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The English Beat has an energetic mix of musical styles and a sound like no other band. The group’s unique sound has allowed it to endure for nearly three decades and appeal to fans, young and old, all over the world.
When the English Beat (known simply as “The Beat” in their native England) rushed on to the music scene in 1979, it was a time of massive social and political unrest and economic and musical upheaval. This set the stage for a period of unbridled musical creativity, and thanks in large part to the punk movement and its DIY approach to making music, artists such as the Beat were able to speak out. They made their voices heard on classic hits, including “I Confess” and “Save It for Later,” incorporating issues on youth culture and on universal matters of the heart and soul.
The original band consisted of singer-songwriter Dave Wakeling on vocals and guitar, Andy Cox on guitar, David Steele on bass, and Everett Morton on drums. The band crossed over fluidly among soul, reggae, pop, and punk, and from these disparate pieces they created an infectious dance rhythm.
The Beat first came to prominence as founding members of the British two-tone ska movement, with their classic first album, Just Can’t Stop It, fitting squarely in that genre. Along with their contemporaries the Specials, the Selecter, and Madness, the band became an overnight sensation and one of the most popular and influential bands of that movement.
Band leader Dave Wakeling, however, never felt constrained by the movement. He has always viewed ska as a springboard, not a straitjacket. Indeed, the band’s sound evolved over its first three studio albums and has continued its evolution with its latest album, Here We Go Love, a PledgeMusic crowd-funded album that was released in 2016 and is the band’s first new album since 1982’s Special Beat Service.
Consummate showman that he is, Wakeling has continued to keep the English Beat alive and strong. He continues to tour the world with an amazing all-star ska-backing band playing all the hits of the English Beat and songs from his new album, Here We Go Love.
You just can’t stop the English Beat!
Nostalgia has nothing to do with it. The English Beat endures because of musicianship.
—Dallas Morning News
[Dave Wakeling] still sounds awesome today. . . . He has an immediately recognizable voice.
Dave Wakeling—at his finest, a singer-songwriter as savagely witty as Elvis Costello