Considered by many as nothing more than an offshoot of the better-known '80s British outfit the English Beat, General Public still enjoyed several substantial hits on their own during their short career.
Immediately after the split of the ska-pop outfit the English Beat in 1983, former members Dave Wakeling (vocals, born February 19, 1956) and Ranking Roger ("toaster," born February 21, 1961) formed General Public, which turned out to be more pop-based than its predecessor, with elements of classic Motown soul thrown in for good measure.
Once former Dexy's Midnight Runners keyboardist Mickey Billingham, former Specials bassist Horace Panter, and a drummer known simply as Stoker were all enlisted, General Public was officially up and running.
Signing on with the IRS label, General Public's debut album, 1984's All the Rage, was a commercial success back home, as it featured a guest appearance by former Clash guitarist Mick Jones and scored a Top 40 single with the track "Tenderness."
1986 saw the release of General Public's sophomore effort, Hand to Mouth, which failed to match expectations set by its predecessor despite spawning a pair of popular singles, "Too Much or Nothing" and "Come Again." With both Wakeling and Roger unable to agree on a musical direction, General Public split up shortly thereafter.
Roger issued a solo debut in 1988, the more ska-based Radical Departure, while Wakeling contributed the title track to John Hughes' 1988 film She's Having a Baby and issued a solo album as well, 1991's General Public-esque No Warning.
Roger would go on to form another outfit, Special Beat, which included musicians from the late-'70s English ska scene, but in 1994, Roger and Wakeling were asked to reunite General Public for a track on the Threesome motion picture soundtrack.
A UB40-like interpretation of the Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There" was offered and became a surprise Top 40 hit.
The duo remained together for a third General Public studio album, 1995's Rub It Better (produced by former Talking Heads keyboardist/guitarist Jerry Harrison), but when it sunk from sight upon release, the band split up once more.
2002 saw the release of the duo's first best-of collection, the 12-track Classic Masters.
All the Rage
Aaahh, aaah, aah, oh!
Aaahh, aaah, aah, oh!
I don't know where to start or where to stop
my lucks like a button
I can't stop pushing it
my head feels light
but I'm still in the dark
seems like without tenderness there's something missing
Tenderness, where is the
Tenderness, where is it
I don't know where I am but I know I don't like it
I open my mouth and out pops something spiteful
words are so cheap
but they can turn out expensive
words like conviction can turn into a sentence
I held your hands
rings but none on that finger
we danced and danced
but I was scared to go much further with it
just half a chance
make sure that one night you're here but
next night you're not
it always leaves me searching for a little
Tenderness, Tenderness, Tenderness, where is the Tenderness
Whistling in the graveyard
calling up your girlfriend
just trying to make her understand
you're squeezing the telephone like it was her hand
so many questions
she's going to catch you out boy
it all seems so underhand
now she's the only thing that ever made you feel like a man, man
Where is the Tenderness, Where is the Tenderness, where is it
REPEAT 3RD VERSE
Tenderness, tenderness, tenderness
where is the Tenderness
When you're sick to death of second best, pet
why should the morning always find you unimpressed?
is your love like a button?
you can't stop pushing it?
oh this all night longing can be such a long time