- The Beat (band)
Infobox musical artist
Name = The Beat
Img_capt = The Beat in 1981
Background = group_or_band
Alias = English Beat
Years_active = 1978-1983
Label = Go Feet, 2 Tone, London, Sire, I.R.S.,
Ranking Roger Pato Banton General Public Fine Young Cannibals
The International Beat
URL = [http://www.thebeatuk.com/ www.thebeatuk.com]
Dave Blockhead Wesley Magoogan Everett Morton Ranking Roger
Dave Wakeling Ranking Junior
The Beat (known in
North Americaas The English Beat) are a 2 Tone skarevival band founded in Englandin 1978. [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:kxk0ikc6bb59 All Music Guide] Their songs fuse ska, pop, soul, reggaeand punk rock, and their lyrics deal with themes of love, unity and sociopolitical topics.
The Beat released three albums: "I Just Can't Stop It" (1980), "
Wha'ppen?" (1981) and " Special Beat Service" (1982), and a string of singles, including "Mirror in the Bathroom", " Too Nice To Talk To", "Can't Get Used To Losing You", "Hands off She's Mine" and "All Out To Get You".
The Beat were formed in
Birmingham, Englandin 1978, during a period of high unemploymentand social upheaval in the United Kingdom. Ranking Roger, one of the band's vocalists, added a Jamaican vocal flavour to the band's sound with his toastingstyle. Jamaican saxophonist Saxa (b. Lionel Martin, 1930, aka Papa Saxa) added a Jamaican ska instrumental sound. Saxa had played saxophone with Prince Buster, Laurel Aitkenand Desmond Dekkerin the first wave of ska (as well as with The Beatlesin their Liverpooldays). He joined The Beat to record their first single, "Tears of a Clown", [http://www.musicianguide.com/biographies/1608001588/English-Beat-The.html Musician Guide] [http://andybrouwer.co.uk/basil2.html Statement by Basil Gabbidon of Steel Pulse] a cover versionof the Motownhit by Smokey Robinson.
Notable singles from the first album included "Can't Get Used to Losing You" (albeit not released until 1983), "Mirror in the Bathroom", and "Hands Off...She's Mine" (with the latter two reaching the U.K. top ten, while another single, "Best Friend," broke the top 30.) The second Beat album, "Wha'ppen?" (1981) was supported by extensive touring, including a U.S. tour with
The Pretendersand Talking Heads. The album yielded more U.K. hits, including "Drowning"/"All Out To Get You" and "Doors of Your Heart," both of which broke the U.K. Top 40. The Beat received strong support from modern rock radio stations such as KROQin Los Angelesand KYYX in Seattle. [The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock And Roll, Fireside, 2001]
Although The Beat's main fan base was in the United Kingdom, the band was also popular in
Australia, partly due to exposure on the radio station Triple Jand the TV show "Countdown". The Beat had a sizeable following in North America, where the band was known as "The English Beat" for legal reasons (to avoid confusion with the American band The Beat). The Beat toured the world with well-known artists such as David Bowie, The Clash, The Police, The Pretenders, REM, The Specials, and Talking Heads. Members of the band often collaborated on stage with The Specials. In the early 1990s, Roger joined members of The Specials to form the new band Special Beat, which toured and released two live albums. They supported the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmamentand participated in the collaborative recording " Nelson Mandela."
After the break-up of The Beat in 1983,
Dave Wakeling( guitar, vocals) and Ranking Roger(vocals) went on to form General Public, while Andy Cox(guitar) and David Steele ( bass guitar) formed Fine Young Cannibalswith vocalist Roland Gift. Everett Mortonand Saxa formed The International Beat fronted by Tony Beet. Ranking Rogeralso briefly joined Mick Jones' post-Clash band Big Audio Dynamiteand performed at several live shows with the band. However, the band broke up shortly after he joined when its last album was shelved by the record company. Meanwhile, the Beat's song "Rotating Head," remixed and renamed "March of the Swivelheads," was famously used in the climactic chase scene of 1986's " Ferris Bueller's Day Off"; the band was listed in the end credits as "The (English) Beat".
In the 1990s, Roger recorded his solo début, a reggae-oriented album entitled "Radical Departure". In 2001, Roger released another solo album, "Inside My Head", which included traditional reggae and ska with influences of electronica, jungle, and dub. Ranking Roger's son,
Ranking Junior, has followed in his father's footsteps. In 2005, he appeared on The Ordinary Boys' single "Boys Will Be Boys".
In 2003, The Beat's original line-up, minus Cox and Steele (but with the addition of Junior), played a sold-out one-off gig at the
Royal Festival Hall. In 2004, the VH1 show " Bands Reunited" tried unsuccessfully to reunite the original line-up. As of 2005, The Beat has reformed with Roger, Blockhead and Morton of the original line-up, and Ranking Junior on vocals.
The band's lead singer,
Dave Wakeling, fronts "The English Beat" in the United States. Members include Wayne Lothian of General Publicand Special Beat, Rick Torres of Supreme Beings of Leisure, Rhythm Epkins, Fernando Jativa and Paul Welch. They opened for 311 for part of their 2007 Summer Unity Tour. In 2006, the current U.K. version of The Beat, featuring Ranking Roger and Everett Moreton, recorded a new album that was mixed by Adrian Sherwood, but it remains unreleased. After Blockhead left the band, he was replaced by Mickey Billingham, formerly a member of Dexy's Midnight Runners.
* "I Just Can't Stop It" (1980) UK # 3
Wha'ppen?" (1981) UK # 3
Special Beat Service" (1982) UK # 21
What Is Beat?" (1983) UK # 10
* "The Beat Goes On" (US, 1991)
* "B.P.M.: The Very Best of The Beat" (1996) UK # 13
* "Beat This! The Best Of The Beat" (2000)
* "The Platinum Collection" (2005)
* "You Just Can't Beat It: The Best of The Beat" (2008)
* "Tears of a Clown / Ranking Full Stop" (1979) UK # 6
* "Hands Off...She's Mine" (1980) UK # 9
* "Mirror in the Bathroom" (1980) UK # 4
* "Best Friend / Stand Down Margaret (Dub)" (1980) UK # 22
* "Too Nice to Talk To" (1980) UK # 7
* "All Out to Get You / Drowning" (1981) UK # 22
* "Doors of Your Heart" (1981) UK # 33
* "Hit It" (1981) UK # 70
* "Save It for Later" (1982) UK # 47
* "Jeanette" (1982) UK # 45
* "I Confess" (1982) UK # 54
* "Can't Get Used to Losing You" (1983) UK # 3
* "Ackee 1-2-3" (1983) UK # 54
* "Mirror In The Bathroom" (re-mix) (1996) UK # 44
Film and video
Dance Craze" (1981 Independent Film - VHS) A compilation that contains live 1980 Beat footage among other Ska bands.
* "Video Collection" (198x Channel 5 - VHS)
* "Live" (198x unknown - VHS) 45 min live performance.
* "The Beat In Concert at the Royal Festival Hall" (2005 MVD Visual - DVD)
Guinness Book of British Hit Singles- 16th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-190-X
* The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, Third Edition (Fireside, 2001)
* [http://www.myspace.com/officialbeatspace The Beat web site] - Dave Wakeling
* [http://www.thebeatofficial.com/ The Beat Official Website] - Ranking Roger
* [http://www.northantset.co.uk/interviews/The-Beat--And-the.3880567.jp Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph interview with The Beat]
* [http://www.songfacts.com/int/2008/04/dave-wakeling-english-beat.html Songfacts interview with Dave Wakeling]
* [http://punkcast.com/908 PUNKCAST#908] The English Beat @ Canal Room NYC on January 13, 2006. (
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