Leaders of the 2-Tone Ska movement, The Beat (known in the U.S. as The English Beat) formed in England in 1978 as a fusion of ska, pop, soul, reggae, and punk rock styles. Lyrical themes include love, unity and sociopolitical topics.
The Beat, known in the United States as The English Beat in order to avoid confusion with Paul Collins' band of the same name, was a popular Two Tone ska and pop music group. Formed in the English city of Birmingham in 1978, The Beat disbanded in 1983, but has reformed in the early 2000s with some of the original line-up.One of the more popular and enduring groups of a short-lived trend, The Beat released three albums: "I Just Can't Stop It" (1980) , "Wha'ppen" (1981) and "Special Beat Service" (1982), and a string of excellent singles including "Mirror in the Bathroom", the politically-charged "Stand Down Margaret" (which refers to controversial British PM Margaret Thatcher), "Save It For Later" and "I Confess".Although the group's main fan-base was in the UK, they were also popular in Australia thanks to regular exposure on the government-owned rock radio station Triple J and the nationally-broadcast TV pop show Countdown. They had a sizeable following in the U.S., and a strong presence on that country's college radio.After the break-up of The Beat, Dave Wakeling (guitar, lead vocals) and Ranking Roger (vocals) went on to form General Public, while Andy Cox (guitar) and David Steele (bass guitar) formed Fine Young Cannibals with vocalist Roland Gift.Members of the band often collaborated on stage with The Specials and performed together on tracks such as "Free Nelson Mandela". In the early 1990s, Roger joined members of The Specials to form the new band The Special Beat, which released two live albums.