The English Beat

The English Beat, also known as The Beat in their native UK and The British Beat in the US, is a British ska band formed in Birmingham in 1978. Known for their infectious blend of ska, reggae, pop, and punk, The English Beat rose to prominence in the late 1970s and early 1980s and became one of the leading bands of the 2 Tone ska revival movement.

Band History:

The band was formed by lead vocalist Dave Wakeling, guitarist Andy Cox, bassist David Steele, saxophonist Lionel Augustus Martin (known as Saxa), drummer Everett Morton, and toaster (vocalist) Ranking Roger. Their high-energy performances and socially conscious lyrics quickly gained them a loyal following in the UK music scene.

The English Beat released their debut single, “Tears of a Clown”, a cover of the Smokey Robinson & The Miracles classic, in 1979. It became a Top 10 hit in the UK, setting the stage for their debut album, “I Just Can’t Stop It”, released the same year. The album was a critical and commercial success, blending ska and punk influences with catchy melodies and socially conscious lyrics.

Hit Singles in the UK:

1. “Tears of a Clown” – UK Singles Chart: #6
2. “Mirror in the Bathroom” – UK Singles Chart: #4
3. “Hands Off…She’s Mine” – UK Singles Chart: #9
4. “Too Nice to Talk To” – UK Singles Chart: #7


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

The English Beat’s distinctive sound, characterized by infectious dance rhythms and socially conscious lyrics, helped them stand out in the ska revival scene of the early 1980s. The band’s energetic live shows and dynamic stage presence further solidified their reputation as one of the most exciting acts of the era.

Despite internal tensions within the band, The English Beat continued to release acclaimed music throughout the early 1980s. “What’ppen?” and “Special Beat Service” showcased the band’s evolving sound, incorporating elements of pop, soul, and new wave while retaining their ska and reggae roots.

Awards and Achievements:

While The English Beat did not achieve widespread commercial success outside the UK, they garnered critical acclaim and a loyal fan base for their innovative blend of musical styles. Their impact on the ska genre and the British music scene has been enduring, inspiring generations of musicians and fans alike.

The English Beat’s music continues to be celebrated for its infectious energy, thought-provoking lyrics, and timeless appeal. With their distinctive sound and socially conscious message, The English Beat remains a beloved figure in the history of British music, embodying the spirit of unity and positivity that defines ska and reggae music.

In conclusion, The English Beat’s contribution to the British music scene cannot be understated. Their innovative blend of ska, reggae, pop, and punk influences helped define a generation and left an indelible mark on the history of British music. The band’s timeless music continues to resonate with audiences around the world, making The English Beat a true icon of the ska revival movement.

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