The English Beat is a band with an energetic mix of musical styles and a sound like no other. The band'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 like The Beat were able to speak out and speak their mind on the news of the day, as in “Stand Down Margaret”, things that mattered to them and the youth culture, as in “Get A Job”, and universal matters of the heart and soul, as in their classic hits “I Confess” and “Save It For Later”.
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 – later additions Ranking Roger (toasting) and foundational First Wave Ska legend Saxa (saxophone) completed the outfit. The band crossed over fluidly between 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. However, band leader Dave Wakeling never felt constrained by the movement. Dave has always viewed ska as a springboard, not a straight jacket. Indeed, the band's sound continued to evolve over their first three studio albums, through the General Public era (a band formed by Dave with Ranking Roger, the toaster from The Beat), and has continued its evolution with the forthcoming English Beat album Here We Go Love, a PledgeMusic crowd-funded album set for release in 2016, the band's first new album since 1982's Special Beat Service. Consummate showman that he is, Dave Wakeling has continued to keep The Beat alive and strong. Dave continues to tour the world as The English Beat with an amazing all-star ska backing band playing all the hits of The Beat, General Public, and songs from his new album Here We Go Love. You just can’t stop The English Beat!
The Skatalites began performing in Jamaica in May 1964. The group was so hot that their first rehearsal became a show. So many people had lined up outside the venue, they decided to just charge admission and let everybody in! They were the top musicians on the island at the time, having come together after playing in different bands and on various recording sessions. These records were made to be played at the many competing sound systems around the island. The band became legendary, backing all the developing artists of the day, such as Toots and The Maytals, Prince Buster and “The Wailing Wailers” featuring Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. These groups were all recording on the new beat called ska, which had an infectious rhythm that was catching on like wildfire. Eventually, the beat slowed down into rocksteady, and then reggae. This wildfire spread unstoppably around the world, developing into a huge musical tree with many stylistic branches, including lovers rock, dub, dancehall/ ragga, ska-punk, and others. Hugely popular groups like The Police, The Clash, The Specials, The English Beat, Sublime and No Doubt, all have their roots firmly planted in the music of The Skatalites.
Since reforming after an almost 20 year hiatus in 1983, and beginning regular touring as a unit in 1989, they have not stopped thrilling audiences in every corner of the globe. Even after more than 50 years, and various lineup changes as members leave one stage for another, the band continues to perform and record new music in the inimitable Jamaican style, like only they can. The road has been long and hard, and sadly, seen most of the original members pass on. Often asked “when will you stop?” and “how do you keep doing it after all these years?”, the answer is simple: “Never – It’s the love of the music and the way our fans respond that keep us going forward!” Featuring original vocalist Doreen Shaffer, along with the current lineup of outstanding musicians they have chosen to accompany them, the band proudly presents live the music of Jamaican Ska. Forever indebted to the inspiration and talent of: Roland Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett, Don Drummond, Jerome “Jah Jerry” Haynes, Lloyd Knibb, Tommy McCook, Donat “Jackie” Mittoo, John “Dizzy Johnny”Moore, and Lester Sterling, collectively known as The Skatalites.