See the English Beat on Saturday Night

August 19th, 2010

The English Beat formed in Birmingham in the UK back in 1978. This ska revivalist group featured alternating lead vocals from guitarist Dave Wakeling and toaster Ranking Roger and an actual touch of Jamaica in Saxa, a former Desmond Dekker sax player. The band (known as the Beat outside of North America) quickly found success with their first single, a cover of “Tears of a Clown.” They released three albums between 1980 and ’82 and toured the world alongside the likes of David Bowie, the Talking Heads, the Clash and the Police, only to break up in 1983. The two singers then formed General Public while guitarist Andy Cox and bassist David Steele helped put together Fine Young Cannibals. Of course this is where the story would end if the band hadn’t reformed several years ago. But they did, and the English Beat (above, doing the oft-covered-by-Pearl Jam “Save It for Later” on Fearless Music) plays Webster Hall on Saturday night.