Monday, October 5, 2009

New Wave for the New Week #30

The cover of The Beat's 1979 self-titled debut...Image via Wikipedia

One of the more popular bands to come out of the early 1980s was The English Beat. With their ska/soul sound and hummable hits like "I Confess," "Mirror in the Bathroom," and "Save it for Later," it's hard not to like them. But they were only called The English Beat here in America; in their native UK they were simply The Beat. How many of you know why the origin-specific identifier was added to their name here?

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Paul Collins.

Back in 1976, Collins was one third of the legendary L.A. power-pop band The Nerves, along with Jack Lee and Peter Case. The Nerves released one record, a much sought-after four-song EP that nowadays fetches a pretty penny if you can find a copy. The record includes their most well-known composition, "Hanging On The Telephone," which was later very successfully covered by Blondie (most people who know the Blondie version have no idea it was a cover!)

The Nerves shattered soon after, and the three gentlemen went their separate ways, each landing rather well: Peter Case would go on to form The Plimsouls (whose signature song "A Million Miles Away" was featured in the movie Valley Girl) as well as release several solo records; Jack Lee would become a song writer of some note, scoring his biggest success writing the Top 40 hit "Come Back And Stay" for Paul Young. And Paul Collins put together a very Nerves-like combo called...wait for it...The Beat.

The timing was just off: as Collins and his band started to gain recognition on the west coast and landed a recording contract with CBS, the other band from the UK using the same name was starting to make people sit up and take notice. Hence, both bands made name adjustments: the UK-based band became The English Beat here in the states, and the American band became The Paul Collins Beat overseas. (In fact, they used the adjusted name for one album here in the US as well, but after the name changes settled out, they went back to being just The Beat here.)

For those of you who have never heard them, this week's NW4NW entry is The, The Paul Collins Beat that is...with one of their finest moments, "The Kids Are The Same." As a bonus, take a listen to The Nerves' original recording of "Hanging On The Telephone." Enjoy!

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1 comment:

  1. Nice post. Dunno if you've seen it, there's a YouTube vid of them doing "Rock and Roll Girl" on American Bandstand out there, the guitarist is wearing the most amazing pair of pink leather pants I think I've ever seen. Or maybe the ONLY pair of pink leather pants I've ever seen...