Brent Johnson’s Lost Songs: ‘Can’t Get Used To Losing You’ by The English Beat

brent johnson digs up another lost treasure, this week from The English Beat …

There are really only two reasons a band should release a cover song:

1. To re-arrange it into something that sounds different or new.

2. To introduce a forgotten tune to an audience that has never heard it.

The English Beat’s version of ‘Can’t Get Used To Losing You’ does both.

Fronted by singer/guitarist Dave Wakeling, the Beat were one of the leaders of the 2 Tone ska movement that hit Britain in the late 1970s. It’s doubtful many of their fans were familiar with ‘Losing You,’ a song with a catchy chorus and jerky beat that Andy Williams brought to the upper reaches of the charts in 1963.

The Beat re-imagined it with reggae guitar and a woozy saxophone break. Still, it sounds like they could have written it themselves — probably because the Beat’s music often featured more classic pop structure than their ska counterparts.

(For the record, both versions of the song are pretty great. Williams’ original actually seems experimental for a pre-Beatles singer beloved by my grandparents.)

The Beat had a string of wonderful hits in their native U.K. in the early ’80s and found some success in America. Their signature song, ‘Save It For Later,’ was a staple on the early days on MTV. When they broke up, the band splintered into two different groups: General Public and Fine Young Cannibals.

But Wakeling still tours with a version of the Beat. Pop-Break is set to interview him this week in advance of the band’s show at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J., on Saturday night. For more info, visit Wakeling’s website.