The Beat, General Public and Fine Young Cannibals On Track mainly covers 1979-89 when this trio of groups poured forth a torrent of brilliant music (including hits that never were, experimental B-sides, remixes and guest appearances), before bringing the story up to the present day.
An idiosyncratic, creative flare lighting up a strange but exciting decade.
Bursting out of industrial Birmingham in the late 1970s and hitching a ride on the Two-Tone bandwagon for their first single, The English Beat answered the question as to whether punk and reggae should mix, better than anyone else. Their stunning first album in 1980 was an immediate success in their home country and even as they charted an unexpected course through the early years of the new decade, they retained a loyal following of roots, radicals and rockers. They additionally began to build a reputation in the USA, but in 1983, the pressure of maintaining a career strung across the Atlantic tore the group apart. The two frontmen Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger then formed the slick and initially successful General Public. However, they were completely eclipsed by Fine Young Cannibals, the soul-pop outfit created by guitarist Andy Cox
Steve Parry is a musician, songwriter and producer who is still sore about missing out on seeing The Beat the first time around. He has made up for lost time since, catching various iterations of the group in concert and always shouting out for obscure tracks. Not only that, he insists on boring all and sundry about the merits of the extended Beat family and the lack of an in-depth analysis of their amazing back catalogue – now rectified. He lives in Twickenham, UK, with his wife Lee and dog Brockely, who is now an expert on reggae and barks on the offbeat!