I Can’t Believe That I Just Found Out About The OTHER Heaven 17…

Canada's Heaven Seventeen in 1979
Canada’s Heaven Seventeen ca. 1979

I was getting ready to write a quick post about Montreal’s technopop titans, Men Without Hats, when during the hasty [yet undeniably real] research portion of my post, I came across some new data that was slightly mind blowing! And everything changed at that point to shift wildly to the post you are reading instead. To wit: back in the 1978 timeframe, hatless Ivan Doroshuk was a member of a band called…Heaven Seventeen! Word has it that the Montreal punk band was among the first to pick up a synthesizer but at first they were strictly punk rock of a reliable stripe. We can hear a song from the days prior to the lineup with Doroshuk’s involvement on the Rational Youth “odds + sods” collection “Magic Box.”

rational youth magic box cover art
Artoffact Records | CAN | CD | 2013 | AOF151

Rational Youth: Magic Box – CAN – CD [2013]

  1. Bill Vorn: Cinema V [Show Intro]
  2. Rational Youth: Saturdays In Silesia [1981 Demo)
  3. Rational Youth: Just A Sound In The Night [1981 Demo]
  4. Rational Youth: Dancing On The Berlin Wall [1981 Demo]
  5. Tracy Howe & Kevin Komoda: Green Trenchcoat
  6. Bill Vorn: Arcade
  7. Kevin Komoda: Lakeshore Drive
  8. Rational Youth: In Your Eyes [1983 Demo Mix]
  9. Rational Youth: Holiday In Bangkok [1983 Demo Mix]
  10. Rational Youth: Saturdays In Silesia [7″ Remix]
  11. Rational Youth: City Of Night [1982 Pre-Album Mix]
  12. Rational Youth: Saturdays In Silesia [2013 Version]
  13. Tracy Howe: Merry Christmas Mary Ann
  14. Heaven Seventeen: I’ve Got A Sister In The Navy

For the record, Rational Youth are another of those seminal Canadian New Wave bands that I’ve read about for many years, but not yet heard. The lineup on this song was:
Bass – Scott Cameron
Drums, Vocals – Tracy Howe
Guitar – Roman Martyn
Synthesizer [Korg MS-20, Logan StringMelody] – Lysanne Thibodeau

But we can hear a later song called “Tomorrow Today” on two Canadian Men Without Hats compilations [that resist sampling in the US iTunes store]. This was from a later lineup of Heaven Seventeen [as pictured above] featuring:
Bass – Denis Duran
Drums – Tracy Howe
Guitar – Roman Martyn
Vocals – Kim Duran
Vocals, Keyboards – Ivan Doroshuk

This track figures first on the OOP MWH compilation “My Hats Collection”

men without hats - my hats collection cover art
Trilogie Musique ‎| CAN | CD | 2006 | TLGCD-1368

Men Without Hats: My Hats Collection – CAN – CD [2006]

  1. Men Without Hats: The Safety Dance
  2. Men Without Hats: Living In China
  3. Men Without Hats: Antarctica
  4. Men Without Hats: I Got The Message
  5. Men Without Hats: I Like
  6. Men Without Hats: Where Do The Boys Go?
  7. Men Without Hats: Freeways [Euromix]
  8. Men Without Hats: Editions Of You
  9. Men Without Hats: Pop Goes The World
  10. Heaven 17: Tomorrow Today
  11. Men Without Hats: Gravity Is My Enemy
  12. Men Without Hats: Heaven
  13. Men Without Hats: The Safety Dance [Extended Version]
  14. Men Without Hats: Where Do The Boys Go? [Extended Version]

It’s also on the “Silver Collection” Canadian CD+DVD which contains the exact same CD contents as “My Hats Collection” plus a [21 minute] DVD of the band’s videos and an interview from 1983.

 without hats - silver collection cover art
Unidisc ‎| CAN | CD + DVD | 2008 | DOG-1004
men without hats - folk of the 80s cover art

Stiff Records | US | EP | 1980 | TEES-12-01

The personnel for these various lineups crossed over in interesting ways. Roman Martyn and Lysanne Thibodeau contributed to the debut Men Without Hats “Folk Of the 80s” EP [which was originally my subject matter today], but they were joined by Tracy Howe [briefly] before he left to form Rational Youth and MWH recorded their debut album, “Rhythm Of Youth” for the UK-based Statik label. As I was already a fan from the US release of the “Folk Of The 80s” EP, I bought the UK pressing of their debut album as soon as it came out. Only to see that in 1983, it got an American release and the hit “Safety Dance” managed to become a synthpop monster.

Interestingly enough, Roman and Lysanne would come back to guest on the 12″ version of “Where Do the Boys Go?” from the band’s second “Folk Of The 80s [part III]” album. All very fascinating, but I’m still without an easy way to sample “Tomorrow Today.” I’d be curious to hear whether Canada’s Heaven Seventeen had managed to mutate onward from the Punk Rock that “I’ve Got A Sister In The Navy” definitely was by the time that Ivan joined with his synthesizer. And it goes without saying that when the more familiar Heaven 17 formed in the ruins of the Great Human League Schism® in 1981, when they did a title search on the name, the original Canadian band was but a dim memory and we were spared the ignominy of knowing and loving a band named Heaven 17 [UK]!


About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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17 Responses to I Can’t Believe That I Just Found Out About The OTHER Heaven 17…

  1. There is another Heaven 17? This is quite big news. I knew there was an Irish Skid Row before the hair metal band. I knew there were at least 3 Toad The Wet Sprockets and I know there’s a mumblecore hip hop gal calling herself The Cult. But this? Big news


    • postpunkmonk says:

      steveforthedeaf – Hah! I thought you were having sport with me until I checked and Boy Howdy, I saw the other two Toad The Wet Sprockets! The first of them a NWOBHM band from 1979!! This truly staggers the mind because I assumed that any and all “Toad The Wet Sprocket” bands took the name from the “Rock Notes” sketch by Eric Idle on the 1980 “Monty Python Contractual Obligation Album.” But instead the 1979 “Pete’s Punk Song” 7″ single by Toad The Wet Sprocket [prime] points to the far more radical premise that Eric Idle was in fact an avid fan of the NWOBHM!! Either of their singles will cost you plenty today! Just when we think we know it all…

      Liked by 1 person

      • May I point you towards “Blessing” on the Motorhead album Rock & Roll. Quoth Palin: “He who hath seen the trouserless and had compassion”. I think the Pythons were in on the whole NWOBHM joke. That ’79 Toad The Wet Sprocket were MY Toad The Wet Sprocket as they appeared on Metal For Muthas Vol 1.


  2. Schwenko says:

    PPM You say that you are not familiar with Rational Youth? I would highly recommend. At the earliest possible moment you check out “Saturdays in Silesia”, especially the extended remix. It is synthpop caviar!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Vlad says:

    >For the record, Rational Youth are another of those seminal Canadian New Wave bands that I’ve read about for many years, but not yet heard

    You really should rectify that ASAP. Their “Cold War Night Life” album from 1982 is one of the prime synthpop achievements on par with the best of them. It is really one of a kind album that has everything one would expect from a great record, “New Wave” or otherwise. Purely synth stuff, granted, but done with such imagination and feeling, it’s really like once in a lifetime. Unforgettable listening experience, I cannot praise it enough.

    As for Heaven Seventeen songs, “Tomorrow today” sounds to me like Ultravox with Ivan’s vocals we know from MWH records (perhaps less strident). “I’ve got a sister in the navy” was later recorded by Rational Youth in their pop-rock phase of the mid 1980s (still perfectly listenable, but they could never hope to approximate the emotional punch of their debut…).


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Vlad – With a plurality weighing in already “Cold War Night Life” is already on my 2K+ want list. The DLX RM is available and affordable. I should act fast.


      • KeithC says:

        I picked up the CD DLX version on its release date as a partner to the 1997 CD release; improved sound quality along with the bonus tracks make it a must have. I would also suggest having a listen of the 2017 release “Future-Past-Tense” as that is near the top of their releases IMHO. Their Bandcamp page has the near complete discography save for the EMI-imposed Heredity release that bakes many CWNL songs into guitar versions that is thankfully absent. I did buy Heredity off iTunes to replace my feeble cassette conversion; it’s not really all that bad which does reinforce that the songs are quite good. In comparison, nothing on Heredity is as jarring as an afternoon outdoor Canada Day concert by MWH many years ago in Calgary where there was nary a keyboard in sight.

        Nice sleuthing; I’m a bit embarrassed that a Canuck that owns almost all of the band’s output (still looking for the singles box set) and both the MWH CDs you noted as well but never noticed the connection. Not sure about your policy re links but this is a pretty good read about the re-release (given the extras that come with the LP version, this is one of those times I question my CD only policy in the last 25 years).



        • postpunkmonk says:

          KeithC – A sterling comment, hence today’s post! My policy for relinks is liberal, but sensible. While a single comment approved prior gets commenters free reign here, URLs in comments must be approved by me on a case-by-case basis. And I’m a pushover.


  4. Gavin says:

    I am a huge fan of Rational Youth,played their records when I used to DJ in London and more recently on a Mixcloud show I guest on every month.
    I had heard of this other Heaven 17 before,but had forgotten about it in the mists of time.
    I have the extended,remixed version of “I’ve got a sister in the Navy” on the superb RY collection “All Our Saturdays”.
    “Cold War Night Life” is an essential part of any synthpop/minimal wave lovers collection.


  5. Fred says:

    There is another UK Heaven Seventeen….

    I have this flexi but without the picture sleeve. Bought on a London shopping spree in Henway Street where 2 excellent record shops resided. Bought gone and replaced by trendy bars.
    Of course i was under the impression i bought a rare Heaven 17 (the Sheffield one) item….


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Fred – The really wild thing is that the other “Heaven Seventeen,” who formed in 1980 [which you bought a flexi of under dubious circumstances], changed their name to 1919 later in 1981 and lasted from 1981-1984. Moreover, they reconvened in 2014 and have made three albums since!


  6. Fred says:

    ”Dream” by 1919 was a big underground/alternative club hit in the bar i used to frequent here in The Netherlands. Hats off for the DJ who found that b-side on the Cry Wolf EP in the darka ges before the internet!
    A lot of people thought it was The Cure’s Robert Smith ;-) great stuff for a popquiz!
    Available for pre-listen (before you buy) on Spotify and Youtube

    I understand if you don’t want to be swamped by YT-links so feel free to remove this link to the song


  7. Pingback: Rational Youth Released The Ultimate Minimal Synth Album With “Cold War Nightlife” [part 1] | Post-Punk Monk

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