The English Beat - June 1982

The (English) Beat - Part of the wave of Ska that swept over our shores in the 80s.

The (English) Beat – Live At The Palladium, Hollywood – 1982 – Past Daily Soundbooth

The English Beat - June 1982
The (English) Beat – Part of the wave of Ska that swept over our shores in the 80s.

The (English) Beat – live at The Hollywood Palladium – June 1982 – KWST-FM Broadcast – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

The (English) Beat in concert, opening for The Clash and part of a five night residency in June, 1982 at the Palladium in Hollywood.

Part of that wave of British Ska that hit the U.S. in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s, The Beat (or English Beat as they were known in the U.S.) had a string of hits during their tenure and came to be considered one of the seminal bands of that genre.

The Beat was formed in Birmingham, England, in 1978, during a period of high unemployment and social upheaval in the United Kingdom. Ranking Roger, one of the band’s vocalists, added a Jamaican vocal flavor to the band’s sound with his toasting style. Jamaican saxophonist Saxa added a Jamaican ska instrumental sound. Saxa (born Lionel Augustus Martin in 1930) had played saxophone with Prince Buster, Laurel Aitken, and Desmond Dekker in the first wave of ska. He joined The Beat to record their first single, “Tears of a Clown”,[6] a cover version of the Motown hit by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

Notable singles from the first album included “Can’t Get Used to Losing You”, “Mirror In the Bathroom”, “Hands Off…She’s Mine” and “Best Friend”. The second Beat album, Wha’ppen? was supported by extensive touring, including a United States tour with the Pretenders and Talking Heads. The album yielded more UK hits, with “All Out to Get You”, “Drowning” and “Doors of Your Heart”, all of which broke into the Top 40 of the UK Singles Chart. The Beat received support from modern rock radio stations such as KROQ-FM and KWST (where this broadcast originated) in Los Angeles, the now-defunct KQAK The Quake 99FM (98.9) in San Francisco and KYYX in Seattle.

Although the Beat’s main fan base was in the UK, the band was also popular in Australia, partly due to exposure on the radio station Triple J and the TV show Countdown. The Beat had a sizable following in the US and Canada, where the band were known as the English Beat for legal reasons (to avoid confusion with the American band the Beat). The Beat toured the world with well-known artists including David Bowie, the Clash, the Police, the Pretenders, R.E.M., the Specials and Talking Heads. Members of the band often collaborated on stage with the Specials.

During their early career, the band were associated with Birmingham-based cartoonist Hunt Emerson, who designed their ‘Beat Girl’ icon and painted the mural that was used on the cover of Wha’ppen?

In case you forgot what all the fuss was about in the early 80s, here’s a concert to remind you just how high-voltage The (English) Beat were and why they were so popular with American audiences.

Crank it up.




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