Like the Human League, Heaven 17 was heavily dependent on synthesizers and drum machines. They had a few minor hits including the early "At the height of the fighting (He-La-Hu)" which featured on the album Penthouse and Pavement and reached number 45 in the UK. Also in this early period "(We don't need this) Fascist Groove Thang" attracted some attention, became a left-wing anthem for a while, and was banned by the BBC because of its overtly political lyrics.
Major chart success eluded them until the single "Temptation" (in which they were augmented by the vocalist Carole Kenyon) reached number two in the UK charts in the summer of 1983. Other songs from the same album, The Luxury Gap, also charted though not as high - "Come Live With Me" reached number 5 in the UK, "Crushed by the Wheels of Industry" reached number 17, "Let Me Go", 41. The album itself charted at their best ever position, number four.
Since then the band has continued to work and has had some other moderately successful albums (How Men Are reached number 12), but no more top-10 success. They still work together doing 80s revival shows.
The British Electric Foundation was a name also used by Heaven 17 for some of its creative and promotional activities.