pavement
Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[17] Gold 100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

In popular cultureEdit

The album song "Penthouse and Pavement" is featured in Rockstar Games video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories where it is played on the fictional radio station Wave 103.


  • 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 (1981).
  • 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."[18] 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)[19]


  1. ^ a b c d e LeRoy, Dan. "Penthouse and Pavement – Heaven 17". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b Shade, Chris (2011). "Penthouse and Pavement: Heaven 17 (1981)". In Dimery, Robert (ed.). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Cassell Illustrated. ISBN 978-1-84403-699-8. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  3. ^ Buckley, David (September 2006). "Heaven 17: Penthouse and Pavement". Mojo. No. 154. p. 116.
  4. ^ O'Neil, Tim (30 November 2006). "Heaven 17: Penthouse and Pavement". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 19 September 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  5. ^ Halasa, Malu (1983). "Heaven 17". In Marsh, Dave; Swenson, John (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Record Guide (2nd ed.). Random House/Rolling Stone Press. p. 222. ISBN 0-394-72107-1.
  6. ^ Rimmer, Dave (17–30 September 1981). "Heaven 17: Penthouse and Pavement". Smash Hits. Vol. 3, no. 19. p. 29.
  7. ^ "Heaven 17: Penthouse and Pavement". Uncut. p. 86. [They] defined new pop ambitions with Penthouse and Pavement, a steely state-of-the-art, state-of-the-nation address...
  8. ^ Official Charts Company (Penthouse and Pavement)
  9. ^ British Phonographic Industry database
  10. ^ Morley, Paul (19 September 1981). "Heaven 17: Penthouse and Pavement (BEF/Virgin)". NME. Retrieved 29 November 2020 – via Rock's Backpages.
  11. ^ "1981 Best Albums And Tracks Of The Year". NME. 10 October 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  14. ^ " – Heaven 17 – Penthouse and Pavement". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  15. ^ " – Heaven 17 – Penthouse and Pavement". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  16. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  17. ^ "British album certifications – Heaven 17 – Penthouse and Pavement". British Phonographic Industry. 14 October 1982. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  18. ^ "Heaven 17 - Penthouse And Pavement". Discogs. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  19. ^ "Heaven 17 - Endless". Discogs. Retrieved 15 July 2016.

External linksEdit