The Beat – ‘I Just Can’t Stop It’

A life in music No.8 – 1980

The Beat – ‘I Just Can’t Stop It’

By 1980 the ‘second wave of ska’ had firmly found its place in the UK charts. Madness, Selector, Bad Manners and The Specials were having major success, and it was The Beat with their debut album I Just Can’t Stop It who cemented my love of the dance craze. By this time (aged 14) I was already checking out the roots of my chart favourites, listening to soul, ska and sixties, fascinated and obsessed as I was by the history and the culture as well as the music.

The Beat - I Just Can't Stop ItIf my memory serves me correctly (it probably doesn’t) their first three chart singles were all taken from this stunning LP. ‘Tears of a Clown’, ‘Hands Off She’s Mine’ and ‘Mirror in the Bathroom’ were all classic Top Ten singles with the rest of the album littered with covers and blatant nods towards their ska and rocksteady pioneers. As with The Specials, much of The Beat’s own writing was heavily spiced with political and cultural references born out of ‘Thatcher’s Britain’. I loved the energy of ‘Click Click’ and ‘Two Swords’ as much I the dubby loose-limbed groove of ‘Jackpot’ and ‘Whine and Grine’, and despite some of the overtly political lyrics and cutting social comment this was still most definitely a ‘pop’ album.

It’s with far more than a large dose of dewy-eyed nostalgia that I can listen back to I Just Can’t Stop It, and still love it. Yes, they were indeed very happy days full of naive and romantic positivity, and the sheer voyage of musical discovery was already an all-consuming passion, but quite simply this is an exceptional album, brilliantly of its time yet over thirty years later as relevant now as it was then. The only down side – the putrid cover of Andy Williams’ ‘Can’t Get Used To Losing You’- despite Everett Morton’s perfect mellow ska beat – I didn’t like it then and don’t like it now. Anyway, kids… buy (download) this album.

1972: Theme To Robinson Crusoe
1973: Sweet – ‘Blockbuster’
1977: E.L.O – ‘Out Of The Blue’
1978: Blondie – ‘Picture This’
1979: Squeeze – ‘Cool For Cats’
1979: Madness – ‘One Step Beyond’
1979: The Specials – ‘The Specials’
1980: The Beat – ‘I Just Can’t Stop It’

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