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Beats International

After the 1988 demise of the superb British pop group the Housemartins, Brighton-born bassist Norman Cook returned to his first love, DJing, and became one of the English music scene's most successful remixers. In 1989 he launched a solo recording career with the single "Won't Talk About It," featuring the falsetto vocals of Billy Bragg; the record became a major dance hit, and after a follow-up, "For Spacious Lies," Cook formed Beats International, a loose confederation of studio musicians including vocalists Linda Layton and Lester Noel, rapper MC Wildski, and keyboardist Andy Boucher.

Beats International's 1990 debut single, "Dub Be Good to Me" -- a cover of the SOS Band's "Just Be Good to Me" incorporating the bass line of the Clash's "The Guns of Brixton" -- topped the UK charts, becoming an international club smash. After another hit, the soul/jazz/worldbeat cocktail "Burundi Blues," the group issued their sample-heavy debut LP Let Them Eat Bingo, which debuted in the Top 20 of the British charts. Although Cook had become even more highly sought-after as a remixer, teaming with artists ranging from Aztec Camera to the Jungle Brothers, he reconvened Beats International in 1991 for Excursion on the Version, an exploration of dub and reggae rhythms; when the album failed to repeat the success of its predecessor, Cook disbanded the group to focus on his new unit, Freak Power. [See Also: Fatboy Slim] ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Let Them Eat Bingo

1. Burundi Blues

2. Dub Be Good To Me

3. Before I Grow Too Old

4. The Ragged Trousered Percussionists

5. For Spacious Lies

6. Blame It On The Bassline

7. Won't Talk About It

8. Dance To The Drummer's Beat

9. Babies Makin' Babies (Stoop Rap)

10. The Whole World's Down On Me

11. Tribute To King Tubby

12. For Spacious Lies (12" Version)

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