Pluck & Cover: Save It for Later-The (English) Beat & Dave Wakeling
There's a lot that can be written about The Beat (or English Beat as they're legally known in North America due to the name 'The Beat' already being claimed by another band), from their role in the late 70s ska movement in England to their overall legacy in the world of pop music-a legacy not just focused on The Beat but the bands it helped spawn after the group broke up, including General Public and Fine Young Cannibals.
All of that is going to have to wait for another day, since today we take a look at just a microcosm of The Beat's career, the absolute gem of a song Save It for Later from their 1982 album Special Beat Service.
At the time of its original release, Save It for Later never went very far in the charts on either side of the ocean, but since then it has taken on almost mythical status amongst singer/songwriter types. Weird tuning, a great arrangement, and lyrics that may or may not make it the dirtiest non-dirty song ever written have all helped make Save It for Later an 80s classic.
The first cover I ever heard of the track was from a concert I've mentioned a lot here at MoonVsTheWorld, Pete Townshend's Deep End Live, back in the mid-80s. Townshend had stripped the tune down to just acoustic guitar, upright bass and sax, and it was an amazing version of the song (in fact, here's a great article on the Townshend cover by Pat Pemberton on spinner.ca). Since then a variety of artists have tried their hand at the song, with the best known versions by Eddie Vedder (on his own and with Pearl Jam) and Harvey Danger.
I've decided to go back to the source for today's cover of Save It for Later, with a 2006 radio appearance by Beat songwriter Dave Wakeling. I'm also including an additional clip from the same interview that features Wakeling explaining the tuning of the song and the confusion it caused Townshend and his buddy David Gilmour when he was working out his version.
Save It for Later, The Beat
Save It for Later, Dave Wakeling
Wakeling Explains the Tuning, Guitarists Rejoice