I’ve become a Two Dots fanatic. It’s like Candy Crush and all the other games for smartphones and tablets. You connect dots of the same color, which removes them from the board and moves all the remaining dots down. You have a certain number of moves to complete a task (e.g. remove thirty red and thirty green dots in twenty-five moves). If you do, you get points and can move on to the next level, i.e. a tougher puzzle to solve. If you run out of moves before completing the task, you’re offered five more moves or a “bomb” for the low, low price of 99 cents. If you choose not to do business with them, you lose a life. Lose five lives, and you have to wait about two hours before you can try again. The creators of the game have said they have completed all of the levels without having to buy anything, so I don’t. Currently, I’m stuck at level 42, and it reminded me of Level 42, the rock/jazz/funk/fusion/Euro-pop/sophisti-pop band from the Eighties.
There was an issue of Bass Player magazine in the early Nineties (when I was playing bass) that had a feature on Mark King, Level 42’s bass player and lead singer. It talked about his bass-slapping technique, where you hit the strings with the side of your thumb rather than plucking them. I could never master the technique, but I enjoyed the band’s music. They started in 1979 with King, brothers Phil (drums) and Boon (guitar) Gould, and Mike Lindup (keyboards and vocals). Their first hit record in the UK was “The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up).” It reached the Top Ten in the UK in 1984. Their 1985 album World Machine was their breakthrough in the US and UK.
In the US, the hit single from that album was “Something About You,” which reached #7 on the Hot 100 in 1986. It’s our first song today.
In the UK, the hit single from the album was “Lessons in Love.” It hit #1, and is our second song.
After the release of Running in the Family in 1987, the Gould brothers left. Alan Murphy, Boon Gould’s replacement on guitar, died in 1989 after the release of Staring at the Sun, and was replaced by fusion guitarist Alan Holdsworth for their next album, 1991’s Guaranteed. They released one more album in the 1990’s, 1995’s Forever Now. Mark King’s brother Nathan joined the band in 2001, and the band released Retroglide in 2006. They’re still active, having just played the Castle Concerts in the UK two weeks ago. Their website is Level42.com.
Level 42, your Two for Tuesday, July 29, 2014,