Uptown top Ranking
THE Beat go on offering their ska-fuelled, feel-good show offering top ten hits from their Eighties heyday mixed with politics.
Remember Hands Off She's Mine, Tears of a Clown, Mirror In the Bathroom and Can't Get Used To Losing You?
Catch them at The Wharf this weekend.
Those tunes were the commercial side of the band, getting them slots on Top Of The Pops, TV specials and Radio 1.
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"People heard the hits on the radio and bought the album," says irrepressible frontman Ranking Roger.
"So there were the three radio-friendly tunes and the rest were pretty political. It was a good way of getting people to listen to what we were saying, although we didn't think of it like that at the time. We simply released the more radio-friendly tracks as we knew they were the ones that would get us airplay."
When they did release a track with hard-hitting lyrics they quickly felt the backlash.
"We put out Stand Down Margaret because the country was in a mess and there was a surge of feeling that the Prime Minister needed to go and someone needed to say it.
"The radio played it without too much concern because they'd taken our other stuff, but after a couple of airings the track was banned.
"Not only that, we were completely banned from TV and radio – for us the whole thing was a disaster and we had to spend two years in America to keep our career alive before we could safely return."
By then the Iron Lady was gone so perhaps their message had got through – the song had reached number 22 on the charts despite lack of radio coverage.
"I have absolutely no regrets about releasing it. We gave all the proceeds of the single to CND and Greenpeace. CND made about 40 grand out of it and were able to open an office in London as a result."
Of course today we are once more in recession with high unemployment.
"Nowadays it's much more difficult to say what you think openly as we did back then," continues Roger.
"Then there was far more freedom of speech and you could put your soap box up in the middle of London and have your say. Now you'd be moved on far more quickly.
"I think it's all to do with 9/11 which has led to a psychological change – since then we've moved into Big Brother time.
"We have to be far more subtle about how we get our message across. Our style of music hasn't changed, we still have a great groove going on and as usual our political stuff is still great to dance to.
"We've always stood for equal rights, so that comes across strongly in our new music.
"There's one about the UN bullying smaller countries and the song Civilisation questions why we are killing each other when we ought to be joining forces for survival to save the planet."
Ranking Jnr, Roger's son and band member since the band's reformation in 2003, has penned several of the new tunes including How Do You Do for the younger generation and there are still love songs in the mix.
"We've had an amazing summer of festivals," continues Roger, "where, if anything, people have shown more respect. I've lost count of the number of people telling us we're legends, but I ignore all that.
"I just love the vibe and the atmosphere knowing that band and audience are sharing such an amazing time together."
The Beat play The Wharf tomorrow night (box office: 01822 661116).