As he rolls the English Beat out on the road this year, co-founder and frontman Dave Wakeling is commemorating -- loosely -- the 30th anniversary of the band's second album, "Wha'ppen?" And he laughingly recalls the argument over its title.
"It was all over the punctuation -- where the apostrophe should go," says Wakeling, 55. "I though it should be 'Wh'appen,' because it would give people a better idea of what it means -- what's happening, what's up, y'know? But I lost to the manager's wife, who was an English teacher and absolutely insisted it should go in the middle.
"I had a sinking feeling when I saw it. And wouldn't you know, the first time the BBC played one of the song, 'All Out to Get You,' the DJ on the radio said, 'That's off the great new Beat album called...,' and he mispronounced it! And I was just going, 'Oh, God...!' "
Regardless of pronunciations, however, Wakeling still has good feelings about "Wha'ppen?"
"It's my favorite, really," he says. "We'd just gotten over the rush and glory of being pop stars from the first album, and we'd had a year or so to do nothing but play our instruments, so we were better at that. We'd had some experience in the studio, so we weren't all just starry-eyed. I think ('Wha'ppen?') has more depth to it.
"And for die-hard fans, that's their hidden jewel. The first and third records had more success, commercially, with hits singles and everything, but real fans get to tell the other ones, 'Oh, no, 'Wha'ppen?'s' the best."
Wakeling is currently working on new music for the English Beat, although he says that pending new licensing deals for the group's previous recordings -- with both publishers and labels -- is making him hold off on plans until at least next year.
The English Beat performs Monday, Sept. 26 at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.
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