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The English Beat

Personnelwise, this isn't the same Beat you knew and loved—and danced manically to—back in the 1980s. There's just one original member, Dave Wakeling (guitar/vocals), who formed General Public with co-frontman Ranking Roger when the Beat fell apart in 1983 (guitar/bass duo Andy Cox and David Steele became two-thirds of Fine Young Cannibals). There's been no shortage of solo projects, collaborations, one-offs, partial reunions, and Beat tribute bands since, with Wakeling—now based in L.A., not the U.K.—fronting this six-piece for the past few years. But no matter the lineup, the sound is timeless. The Beat's politically charged, socially conscious lyrics, with a message of peace and racial unity, have lost none of their relevance nearly 30 years on, and the music—rooted in ska and spiked with saxophone, with elements of reggae, punk, soul, and pop—compels you to move.

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