The English Beat w/ Paul Collins' Beat
One of the earliest and most important ska revivalist groups, Birmingham's the Beat formed in 1978 (the band had to change its name to the English Beat in the U.S. to avoid confusion with Paul Collins' band of the same name). The multiracial band carved a distinct sound through the use of alternating lead vocals by guitarist Dave Wakeling and punk toaster/rapper Ranking Roger, supported by a tight band consisting of Andy Cox (guitar), David Steele (bass), and Everett Moreton (drums). The addition of 50-year-old saxophonist Saxa, who originally played with Prince Buster and Desmond Dekker, gave the band credibility and fleshed out its sound.
An opening spot for the Selecter led to the band's signing to 2-Tone, where they released the hit single "Tears of a Clown," a wonderful version of the Smokey Robinson classic. In 1980, the band decided to form its own 2-Tone-inspired label, Go-Feet (distributed by Arista). A string of hit singles followed in the U.K., including "Mirror in the Bathroom." Their debut LP, I Just Can't Stop It, combined the early hits with other pop/ska-oriented material. "Stand Down Margaret," with its anti-Thatcher stance, found the band moving in a more political direction, leading to several benefit gigs for "radical" causes.
Musically, the Beat slowed down the tempo for a more traditional reggae sound showcased on 1981's Wha'ppen. This direction failed to bring the chart success of its predecessor. Featuring a more pop-oriented approach, 1982's Special Beat Service helped the band increase its U.S. fan base through MTV exposure of "Save It for Later" and "I Confess," but the bandmembers decided to call it quits early the following year. Wakeling and Ranking Roger went on to form General Public, and Cox and Steele formed Fine Young Cannibals.
Rock icon and cult favorite Paul Collins got his start with Peter Case and Jack Lee in 1974. Their band The Nerves toured with The Ramones and recorded a song called “Hanging On The Telephone.” The song would later become a hit when covered by Deborah Harry and Blondie on the Parallel Lines album.
Paul Collins formed The Beat in 1979, recruiting members of various rock bands including Steven Huff, Larry Whitman, Dennis Conway and Michael Ruiz. The result was The Beat, a high energy rock group in the style of The Ramones, Blondie and The Dictators. As the story goes, Collins was awarded a record deal with CBS thanks to his friend Eddie Money and Bill Graham Management. The Beat played with many bands, including The Jam, Pere Ubu, The Police, Eddie Money, The Plimsouls and Huey Lewis. The Beat became Paul Collins’ Beat when a ska band from UK began using The Beat as their moniker.
Paul Collins’ Beat continued to tour and record albums throughout the ’80s, with The Kids Are The Same, Beat Or Not To Beat, Long Time Gone, Live At Universal and their final album One Night, released in 1989. Paul Collins set out on a solo career, recording the self-titled Paul Collins album in 1992. This country/rock album included special guests such as Greg Kihn, Cyril Jordan (from Flamin Groovies), Jeff Trott (Sheryl Crow), Chuck Prophet, Dave Immergluck (Counting Crows) and key members of Chris Isaak’s band.
1993 brought the sophomore release by Paul Collins Band, entitled From Town To Town. The album was recorded with Arty Lenin of The Flashcubes, Rick Wagner and Will Rigby of The db’s and Billy Fica of Television. This album was released by Caroline Records and featured a country rock sound similar to The Byrds.
After a ten year hiatus The Paul Collins’ Beat resurfaced and released a string of new records. Flying High 2004, Ribbon of Gold 2007 and the latest King of Power Pop recorded in Detroit with the legendary Jim Diamond in Detroit. Considered to be his best to date, the album gets back to the classic sound of The Beat, while combining the raw energy of Collins’ solo works.
“For me this is the record that connects the dots, from The Nerves to The Breakaways to The Beat to today… this is the record that puts it all together!”- Paul Collins
With the release of King of Power Pop, Paul set up The Beat Army an online community of people connected by their love of power pop, melodic guitar driven rock n roll. Now some 3000 members strong, Paul books shows all over the United States, Canada and Europe. “This is a model for the new DIY,” says Paul, “I am touring all over the world with new bands that feature the sound I helped to invent.”
On the very first Beat Army Tour of The South Paul was invited to record a single for Fat Possum Records which will feature art work by the renowned artist Glennray Tutor was released in March of 2011.
On March 1, 2012 Paul Collins will reunite with old buddy and grammy nominated artist Peter Case for an extensive national tour performing all the gems from their previous bands, The Nerves, The Beat and The Plimsouls.