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Interview: Dave Wakeling

There was an exciting time during the early 1980s where there was a true fusion of a few different musical styles which led to a hybrid of rock and reggae in a radio-friendly pop-package that was especially popular in the UK. The English Beat and General Public were two bands at the forefront who captured the ears of that generation. Coincidentally, both groups had two band members in common: Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger. 

Earlier this year, BMG reissued General Public’s debut album All the Rage and their second studio album Hand to Mouth which feature a few of the group’s hits including “Tenderness” which - at the time - showed up in not one, but two John Huges films, Sixteen Candles and Weird Science: you can’t get much more 80s than that. 

Sadly, Ranking Roger passed away in 2019, but Dave Wakeling continues to tour and perform his catalog of music from both the English Beat and General Public for audiences around the world. He’s also having a high-water mark vinyl year as well, in addition to BMG’s General Public reissues, Rhino will reissue an expanded version of the English Beat’s I Just Can’t Stop It for Record Store Day: Black Friday in November of 2023. 

Dave joins me this week to discuss these reissues and to take us on a detailed journey through their intricate production process. He’s got a great memory of the old days and a witty and nuanced perspective on the music he made during those years. You won’t want to miss his description of how John Hughes organized his record collection. It may be a trip down memory lane, but it’s also an exploration of how much of the music that was made all of those years ago has found its way back to the future.


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