The Beat (aka The English Beat)


The Beat (The English Beat)

Are they still together? Nope.  I don’t think so.

Did you ever see them play live? I don’t think so.

Anything you want / need by them?  Maybe some UK 7” singles.

You really should own / hear:

  1. I Just Can’t Stop It (1980)
  2. Wha’ppen (1981)
  3. Special Beat Service (1982)

Saxa is apparently still alive and living in Birmingham – at the ripe age of 80!

Hearing “Mirror In The Bathroom” for the first time is rather unforgettable.  They were the only ska influenced band of the class of 1980 to seem like they signed-up(ward) to Arista UK, after their short time on Two Tone.

The debut album “I Just Can’t Stop It” is very impressive, the writing & playing being very, very good.  The US version on Sire had their Two Tone single added to it, so in a way, it’s the preferable version to have (on LP or CD).

I don’t remember how / why I didn’t get to see them play live.  Perhaps it was a show where they weren’t the headliner?

I never followed any of the post-Beat groups – Fine Young Cannibals, General Public etc.  I know one of the vocalists settled in Los Angeles, and has played live around here quite a bit.

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5 Responses to The Beat (aka The English Beat)

  1. postpunkmonk says:

    I really love The Beat. They were the 2nd wave Ska band that I capitulated to. I’d heard Madness and The Specials and there was something off putting about the trend. I think the fact that there were trends and scenes in the UK made me more than wary of hype. Frequently, I’d read about these trends far in advance of actually hearing the music, and the hype more often than not dissuaded me from giving bands a listen if I perceived them as being part of any cliques. But I changed to hear The Beat’s Two Tone single on college radio and “Tears Of A Clown” was a song I already had loved on it’s original release as a child. This new version was radically different and also wonderful! I then bought every Beat album, but like you, I didn’t bother with the post-Beat groups. What I’d heard didn’t seem as good. Not by a long shot. Dave Wakeling’s vocal on “I Confess” still amazes 29 years later. What a performance! I usually hate melisma, but you almost never hear a man do it. Maybe that’s the difference for me. The debut album defines 2nd wave Ska for me. “Wha’appen” is that “difficult second album” and “Special Beat Service” made the transition from Ska to pop complete.

  2. ronkanefiles says:

    People were talking about “Mirror In The Bathroom” long before I ever got to hear it. When I did get to hear it – I loved it. Not always the case with stuff that receives advance hype. I still remember the outrage in the British press that Haircut 100 signed to a big label, dismissed as “Another Gang Of Four” (an indie signing to a major). What can this band sound like? I wanted H100 to sound like Gang of Four, not…what they sounded like. Hype!

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Ha, ha ha! I remember hearing about H100. They were supposed to be a “funk” band! When I heard them I was certainly let down! Hype is no band’s friend. Similarly, I was aware of huge hype on Adam & The Ants. I dismissed them summarily, but when I bought a CBS sampler [“Exposed”] with tracks on it, darned if I didn’t really like them, so I bought and enjoyed “Kings of the Wild Frontier” against my pre-judgement. Of course, I went off Adam & The Ants when I heard “Prince Charming!” It wasn’t shocking to learn that Adam was bi-polar since it was certainly reflected in his “like ’em/hate ’em” albums. I eventually relented and caught his ’93 appearance in Orlando [I’d passed on the “Prince Charming Review” a decade earlier] and really enjoyed it a lot.

  3. ronkanefiles says:

    I remember Adam & The Ants’ fans, who I saw in Hollywood in advance of hearing “Dirk Wears White Socks” – with white face paint, leather ‘n’ chains…on a Saturday night. There’s a music that goes with this dressing up? Isn’t this all stuff that David Bowie / Lou Reed used to do?

    Hype is no band’s friend, indeed. Every now and again, I’ll spot something at the swap meet and cringe (to myself, of course). Flavor of the month! Step right up! Pigbag! Next…

  4. postpunkmonk says:

    Awwww. I liked Pigbag! Everyone should have “Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag” in their home!

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