Music VIDEO: General Public Performs ‘Rainy Days’
Their first album, …All The Rage (which featured The Clash’s Mick Jones, The Specials’ Horace Panter, and Dexy’s Midnight Runners members Mickey Billingham and Stoker) enjoyed critical acclaim, climbing the charts in both the U.S. and the U.K.
The second single from that album — and one of the most well-recognized songs of the 80s — “Tenderness,” rose to #27 in the U.S. charts and was featured in films: Sixteen Candles (1984), Weird Science (1985), and Clueless (1995). Other well-received singles from the album, included “Never You Done That” and “Hot You’re Cool.”
Off the success of …All The Rage, the band won the prestigious Juno award in Canada for 1984’s Best New Artist.
The band split-up shortly after their second album, Hand to Mouth, which spawned two memorable singles, but proved to be far less successful than their debut LP.
In 1995, while Dave was working for Greenpeace, long-time fan and friend Elvis Costello gave Dave Wakeling an earful in front of 18 other Greenpeacers, telling him: “All this Greenpeace stuff, and this anti-Apartheid stuff, that’s all well and good, but you know your place is on the stage, and you know that!” Costello’s words apparently had some affect, because two weeks later Dave rejoined with Roger as General Public to begin work on their third, and arguably strongest, album-to-date, Rub It Better.
For the new album, Wakeling and Roger brought in their old English Beat comrade Saxa (on Saxophone), as well as Birmingham reggae singer and toaster Pato Banton (who’d worked previously w/ the English Beat on Special Beat Service). Other guests included Mick Jones, Chris Spedding, and ex-General Public members Horace Panter and Stoker. Produced by Talking Heads keyboardist Jerry Harrison, the album is a perfect blend of soul, ska, dancehall, pop, and contemporary rock.
Despite receiving a 5-star rating from Rolling Stone Magazine and becoming an instant Beat/GP-fan favorite, Epic Records somehow dropped the ball on promoting this amazing album, resulting in lackluster sales. Roger eventually grew tired of traveling back and forth between England and America (where Wakeling had earlier relocated) and the band, once again, called it quits.
I have had the pleasure of seeing Dave Wakeling’s The English Beat on several occasions, which go down as some of my all-time favorite live performances (and I have seen A LOT over the years). His set includes many of the fabulous songs from both The English Beat and General Public. He is truly one of the most gifted (and underrated) songwriters/singers/guitarists/performers of our time.
From General Public’s Rub It Better, here is the effervescent “Rainy Days,” with Roger at the mic: