The Levellers are a long running English folk rock band who first formed in Brighton in 1988. Named after a radical political movement in the 17th century, they are one of the most successful bands to emerge from crusty/new age movement and have been consistent as a recording and touring act since the release of their debut in 1990. The line-up consists of Mark Chadwick on vocals and guitar, Jerry Cunningham on bass, Charlie Heather on drums, violin player John Sevink, guitarist Simon Friend and keyboard player Matt Savage.
They were extremely popular during the nineties. In 1994 they headlined the Glastonbury festival where they played to a crowd of 300,000 people which to this day is the festival’s biggest ever crowd turnout. They still continue to record and tour today.
# 10 – Calling Out
This first track is taken from the band’s twelfth album titled Peace that was released earlier this year. The album charted at number eight in the UK, making it their most commercially successful record since 1997’s Mouth to Mouth which reached number five. It is their first album of original material since Static on the Airwaves in 2012. The previous release in 2018, We Are the Collective was a collection of acoustic re-recordings of the band’s previous hits.
# 9 – Shame
This song is one of only two original tracks to be featured on We Are the Collective. As previously stated, ten of the twelve cuts on the record are acoustic versions of other songs recorded throughout the Levelers’ career. Although the next album Peace would surpass it, at the time of its release, this album was their highest charting since Mouth to Mouth when it charted at number twelve in the UK.
# 8 – Julie
This track is taken from the band’s third self-titled album Levellers released in 1993. It is a slow ballad about a girl named Julie who is a social outcast and dies from an overdose after becoming addicted to Heroin. Along with “Belaruse” and “This Garden,” it was one of three singles to be released from the album where it charted at number seventeen on the UK Singles Chart, a lower position than the other two singles which both reached number twelve.
# 7 – What A Beautiful Day
Next is a track from Mouth to Mouth which saw the band experimenting with a more accessible kind of guitar pop. To this day, the track is a live favorite with fans and upon its release managed to widen the band’s fanbase. The track also ended up being the namesake of the band’s own festival that they would later establish in 2003 which still runs to this day in the down of Devon titled “Beautiful Days.” It reached number thirteen in the UK.
# 6 – This Garden
Here is one of the band’s highest charting singles that reached number twelve also taken from Levellers. By this point, the band were now firmly on their way to massive success. A year later in 1994, they would perform their historic record-breaking set at the UK’s Glastonbury festival where they played to 300,000 people- a crowd number that has yet to be beaten. Considering that Glastonbury is Britain’s biggest festival and has hosted some of the world’s biggest artists as headliners, that is most certainly an achievement.
# 5 – One Way
Here is one of the band’s best-known songs taken Levelling the Land, the group’s second album released in 1991. Although many people may not realize now, at a certain point during the nineties The Levellers were one of the band’s that everybody was talking about. This song in particular was a favorite with student’s as well as the band’s core audience of counter-cultural types known in the UK as New Age Travelers. However, as a single it charted in the UK at number fifty-one, a much lower position than many of the later singles.
# 4 – Another Man’s Cause
This song about the Falklands war is also taken from Levelling the Land. The LP reached number fourteen on the UK charts and has since become one of their most successful and biggest selling albums. Although the album originally only contained ten tracks, they released the single “Fifteen Years” afterwards, which due to its success was added in on subsequent re-pressings as the third track.
# 3 – The Riverflow
This track is also taken from Levelling the Land. It is a very upbeat and energetic track which features heavy use of violins. This album was the first to feature Simon Friend who, in addition to being one of the band’s songwriters, also sings and plays several instruments. He replaced Alan Miles who had played guitar and Mandolin as well as sang backing vocals on the debut album. Although Miles did co-write “Liberty Song” from this record.
# 2- Outside/Inside
This track featured on the band’s debut album released in 1990 titled A Weapon Called The Word and was the title track of one of their previously released eps. This record is the only one in the band’s entire back catalogue to feature Alan Miles who played several instruments and was responsible for much of the musical arrangements. As previously stated, he was replaced by Simon Friend who was credited as a member on the 1996 re-release despite not being in the band at the time. It was released as a single before being re-recorded for the album but did not chart.
# 1 – Carry Me
At number one on our Levellers songs list is a track from A Weapon Called The World. It was one of the tracks on the album that was re-recorded and was also the title track of one of their eps released in 1989. This album is a very rare success indeed. It reached platinum status despite the fact that it has never been in the album charts. It achieved this status by selling many units over time, rather than on its initial release. This was possibly due to the popularity that the band gathered with subsequent high charting albums.