General Publicwas formed after the group, The Beat, (which was also known as The English Beat in North America), split up in 1983. The ex-members of The Beat, vocalist Dave Wakeling and vocalist Ranking Roger, joined up with Mickey Billingham (keyboard player from the Dexy’s Midnight Runners), Horace Panter (bass guitar player from The Specials), Stoker (drum player from Dexy’s Midnight Runners and The Bureau), decided to form a new band. Guitar player, Mick Jones, from The Clash, was said to be a member in the beginning.
The band signed up with I. R. S. Records and released their album, All the Rage, in 1984. Jones left the band before the album was released but he played the guitar on most of the tracks on the album. Kevin White replaced his as guitar player, and also played on the album. He is now the band’s sixth member and main guitar player.
The General Public had a minor hit in Britain with their track called, General Public. The track reached number 60 on the charts. They had much better success in North America. Their second single called, Tenderness, hit number 27 on the Top 40 charts in the United States and also in Canada. This achievement was partly due to the heavy play they received on MTV and the American rock station, KROQ, in Los Angeles. For the recording of their next album, White and Stoker were replaced with the brothers, Gianni and Mario Minardi. With Gianni on the guitar and Mario on the drums. The band split up after their track for the soundtrack of the movie, Weird Science, Hand To Mouth, in 1986, was unsuccessful.
Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling went on to work on different solo projects for the next few years. They reunited in 1994 to perform a cover for The Staple Singers big hit, I’ll Take You There, for the soundtrack called, Threesome. The General Public received the credit for the song and it was also a hit on the Top 40 chart in the United States and also in Canada. The song was also a minor hit in the U. K. When it hit number 73 on the charts there.
This duo stayed together and are now the only original members of General Public left. In 1995 they released album, Rub It Better, with the producer, Jerry Harrison. They broke up soon after because the album did not sell many copies and Roger was tired of touring. In 2000, Dave Wakeling reunited his backing band and toured North America. The backing band did not have any of the original members of The Beat or General Public, although Roger and a few of the other members of The Beat performed as guests on a few of the shows. Wakeling and Roger reunited again in 2005 and The Beat officially reformed.
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