I Just Cant Stop It (Deluxe Edition)
Please note, territorial restrictions may apply to this product.
The Beat was formed in Birmingham in 1978, with members Dave Wakeling (vocals, guitar), Ranking Roger (vocals, toasting), Andy Cox (guitar), Everett Morton (drums), veteran Jamaican saxophonist Saxa, and David Steele on bass. The band was part of the West Midlands ska revival scene that also produced The Specials and The Selecter, whilst London saw the formation of Madness and The Bodysnatchers. The Beat’s first single was an arresting version of Smokey Robinson’s “Tears Of A Clown”, given a completely new feel, and was backed with their own composition “Ranking Full Stop”. Released in a one-off deal on Jerry Dammers’ Chrysalis-backed 2-Tone label, the single stormed into the Top 10 in December 1979, and saw the band appear twice on Top Of The Pops. Backed by Arista, the band formed their own label Go-Feet Records. The first release in February 1980 was another Top 10 hit, “Hands Off... She’s Mine”, and was the first of twelve chart singles for the band on Go-Feet.
Edsel Records is proud to announce its reissue programme of all three of the band’s albums, each in Deluxe 2 CD + DVD digipaks, featuring the original albums along with all the non-album A- and B-sides, the many 12” mixes and live tracks, as well as the best of their BBC radio sessions from John Peel, Mike Read and David Jensen’s shows. The DVDs feature the singles promo videos, Top Of The Pops performances and bonus appearances from ITV shows and documentaries.
First album “I Just Can’t Stop It” (1980, # 3) features the hits “Tears Of A Clown”, “Hands Off... She’s Mine”, “Mirror In The Bathroom”, “Best Friend” and “Stand Down Margaret” as well as 19 bonus tracks (many on CD for the first time), including nine previously unreleased BBC radio sessions. The DVD features three promo videos, five TOTP appearances and a live performance recorded for ITV’s “Alright Now”.
The booklet features an individual note especially written by Rhoda Dakar of The Bodysnatchers, along with the lyrics and photos, memorabilia and ephemera from the band’s own collection.
|| ||Mirror In The Bathroom|
|| ||Hands Off...She’s Mine|
|| ||Two Swords|
|| ||Twist & Crawl|
|| ||Rough Rider|
|| ||Click Click|
|| ||Big Shot|
|| ||Whine & Grine / Stand Down Margaret|
|| ||Noise In This World|
|| ||Can’t Get Used To Losing You|
|| ||Best Friend|
|| ||Tears Of A Clown|
|| ||Ranking Full Stop|
|| ||Twist & Crawl [extended]|
|| ||Hands Off…She’s Mine [extended]|
|| ||Stand Down Margaret [Dub]|
|| ||Mirror In The Bathroom [Sure Is Pure Mix]|
|| ||Mirror In The Bathroom [Tic Tac Toe Mix]|
|| ||Mirror In The Bathroom [Spike Stent Mix]|
|| ||Dub In The Bathroom [Simon & Diamond Mix]|
|| ||Just Can’t Stop The Dub [Adelphi Mix]|
|| ||Tears Of A Clown (BBC Radio Sessions – John Peel Show – Broadcast 5th November 1979)|
|| ||Ranking Full Stop (BBC Radio Sessions – John Peel Show – Broadcast 5th November 1979)|
|| ||Click Click (BBC Radio Sessions – John Peel Show – Broadcast 5th November 1979)|
|| ||Mirror In The Bathroom (BBC Radio Sessions – John Peel Show – Broadcast 5th November 1979)|
|| ||Big Shot (BBC Radio Sessions – John Peel Show – Broadcast 5th November 1979)|
|| ||Hands Off…She’s Mine (Mike Read Show – Broadcast 11th February 1980)|
|| ||Mirror In The Bathroom (Mike Read Show – Broadcast 11th February 1980)|
|| ||Rough Rider (Mike Read Show – Broadcast 11th February 1980)|
|| ||Twist & Crawl (Mike Read Show – Broadcast 11th February 1980)|
|| ||Hands Off…She’s Mine (DVD Single Video)|
|| ||Mirror In The Bathroom (DVD Single Video)|
|| ||Best Friend (DVD Single Video)|
|| ||Tears Of A Clown [Top Of The Pops - Broadcast on 13th December 1979]|
|| ||Tears Of A Clown [Top Of The Pops - Broadcast on 3rd January 1980]|
|| ||Hands Off...She’s Mine [Top Of The Pops – Broadcast on 22nd February 1980]|
|| ||Mirror In The Bathroom [Top Of The Pops – Broadcast on 1st May 1980]|
|| ||Best Friend [Top Of The Pops - Broadcast on 4th September 1980]|
|| ||Bonus DVD Feature – Alright Now – Broadcast on 12th December 1980 |
Why don’t more bands want to sound like The Beat? Listened to in 2012 these records – born in Sta-Prest, 2-Toned 1979, then taking in dub, high-life, no wave, Byrds-fringed pop and more – sound not so much from a bygone age as from a parallel universe, a place that knows a political song is worthless unless it makes the people happy too.
As the name suggests this was music for dancing to, but that was not all. This motley sextet of penurious Brummies – dole claimants, car mechanics, punks, psychiatric nurses and a 50-year-old West Indian sax player called, appropriately, Saxa – began with the iron crowd-pleasing disciplines of Stax and Studio One and then took it from there.
Taken as a whole, the catalogue is suffused with joy, not just in the jump-up-call-and-response party skankers and antique Jamaican shagging anthems but in the nervy black comedies of amphetamine paranoia and benefit-bound failure too. The socially-conscious songs never hector you-their anti-Thatcher anthem Stand Down, Margaret is positively euphoric and the good-time stuff is never trite. There was a lot of guff about how the personal was political in the ‘80s. Only The Beat and very few others lived that idea instead of synthesizing it.
Their blissful first album I Just Can’t Stop It (1980) might have been remembered as the classic of the era if not for the 2-Tone classmates The Specials and Madness. It combines riotous updates of old ska and rocksteady standards (toaster Ranking Roger played the ribald ringmaster on Whine & Grine and Rough Rider) with songwriting from a different plane to their new wave cousins. Best Friend and Hands Off… She’s Mine snuck themes of sexual possessiveness into the charts, and the band was sufficiently lacking in uptightness to record an Andy Williams hit, Can’t Get Used To Losing You, where singer Dave Wakeling sounded especially affecting- a Brummie Tony Bennett. The record remains a pure delight.
The 2-Tone movement was fading by the advent of Wha’ppen? in 1981 the album’s title reflecting The Beat’s bewilderment at their sudden fame. They responded with booming, spacious dub and smart and perceptive songs about patriotism, nuclear fears and the modern condition of detachment. Declining the usual earnest formula for dole songs The Beat were astute enough to wonder, on Get-A-Job, what chasing a crappy sit. Vac. will do to you. Sales diminished but the album is brave and satisfying, closer to Talking Heads than Bad Manners.
Regret and guilt suffused their 1982 finale Special Beat Service as success put divisions into the band and Saxa retired. The genre-hopping felt forced, and the bass and guitar bloc of David Steele and Andy Cox were soon to depart as Fine Young Cannibals. But there were still gems in I Confess, the Ferris Bueller keynote track Rotating Head, and the Frenchified song of infatuation Jeanette.
Where is the legacy of this life-enhancing, wholly underrated band? Maybe their truest heir was Amy Winehouse, The Beat’s cartoon logo girl made flesh, skinny, skanking pins and all. These lavish Deluxe Editions are fat with rare tracks and live performances on accompanying DVDs – they are all The Beat anyone could ever wish for. If a few 15-year-olds were to discover them, the next generation of bands could be wonderful.
Pick of the reissues by 2-Tone-era titans.
The Beat’s three albums were bashed out in successive years at the beginning of the 1980s. Like the works of their peers – The Specials, Madness, The Selecter – they’ve held up well , not least because the ska bands of the period piously distained ‘80s production. I Just Can’t Stop It was a stunning debut, both a reverent acknowledgment of its roots (they covered Prince Buster’s “Rough Rider”) and a genial refusal to be bound by genre (the other cover was a lovely version of Andy Williams’ “Can’t Get Used To Losing You”).
The Beat’s own songs were unembarrassed by the comparison, especially the breathy, paranoid “Mirror In The Bathroom” and the exquisite “Best Friend”, twisting on a riff of Johnny Marr-ish prettiness. Even the obviously overtaken-by-events “Stand Down Margaret” remains potent, an enduring insert-own-bogeyman-here protest song.
All three albums are reissued this month, packaged with bonus discs of alternative versions, remixes and radio sessions. The I Just Can’t Stop It disc includes, crucially, both sides of The Beat’s 1979 debut single; the anthemic “Ranking Full Stop”, and a vivacious version of Smokey Robinson’s “The Tears Of A Clown!”
Scottish Daily Express
Welcome reissue programme for the three studio albums by the Birmingham ska boys. Debut I Just Can’t Stop It from 1980 is full of recognisable hits like Mirror In The Bathroom, Best Friend and Hands Off…She’s Mine, with the bonus disc containing non-album single Tears Of A Clown.
Wha’ppen a year later featured Drowning and Doors Of Your Heart, and Special Beat Service from ’82 had Save It For Later. Every album comes with loads of remixes and radio 1 session tracks, plus a fun DVD of horrifyingly dated Top of the Pops appearances.
The Beat hits the Top 10 with their first single – ska/pop cover of The Miracles’ Tears Of A Clown – when it was released on The Beat’s own Go-Feet imprint as a perfect blend of punk, reggae and pop songwriting.
Today the tracklisting reads like a greatest hits. There’s the claustrophobic Mirror In The Bathroom, the anti-racist Two Swords, the personal political narrative hands Off…She’s Mine and authoritative covers of Prince Buster’s Rough Rider and Whine And Grine (segueing into the anthemic Stand Down Margaret), and Shuman & Pomus’ Can’t Get Used To Using You. It hit the Top 3 back in 1980, remained on the charts for eight weeks and is a bona fide five-star album. The following year’s Wha’ppen? – equally fab and another Top 3 release – yielded Doors Of Your Heart, featuring The Congos’ Cedric Myton; while 1982’s Special Beat Service eschewed punk for pop with I Confess and Save It For Later.
While The Beat’s popularity dwindled in the UK, that last album secured them a following in the US as The English Beat. The US-based Shout! Factory’s 5-CD box set covers much of the same material; its great too, of course, but the individual reissues just tip it.
While The Specials angst-laden militancy soundtracked the dawn of Thatcherism, The Beat’s “Love and Unity” mantra was too conciliatory for some tastes. Yet The Beat, who like Madness released just one single on 2-Tone, weren’t primarily a ska band at all, but rather punk rockers who used the rhythmic precision of reggae to construct a rainbow-pop variant that was uniquely theirs.
The defining qualities of 1980’s landmark debut I Just Can’t Stop It stemmed from the ensemble’s patchwork origins. Birmingham guitarists Dave Wakeling and Andy Cox were working on the Isle of Wight and advertised for a bassist who could “Shake Some Action”. Local kid David Steele got the Flamin’ Groovies allusion, and songs written during this period included Best Friend and Save It For Later, the latter shelved until 1982. Back in Brum they hooked up with reggae drummer Everett Morton and ‘Ranking’ Roger Charlery, toaster and drummer in the Iggy Pop-honouring Dum Dum Boys. Veteran Jamaican saxophonist Lionel Augustus Martin, aka Saxa, was added for their 1979 debut recording, a frantic remake of Smokey Robinson’s Tears Of A Clown. Having played with ska’s holy trinity – Prince Buster, Laurel Aitken and Desmond Dekker – Saxa’s permanent recruitment completed the crossover potential.
I Just Can’t Stop It has every Beat facet on one unimpeachable record: dancing, politics, humour, love and confusion, plus a cover of Andy Williams’ Can’t Get Used To Losing you. Steele’s pointillist runs and Morton’s epileptic rim shots jive with Cox on the chattering Mirror In The Bathroom and the Prince Buster updates Rough Rider and Whine & Grine, while Cox and Wakeling’s locked-groove thrashing on Two Swords and Click Click is akin to Portland punk legends The Wipers.
The Beat’s political writing was smart because its anger was often insinuated – the hated Thatcher is asked to “stand down, please” – but Wakeling’s relationships songs were even better. Noise In This World’s desperation for a girlfriend is revealed as a need for “someone to lie next to”. With that compassionate voice, Wakeling expertly pins male inadequacy, and its no accident that The Beat’s audience has a notably higher female quotient than their peers. Throughout, Saxa stalks the vocalist like a guilty conscience.
The only problem with such a debut album was the unlikelihood of bettering it. 1980’s non-album single Too Nice To Talk To refined their style; more space, no less frantic, yet its inclusion on disc 2 of Wha’ppen? (1981) highlights that second LP’s shortcomings. Cooling the place to a dubwise skank diverged from the astringent spirit of the times, but the balmy lovers rocker Doors Of Your Heart and a queasy Drowning were strong songs. Elsewhere, melodies chirrup but the mish-mash of lyrical polemic and tepid Caribbean calypsos feels like a band diversifying out of desperation.
After one-off single Hit It’s disastrous attempt at highlife, The Beat successfully corralled their conflicting inputs with 1982’s Special Beat Service. “There’s a new dance, ‘the tolerance’ – and it just might be your sole salvation,” sings Wakeling on Sole Salvation, one of six new songs debuted on a John Peel session released here for the first time in all its raw elegance. Although the core group was fraying – Saxa was now semi-retired – SBS gave vent to its creator’s polymath skills across an array of brilliant pop schemes. Ranking Roger duels with Pato Banto, the gyroscopic Sorry and Rotating Head now feel oddly prescient of Arctic Monkeys, while the plangent Save It For Later (subsequently covered by The Who and Perl Jam) still amazes, not least for using fellatio as a metaphor for life’s disappointment.
Following one last chart hurrah with a resigned retread of Can’t Get Used To Losing You, they split in 1983. Anyone who ever heard or saw The Beat knows them as one of the great British bands, because, in harsh times, they had the courage to tell like-minded souls “We feel the same – dance?”
The Specials were fairly special, Madness a bit too nutty, and The Selector a trifle frenetic, but for me, all of the 2-Tone acts to rise to prominence at the end of the 1970s, The Beat were the best. Starting out as ska revivalists, the Birmingham band had its own distinctive style, and put together a run of a dozen hits, some deliciously different covers, others more politicised and socially conscious originals. Their sense of fun and originality is apparent from wonderful remakes of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles ‘Tears Of A Clown’ and Andy Williams’ ‘Can’t Get Used To Losing You’, both recast as breezy ska confections, while their own sugared pills include ‘Stand Down, Margaret’, a musically melodic but lyrically potent request for the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to resign from office.
Radio play was, of course, affected by the track’s political nature, so it had to serve as a double A-side along with the more innocuous Best Friend. The three albums The Beat released during this heady period – 1980 – 1982 – have been superbly upgraded as deluxe 2-CD+DVD digipack sets, with audio extras including B-sides, remixes, BBC sessions, dubs, unreleased tracks and rarities. The DVDs are equally mouth-watering, with appearances on Top of the Pops, OTT and The Tube and singles’ promotional videos included alongside some interview footage.
The Second Disc
As previously reported, the discography of British ska band The Beat (or as they’re primarily known in the States, The English Beat) is getting the expanded reissue treatment by two separate labels across the globe. Shout! Factory is releasing a five-disc box set featuring all three of the band’s albums, B-sides, remixes and Peel sessions, as well as a new compilation and a CD/DVD of the band’s US Festival performance in 1983. Now, we can share the details of U.K. label Edsel’s forthcoming presentations of these albums. (Special thanks to super-reader John for the tip!)
Since it’s never easy being a catalogue enthusiast, it’s our duty to tell Beat superfans that you’ll have to buy both the new box and these 2 CD/1 DVD reissues if you want absolutely everything. On the audio side, there’s a hefty bit of overlap between the two. The major bits that the Edsel sets have that Shout! Factory’s do not are:
Extra remixes: in addition to the few mixes of “Can’t Get Used to Losing You,” “I Confess” and “Ackee 1-2-3″ commissioned to promote the first Beat compilation What is Beat? in 1983, these reissues also feature (on the I Just Can’t Stop It bonus disc) four remixes created for 1996′s B.P.M. hits set.
More live material: The Edsel reissues include not only the three John Peel BBC sessions being released on Shout! Factory’s box (plus an extra track on the 1982 session), but extra vintage sessions conducted by Mike Read in 1980 and a track recorded for David Jensen in 1982. A handful of live tracks recorded at the Hammersmith Palais in October 1982 that became B-sides for several configurations of the single “I Confess” have been resequenced and added to the Special Beat Service bonus disc. The Edsel sets do not, however, include the live cuts recorded in Boston that feature on The Complete Beat box.
Video content: None of the promo videos or live bits recorded for Top of the Pops, The Tube and others appear in Shout! Factory’s reissues, so Edsel wins this round.
An unreleased track: the Special Beat Service-era outtake “It Makes Me Rock” makes its first appearance anywhere on the expanded edition of that album.
Edsel’s sets will be out in U.K. shops June 25, a few weeks before Shout! Factory’s box set arrives on our shores. Hit the jump for a full breakdown of the Edsel sets, and participate in our poll to let us know which of The Beat’s newest sets you’ll be getting!