English Beat Drummer Everett Morton Dead At 71

English Beat Drummer Everett Morton Dead At 71

Everett Morton — drummer of the British 2-tone ska revival group the Beat, known in the US and Canada as the English Beat — has died. “It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of Everett Morton, a beautiful and talented man,” the band wrote on Twitter. “His family are naturally grieving. Please respect their privacy. RIP GAFFAH!” He was 71.

Born in the island of St. Kitts in the West Indies in 1950, Morton moved to Birmingham, England as a teenager. He went to drum school and played in his cousin’s band, and in 1978, he formed the Beat with Dave Wakeling, Ranking Roger, Andy Cox, David Steele, and Saxa. They released three albums, 1980’s I Just Can’t Stop It, 1981’s Wha’ppen?, and 1982’s Special Beat Service.

After the Beat broke up in 1983, Morton and Saxa formed the International Beat with vocalist Tony Beet; their 1990 album The Hitting Line was produced by Ranking Roger. The Beat occasionally reunited in various forms, and Morton played in the UK version of the band with Ranking Roger until his death in 2019.

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