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  • Entertainment

This is The Beat back on the street

Sunday, 10th September, 2017 7:00pm
This is The Beat back on the street

The main man behind The Beat, Dave Wakelin

This is The Beat back on the street

The main man behind The Beat, Dave Wakelin

ONE tempestuous weekend in March 1979 was not only the date of the Three Mile Island nuclear incident, but also, in Birmingham, England, the very first show by a nascent band known as The Beat.

Introduced as “the hottest thing since the Pennsylvania meltdown”, the band had a sense that the next few years could well be explosive.

The Beat hailed from working class, industrial Birmingham, and whne they rushed onto the music scene in 1979, it was a time of social, political and musical upheaval.

The Beat were all about inclusion, rather than exclusion, and this showed in their personnel and their music influences. 

The original band consisted of Dave Wakelin on vocals and guitar, Andy Cox on guitar, David Steele on bass, and Everett Morton on drums – later additions Ranking Roger and Ska legend Saxa 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.

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 the British Two-Tone Ska movement.

By Christmas of 1979, The Beat were riding high in the UK charts with their first single, a smoking remake of the classic Smokey Robinson tune ‘Tears of a Clown’.

Over the course of the next five years The Beat toured relentlessly and released three studio albums while touring with such artists as David Bowie, The Police, REM, The Clash, The Talking Heads, The Pretenders, and The Specials, to name but a few.

Despite their huge success, The Beat continued singing about and acting on the problems we all face.

They donated all the profits from their highly successful single version of ‘Stand Down Margaret’ to the Committee for Nuclear Disarmament.

Dave Wakeling once said that every great band only has three really good albums.

And true to form, The Beat decided to call it quits after their third album, ‘Special Beat Service’.

Of course, that was not the last we would hear from the Beat boys.

After The Beat, Dave Wakeling formed General Public with his mate Roger. 

The band took off quickly, scoring numerous hits from their three studio albums.

Andy and David placed an ad for a singer on MTV, and with Roland Gift onboard, the Fine Young Cannibals was formed.

Their two studio albums scored multiple hit singles, with tunes such as ‘She Drives Me Crazy’ and ‘Good Thing’ becoming instant classics.

You can check them out yourselves on Thursday, September 7 in Whelan’s.

Tickets are now on sale from

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here