There was a brief period of time between 1979 and 1983 when the British music press–always the trendsetters and tastemakers in the UK–declared that ska was the biggest and most important new genre in the post-punk world. A Holy Trinity was soon recognized: The Specials, Madness, and The Beat (renamed The English Beat for North America because that name had already been taken).
The Beat came out of Birmingham in 1978 and made it through three albums between 1980 and 1982. I confess (pun intended) to catching on to ska late, not really figuring things out until The Beat’s 1982 album, Special Beat Service, after seeing this video on CBC’s Good Rockin’ Tonight. It’s still one of my all-time favourites.
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