Once again we have a song with no story behind it. So let’s talk a little about 1979.
Disco still dominated both heart-wise and chart-wise with massive hits by The Village People, Donna Summer, Chic, and of course, The Bee Gees. Even long-time rockers were getting in on the action by this time as Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, and ELO all scored on the dance floor with that polyester beat.
If you wanted tougher sounds – leather jacket and jeans sounds – you went to the downtown dives, where the gritty rock ‘n’ roll blasted through Marshall amps on a tiny stage.
One band plying their trade in Los Angeles in 1979 called themselves The Beat. They played a punk-infused brand of power pop which proved quite popular with the hip and happening crowd, and even cracked the occasional radio playlist. Although The Beat never reached the Top 40, they built a strong fan base in California and recorded their debut album for major label Columbia Records under the guiding hand of former engineer and producer for The Doors, Bruce Botnick.
To confuse matters, there existed a band in the UK at the same time who also used the name The Beat. As a result, The Beat from America were known as The Beat for their debut stateside, but went by Paul Collins’ Beat (after the lead singer) in Europe. Meanwhile, the other The Beat became known as The English Beat in America while keeping The Beat in the rest of the world. Got it? Good.
Here’s the opening track from The Beat’s 1979 debut, a song about a rock ‘n’ roll boy looking for a rock ‘n’ roll girl in a mixed-up disco world.
How many Beats does it take to change a light bulb…