You Say It's Your Birthday: Human League and Heaven 17's Martyn Ware

It's also Joey Ramone's birthday today.

Today is the birthday of keyboardist Martyn Ware, who

worked with an early incarnation of the Human League before moving on to Heaven

17; he was born in 1956 in Sheffield, England. Although the Human League was

one of the leaders of Britain's synth-pop movement, their big hits, "Don't You

Want Me" and "Human," didn't come until long after Ware left the group, along

with Ian Marsh, in 1979. Both had been computer operators before turning to

their (musical) keyboards, and together they founded the British Electric

Foundation, an experimental project with a revolving roster aimed at developing

dance music.

Out of that project came Heaven 17, a group which included

Ware, Marsh and vocalist Glenn Gregory. Their first single, "(We Don't Need

This) Fascination Groove Thang," charted at #45 even though the BBC banned the

song for its title. Their self-titled debut came out in 1982, but it was their

second release The Luxury Gap that sold well, soaring all the way to #4

on the UK charts. Meanwhile, Gregory sang with the Band Aid project in 1984 on

"Do They Know It's Christmastime?"

Towards the late 1980s Heaven 17 began

to splinter; Ware coproduced Tina Turner's cover of All Green's "Let's Stay

Together" and Terence Trent D'Arby's Introducing the Hardling According

To.... Even though the group went on hiatus, Ware and Marsh resurrected the

British Electric Foundation in 1990. Ware's most recent work was the production

of Erasure's I Say, I Say, I Say in 1994.

Other birthdays: Danny

Elfman (Oingo Boingo), Eddie Raynor (Split Enz), Pete Townshend, Phillip Rudd

(AC/DC), Greg Herbert (Blood, Sweat and Tears), Jerry Hyman (Blood, Sweat and

Tears), Dusty Hill (ZZ Top), Grace Jones, Joey Ramone (Ramones), Yazz and Jenny

Cecilia Berggren (Ace Of Base). -- Beth Winegarner