Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ranking full stop

Next to the Specials, The Beat are my favorite ska band of the 2 Tone era. The Birmingham ensemble helped bridge the gap between the first and second waves of Ska with the inclusion of one of Ska's pioneers, Lionel Martin aka Saxa. This master of the tenor sax had previously played with the legendary Prince Buster.

The Beat was a rather large outfit, comprised of nine members. not uncommon for Ska bands of the era. The main songwriter for the group was Dave Wakeling, his counterpart onstage, supplying the toasting was Ranking Roger. The dubbed and skanked their way up the charts and became the most internationally reknown band of the British Ska revival (I would venture Madness was not far behind). This wide appeal was due in part to their excursions beyond Ska. Two of their biggest hits, Save It For Later and I Confess were mid-tempo pop gems, far from the frenetic, driving rhythms of their more familar Ska offerings.

The band only released three albums in their brief five year tenure, but left an indelible mark on pop music in general and Ska music in particular. Subsequent bands with direct lineage include General Public and Fine Young Cannibals. Both mildly successful 80's pop bands, neither was able to eclipse the impact or success of The Beat.

Not unlike the Specials, The Beat have an extensive tour planned in 2009 to celebrate their 30th anniversary, so break out your pork pie hat and come forward! I said ready, are you ready to go?

I'm just sayin'.

Rotating Heads
Ranking Full Stop
Big Shot
Mirror In The Bathroom
Save It For Later
I Confess

The Beat- Rotating Heads (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 1986)

The Beat- Ranking Full Stop/Big Shot (Dance Craze, 1981)

The Beat- Mirror In The Bathroom (Dance Craze, 1981)

The Beat- Save It For Later (1983)

The Beat- Too Nice To Talk To (1982)

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