Friday, April 26, 2013

IRS Records: Jeanette

I debated on whether to do this particular song, but since “Jeanette” was the flip side for The English Beat’s single “Save it For Later,” I decided to go for it. The band’s actual name was The Beat; however, trademark restrictions prevented this name being used in North America and Australia.

In North America, they were known as The English Beat and in Australia, they were The British Beat. I’m not sure of the situation in Australia, but an American band had already been using the name “The Beat.” In a turnabout, the U.S. band had to use the name The Paul Collins’ Beat outside of the U.S. In 2012, both bands untied for a tour named, “Two Beats Hearting as One.”

Despite its campy lyrics, “Jeanette” was probably my favorite tune from their third and final album, “Special Beat Service.” Although the album charted at #39 on Billboard’s Top 200 Chart, The English Beat did not get much airplay on US radio. In fact, most ska bands failed to make a mainstream dent in America. It’s a great album, and to its tribute, I used to have a poster for the album positioned on the ceiling in my bed room.

According to Dave Wakeling, Jeanette "was an archetype, but there was somebody, evidently her name was Jeanette. It wasn't a friend of mine, but a friend of somebody else's in the group who did have a Ronettes' style haircut, like a big beehive hairdo. And she was the initial inspiration for the song. But then it sort of got written about an archetype, I suppose. Sort of a rich girl that might want to hang around musicians. Like a trustafarian or something."

My favorite part of the song is the accordion parts played by session musician Jack Emblow. My second attraction to this tune was Saxa’s saxophone parts. Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger, who both later formed General Public, provided the vocals.

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