The Beat – Hands Off, She’s Mine

21st September 1980 · 1980, 1980s, Music, Reggae, Two-Tone, UK Reggae

The second hit single for The Beat, Hands Off She’s Mine was one of the highlights of the Two-Tone music movement by the Birmingham band.

My favourite of all the ska revival bands, The Beat came from Birmingham and released their debut single, a cover of Smokey Robinson’s Tears of a Clown, on 2-Tone.

They went on to set up their own Go Feet label, making this self-penned tune – released in early 1980 – the first of a trio of classic singles, along with Mirror In The Bathroom and Stand Down Margaret, each coming in 12-inch form with a dub version and a toast by Ranking Roger.

The urgent chug of their rhythms isn’t really ska – it’s very much their own sound, characterised by the bursts of brass that carry the melody and, in this tune, a nice – and unexpected – steelpan section lending a tropical flavour.

Top-class dub version too, with Ranking Roger, who died last year, in especially fine form – “Hands off me daughtah!” – on a tune that was simultaneously ‘of its time’ yet never grows old.