The Beat (U.S. band)

The Beat (U.S. band)

The Beat, sometimes referred to as The Paul Collins Beat or Paul Collins' Beat, were an American power pop group from Los Angeles, California that formed in the late 1970s. The Beat resurfaced in the 1990s and continues to tour and record new material as Paul Collins' Beat.

Early Development

The roots of The Beat lie in The Nerves, a seminal power pop combo featuring Paul Collins, Peter Case (the future frontman of The Plimsouls), and Jack Lee. Collins played the drums; all three members composed and sang. Collins contributed one song, "Working Too Hard", to the group's only release, a 1976 self-titled four-song EP distributed by independent Bomp! Records. The Nerves are most famous for Lee's "Hanging on the Telephone"; though it went unnoticed when it was originally released, Blondie turned the song into a UK top 5 single off their breakthrough album "Parallel Lines". After The Nerves' demise, Collins and Case formed The Breakaways with Pat Stengl. The Breakaways swiftly dissolved as well and Case and Collins (now on rhythm guitar) recruited Steve Huff (bass & backing vocals) (born 1956, New York City) and Mike Ruiz (drums) into what would later become The Beat. Case left the then unnamed group after a few months of rehearsals to pursue a solo career (although recent accounts more than hint at a darker reason) which led to the eventual formation of The Plimsouls. Collins now took lead vocals on all of the songs and with the addition of Larry Whitman (lead guitar & backing vocals) resurfaced with The Beat.

Transition Years

The LA power pop scene was beginning to garner national attention and with the help of Collins' friend from "The Nerves" days in San Francisco, Eddie Money and his Producer Bruce Botnick, Collins was able to ink a deal with Columbia/CBS and Bill Graham Management. CBS released their self-titled debut in October 1979. All 12 songs were Collins originals; Steven Huff, Peter Case, and Eddie Money had one co-writing credit each, all on different songs. Continuing in The Nerves' vein, the album consisted of harmony-laden, driving guitar pop songs, including a re-recorded version of "Working Too Hard". The album was critically acclaimed and is today remembered as a classic of the power pop genre (see [ this] 4.5-star review in Allmusic). The group appeared on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" on March 8, 1980 and that same year contributed a song to the soundtrack LP of the massively popular movie "Caddyshack". Despite this promotion, diligent touring alongside such popular artists as Ian Gomm and The Jam and a tour of Europe, The Beat found little commercial success. The British ska group of the same name were first to establish themselves as "The Beat" in Europe forcing Collins' "Beat" to be referred to as "Paul Collins' Beat" there. The Collins' "Beat" was first to release their album in their home territory in turn forcing the British group to use the name "The English Beat" in the U.S.

A misguided change of Producer, a personnel change and the proverbial "sophomore slump" resulted in their second CBS LP, "The Kids Are The Same", to be released two years later in 1982. To confuse matters even more it was decided to bill the group as "Paul Collins' Beat" worldwide. Not as critically successful as its predecessor, it was also a commercial flop. After being dropped from CBS the group self-financed the production of 3 videos featuring songs from the LP now abandoned by the label. One of these videos "On The Highway", which had been modestly promoted to AOR radio by CBS, was put on medium rotation for several months on the then fledgling MTV network much to the chagrin of their former label. The MTV exposure kept the group working to the point of burnout. With an overhauled New York City line-up (Ruiz and Whitman left and were replaced by Jay Dee Daugherty and Jimmy Ripp) the group reclaimed the name "The Beat" and released the 5 song 12" Mini-Album "To Beat or Not To Beat" in 1983 on the independent Jem/Passport label in the U.S.. One song from the album, "Dance, Dance", was made into a music video in 1984 and received limited exposure on MTV. "To Beat or Not To Beat", with an additional song, was released in Europe where the group relocated (and would remain for the next several years) to promote the release and tour. In 1985 another 6 song 12" Mini-Album "Longtime Gone" was recorded in London with UK musicians and released only in Europe. An energetic live album recorded in Madrid, Spain with Spanish members titled "Live At The Universal" followed in 1986. After returning to the U.S. in 1988 and settling in San Francisco the album "One Night", with yet another incarnation of an all American Beat, this time credited as "Paul Collins + The Beat", was released by Sony in 1989 (again only in Europe). This was their final studio album. Due to numerous personnel changes and a lack of interest in the group stateside, the band threw in the towel, calling it quits altogether. Collins embarked on a solo career in the 1990s, releasing "Paul Collins" in 1992, featuring numerous guest appearances by S.F. Bay Area notables. Collins then returned to his "hometown" of New York City. Focusing his songwriting on Country and Americana he formed "The Paul Collins Band" which produced the 1993 release "From Town To Town". Collins continues to tour, while retaining a cult following; he is particularly popular in Spain. The music videos "On The Highway" and "Dance, Dance" are occasionally aired on the VH1 Classic and MTV2 television networks. In 2006 Collins resurrected "Paul Collin's Beat" with a young Spanish lineup and recorded a live album entitled "Live In Europe", released as a free MP3 CD album download on their official website followed by a CD of all new original material, "Flying High", recorded in Madrid, Spain. Today, Collins continues to tour and record new material, playing dates in the USA (most recently SXSW in Austin, Texas), France, Germany, UK, Sweden, Italy and Spain.

Band Members

Major members of Paul Collins' Beat have included Alice Cooper drummer Dennis Conway, Protones guitarist Octavio Vinck, bassist Steven Huff, Patti Smith Group drummer Jay Dee Daugherty, guitarist Patrick Collins, Milk 'n' Cookies drummer Mike Ruiz, future Television guitarist Jimmy Ripp Needles & Pins guitarist Larry Whitman and Secret Affair drummer Paul Bultitude.


Original Beat lead guitarist Larry Whitman (Sep 27 1955 - July 26 1997), a devoted fan of the well known pistol packing Pop Producer Phil Spector, was reported to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Although ruled a suicide the identity of the true trigger puller is highly suspect when circumstances, location and witnesses are taken into account and remains an unsolved mystery. Before joining The Beat Whitman was Producer, songwriter and member of L.A. pop group Needles & Pins whose only release was the Spector influenced 45 RPM single "Don't You Worry" b/w the ironically titled "I Wanna Play With Guns".

A poster of The Beat's self-titled first album can be seen in the opening credits of some episodes of "WKRP In Cincinnati".

Portions of the album "The Kids Are The Same" were recorded in 1980 at Twentieth Century Fox Music Scoring Stage during a Musician's Union strike against the motion-picture and television industries. The Beat is quite possibly the only Rock and Roll group to record in this historic studio.

Although The Beat's song "There She Goes" is included on the Soundtrack album of the film "Caddyshack" and listed in the closing credits it was not used in the final cut of the film.



* "The Beat LP" © 1979 CBS Records CD © 2005 Wounded Bird Records
* "The Kids Are The Same" LP © 1981 CBS Records CD © 2005 Wounded Bird Records
* "To Beat Or Not To Beat" © 1983 EP Passport Records CD © 2005 Wounded Bird Records
* "Long Time Gone" CD © 1985 © 2005 Wounded Bird Records
* "Live At Universal" CD © 1986
* "One Night" CD © 1989
* "Paul Collins" CD © 1992
* "From Town To Town" CD © 1999 Caroline Records/Wagon Wheel Records
* "Live In Spain" © 1999 Wagon Wheel Records
* "Let's Go" (Paul Collins with The Yum Yums) © 1999
* "Paul Collins" CD © 2000 Julio's Records Label
* "" CD © 2002 Wagon Wheel Records
* "Flying High" CD © 2007 Get Hip Recordings
* "" Free Web Download CD © 2007 Wagon Wheel Records


* Paul Collins' Beat - Live 1-17-80 Santa Monica Civic Center ©2002 Buddy Beat Records - CDR
* Paul Collins' Beat - Live 2.9.79 Old Waldorf S.F., Ca. - Japan - CDR
* The Beat 1978 to 1980 The Untold Story - Unreleased Demos and Outtakes - CDR

External links

* [ Official site]
* [ Paul Collins' Beat Fan Site]
* [ Paul Collins Beat reissues on Wounded Bird Records]
* [ Paul Collins Beat on MySpace]

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