aka The Vinyl Villain incorporating Sexy Loser
004 – THE BEAT – ‚Ranking FullStop’ (Two Tone Records, ’79)
‘Oh no, not a Ska-record again!’, I hear you shout! Well, what shall I say? You better get used to it, because this music really formed my life from rather an early age on . Consequently, there will be quite some Ska records in this series, nothing wrong with that, if you ask me!
But why do I like this genre so much? I mean, I’m not a dancing man, not at all. So even the coolest rhythms hardly make me move my feet. So there must be another reason, and I think it is because I met so many very nice people in this scene, it is hard to believe. The people I met were the most tolerable, impartial, friendly persons you can imagine. And I am talking about regular fans here as well as ‘stars’ of one sort or another.
I won’t go too much into detail, but a mate of mine became some sort of manager for a German Ska band in the late 80’s and I often needed money then, so I worked for him occasionally. He did a big festival two years in a row, ‘Skankin’ Round The Christmas Tree’ – and I was responsible for all things backstage by and large. And obviously that’s where you meet bands and get to know them better.
The Beat, or, for JTFL (and other potential US-readers as well, of course), The English Beat, came from Birmingham. I suspect there isn’t all too much to say about them or their importance to second wave Ska which hasn’t already been said elsewhere. What some people don’t know though, or, perhaps rather forgot about, is the amount of really good bands that rose from the ashes of (former members of) The Beat: General Public, Fine Young Cannibals, Two Nations and of course Ranking Roger’s solo stuff, which was good throughout.
For the 111 Singles project, I went for The Beat’s debut single, but, as you will be astonished to learn, I left the A-Side behind: a cover of Smokey Robinson’s ‘Tears Of A Clown’. It is a neat song, but – in my humble opinion – not nearly as good as the B-Side:
If you really want to be pedantic, you could argue that the version I have, the one with the silver injection labels, state this record to be a double A-side, but no, ‘Ranking Full Stop’ had always intended to be seen as a B-side. Quite why, I have no idea – because it is a song that REALLY kicks ass, even after all these years!
I do hope you enjoy it as much as I do, see you soon.