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The English Beat

One of the earliest and most important ska revivalist groups, Birmingham's the Beat formed in 1978 (the band had to change its name to the English Beat in the U.S. to avoid confusion with Paul Collins' band of the same name). The multiracial band carved a distinct sound through the use of alternating lead vocals by guitarist Dave Wakeling and punk toaster/rapper Ranking Roger, supported by a tight band consisting of Andy Cox (guitar), David Steele (bass), and Everett Moreton (drums). The addition of 50-year-old saxophonist Saxa, who originally played with Prince Buster and Desmond Dekker, gave the band credibility and fleshed out its sound. An opening spot for the Selecter led to the band's signing to 2-Tone, where they released the hit single "Tears of a Clown," a wonderful version of the Smokey Robinson classic. In 1980, the band decided to form its own 2-Tone-inspired label, Go-Feet (distributed by Arista). A string of hit singles followed in the U.K., including "Mirror in the Bathroom." Their debut LP, I Just Can't Stop It, combined the early hits with other pop/ska-oriented material. "Stand Down Margaret," with its anti-Thatcher stance, found the band moving in a more political direction, leading to several benefit gigs for "radical" causes. Musically, the Beat slowed down the tempo for a more traditional reggae sound showcased on 1981's Wha'ppen. This direction failed to bring the chart success of its predecessor. Featuring a more pop-oriented approach, 1982's Special Beat Service helped the band increase its U.S. fan base through MTV exposure of "Save It for Later" and "I Confess," but the bandmembers decided to call it quits early the following year. Wakeling and Ranking Roger went on to form General Public, and Cox and Steele formed Fine Young Cannibals. ~ Chris Woodstra, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Live At The US Festival '82 & '83

Comments

SKA music, totally forgot about that genre and this band. It's weird how some music styles just fade out. I think I saw these guys play at the Del Mar Fair ( San Diego), when I was in junior high! Ugh I feel old, lol. Saw lots of great bands there for free.
This is SKA!! Wha happened to it man?!? It was such a rush, such a great gift! The people, the life of endless possibilitie s in every second of this song! I love it!!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! !
Don't read this because it actually works.You will get kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reding this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in at least143 minutes when if done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters this is Scary cuz it actually works!
jamesmoses46
big shot!!!
This music will live on...
@osobrino66, great story. I love reading posts that detail what individuals relate to certain songs or bands. cheers
Back in the 80s saw these guys a bunch of times. A little (English) beat always got the keggers hoppin in college. A neighbor that hated us because of the noise from our parties was somewhat won over when he came over to complain and we played him some of our ska. He never called the cops again and even came to a couple parties. The kind bud may have helped a bit too.
Fantastic band.
Saw them last night!! Great great show!! $20 tickets small general admission! Dave sounded amazing!! Love love love The Beat!
Sugar and stress pops up. I love this because it a good homage to the Pioneers.
I can't seem to pull up the two best songs on this album Sugar and Stress + Rotating Head. Those have the most important lyrics on this album!
This is by far my favorite ska-band. Love the music & the lyrics!
saw them in chicago a few weeks back...good show!
Bad az song by a bad az band- skank till you rank and bop till you drop. Ska forever!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! !
bossman2fres h
Miss those days real music and real people mod and ska for life
My favorite cover band, a Fine Mess, did a great version of Ranking Full Stop. We'd yell Don't Stop. during the false endings and they'd kick it in again. So much fun. Turned me on to this band. I bought absolutely everything I could find, but stupidly in cassette format - now long gone...
Save It For Later has become something of an anthem, even Pete Townsend has done a cover! (Harvey Danger did a great version too)

as for the Beat's own cover takes, Tears Of A Clown and Cant Get Used To Losing You - magic, better than the originals!
initially saw them open for the Pretenders at the Agora ballroom in atlanta in 1981
US Festival and saw them as General Public
Twist and crawl is one of the best songs ever, specially with some herbal assist
mistycara13
Saw them open for The Clash! Such an awesome show!
This song (Mirror in the Bathroom) should be the anthem for the 2010 decade: narcissism gone wild (the FaceBook disease).
kdirg
Saw them at Roseland in NYC w/Squeeze... g r e a t show!
njbii
they just played in Cincinnati and i missed them, grew up loving them!
mistycara13
I so loved these guys!! Totally awesome live!!
compassionvb that was quite A SHOW INDEED!
Saw them at Alpine Valley Wisconsin with Oingo Boingo, Bow Wow, and The Police back in '81!!!
seen them at the Starwood in Hollywood '82 ! Wow, did actually write 82? lol
Love and unity is the only ting!!!!!!! Love the BEAT!!!!!!
Love English Beat, they are awesome. Glad that they are still around playing.
mikem12370
Just saw them Last week in Omaha! What a show! and we got to meet the Band as well backstage, ggod guys and they are havng a blast! First saw them at Red Rocks 25 years ago!
Just saw them the other night in Detroit. Great show. I got to talk to Dave Wakeling after the show while he was standing outside his bus.
peterabroad
Wow saw them at the Bob Marley performing arts center in Mo' Bay Jamaica, circa '82...all cinder block and dirt floor. Seeing 'em in St Louis outside this Sunday. Won't be the same but nothing ever is. Cool runnings ska bras.
saw em live great stufff
if n u caint join em dem beat em mon
I thionk that picture is from the Special Beat Service era, circa 1983, after Saxa had left and they officially added a keyboardist. I saw a video of them playing live here in the states in 83 and this was the line up.
Damned good.
up beat with the English Beat!
Hey, Discographer ! Wha'ppen to Wha'ppen?!?
rdeffry
great show! you and the rude boys are too old to skank :) Except for the kids in Dave's band, I don't think there was a soul there under 40. We started skanking tough but we were afraid someone would break a hip ;)
awsom show... hella people wanted to fight when me and the rude boys wanted to skank, but thets just the way it goes
natashapagel e v i n
Best show i have seen in years
brookepetruc e l l i
Seeing them tonight - very excited
scooter.debo x t e l
Seen them so many times on east and west coasts and a lot of spots in between. They are great and hope they never stop!
Who is the Sax player in the photo! That is NOT Saxa!
Dave is one of the hardest workers in the industry. I see The Beat at small venues in the Northeast every year. 2010/12/15 at Tupelo in Derry NH is next. Always a great time.
A monumentally underaprecia t e d band. I just saw them in Berkeley-CA and they were fantastic. The guys that Dave's got toasting and playing sax are not as good a Ranking Roger and Saxa, but the show was great all the same.
One of the BEST in my opinion
slynblk
summer of 82-out of highschool,s t a r t i n g college,weed was good,weather great and the music playing was ,english beat,rem,tea r s for fears...wann a go back in time?---i do!!!
Ahhh...the summer of 1981, the locale, Myrtle Beach, SC, the car, VW Rabbit (sunroof wide open cruising the strand) the music, English Beat, Specials, The Jam, Dire Straits,Joe Jackson etc. the memories...e n d l e s s !
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