THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT)

Dub/Ska/Reggae / Pop/Art Song/Folk • United Kingdom
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THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) picture
Animated ska revivalists who scored five Top Ten pop hits in their native U.K. from 1979 through 1983.

Birmingham, England's the Beat were one of the earliest and most important ska revivalist groups of the late '70s and early '80s. The multiracial band carved out a distinct sound through the use of alternating lead vocals by guitarist Dave Wakeling and punk toaster/singer Ranking Roger, supported by a tight band that consisted of guitarist Andy Cox, bassist David Steele, and drummer Everett Moreton. The addition of Saxa, an elder saxophonist who'd previously played with Prince Buster and Desmond Dekker, gave the band credibility and fleshed out their sound. A high standing was secured with their early singles, several of which were Top Ten U.K. pop hits. In North America, where they were known as the English Beat (to avoid confusion with Paul Collins' the Beat), their videos were frequently played on
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THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) Discography

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) albums / top albums

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) I Just Can't Stop It album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
I Just Can't Stop It
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1980
THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) Wha'ppen? album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Wha'ppen?
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1981
THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) Special Beat Service album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Special Beat Service
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1982
THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) Here We Go Love album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Here We Go Love
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2018

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) EPs & splits

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) Doors Of Your Heart album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Doors Of Your Heart
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1981

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) live albums

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) In Concert-289 (aka BBC College Concert #18) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In Concert-289 (aka BBC College Concert #18)
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1982
THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) Live! At The US Festival '82 & '83 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live! At The US Festival '82 & '83
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2012

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) re-issues & compilations

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) What Is Beat? album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
What Is Beat?
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1983

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) singles (0)

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) Reviews

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) Wha'ppen?

Album · 1981 · Dub/Ska/Reggae
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js
The Beat’s (English Beat in the US) first album, “I Just Can’t Stop It”, was a high energy ska punk barn burner infused with politically savvy lyrics, and it was a huge success in England and all around the entire world. Conventional wisdom would dictate that they should keep the same formula for their follow up album, but instead The Beat decided to challenge themselves, and their followers, by changing course for their follow up, “Wha’ppen”. The Caribbean rhythms from drummer Everrette Morton were still there, but instead of just high speed ska, The Beat delved into a wide variety of additional ‘riddims’ including dub, calypso and various hybrids that were their own creation. Likewise, their lyrics delved more into personal relationships and a certain malaise where disappointment in relations intersect with political concerns creating a more somber mood. Critics were quick to pan this album claiming The Beat had lost their way, but the band had not lost any creativity or integrity with this second opus as repeat listens reveal an interesting mix of island rhythms and art pop ambitions. The art pop leanings were no accident as band leaders Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger were just as much into David Bowie as they were into the Skatalites.

Yes, “Wha’ppen” is not the exuberant dance fest of their first outing, but as a deeper listening experience, in many ways it is the better album, critics be damned. If I may indulge a bit here, I had just lost a girlfriend when this album came out and it became the perfect soundtrack as I came to terms with the fact that it was indeed all over. I wonder what the guys in The Beat were going through that pushed them in this direction, possibly similar failed partnerships, disillusionment with musical stardom, restless youth back home dealing with terminal unemployment and the growing menace of a possible nuclear war. All of these concerns come together in the lyrics in which personal troubles combine with political apprehension in ways that make it hard to separate the two.

It may sound like this album is just one big downer, but it is not. The song writing is excellent and the syncopated Jamaican rhythms celebrate life no matter what the obstacle. I think many critics missed the boat on this one, its definitely not a repeat of the first album, but it is one of the best art pop albums of the 80s, easily challenging the best work by Bowie, Prince or The Police during this same time period.

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) I Just Can't Stop It

Album · 1980 · Dub/Ska/Reggae
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
The Beat, or The English Beat, as they were known in the states, were a musical super nova that burned bright for about four years and then abruptly broke up while they were still successful. Sporting a mix of Caribbean rhythms and punk rock energy, they were a natural to ride the ska revival of the early 80s, but The Beat were always way more than ska imitator wannabes. With at least three band members with bona fide reggae/ska musical roots, The Beat had an authenticity and natural nimble grace to their music that was not matched by their counterparts in the two tone movement. All of this was on full display when they released their opening opus, "I Just Can't Stop It", one of the best dance-able art pop albums in the 80s or in any decade.

In a manner similar to other rhythmically kinetic groups such as The Meters or the JBs, everything great about The Beat starts at the drum set and works its way forward from there. Everett Morton is one of the most overlooked innovative drummers in contemporary music. His ability to play syncopated Caribbean rhythms at break neck tempos made The Beat an irresistible sonic force. Add to that beat foundation a driving dub style bass, two interlocking guitars and Saxa's melodic Jamaican horn lines and you have a rich sonic tapestry. The icing on the cake was the duo vocals of Englishman Dave Wakeling and the Jamaican toasting and harmonies from Ranking Roger which gave The Beat a broad pallet of vocal deliveries.

The icing on the icing is the fact that these guys could write great songs and lyrics that were often either politically clever or sardonically dismayed with relationships. On "I Just Can' Stop It", they also include some creative covers that blend well with their originals. THere are no bad cuts on here, but if you are looking for the high energy barn-burners, try "Click Click", "Noise in this World" or "Two Swords".

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) Movies Reviews

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