Tuesday, February 11, 2014

General Public - Tenderness

"Tenderness" started as an English Beat song; when that group broke up in 1983, singers Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger took the tune with them to their new band, General Public.  They added Mickey Billingham (keyboards) and Stoker (drums) from Dexys Midnight Runners and Horace Panter (bass) from The Specials to create the first version of General Public.  Guitarist Mick Jones, who had recently left The Clash, also worked with the band on their first LP, but left during the recording sessions and would go on to form Big Audio Dynamite (although his guitar tracks were used on "Tenderness.")

General Public's first album, All the Rage was released in 1984 and became a hit, reaching #26 on the charts.  "Tenderness" would peak at #27, one of two top 40 hits for the band (more on that in a moment).  Sadly, the band's second LP, 1986's Hand to Mouth did not do well (#151) and the lack of success and disagreements over the music direction of the band led to its dissolution.

In 1994,  Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger were asked to contribute a song to the Threesome movie soundtrack and decided to re-form General Public (though without any of the other original members).  They recorded a cover of The Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There," which became General Public's second top 40 hit (#22) and led to the 1995 Rub It Better album, which did not chart.  The group broke up a second time soon afterwards, though Wakeling and Ranking Roger have continued to perform in various projects since then.

As a cool factoid, it turns out that there were two "Tenderness" videos and we have included both of them (of course).  The first version (below) is the one that I recall seeing on MTV back in the day.

And below is the rarer version, which includes Dave Wakeling's poor taste in (small) bathing suits (consider yourselves warned):


  1. Love this song.
    Have never seen the rare version. Wow!
    Warned about Dave's swim ware! Ha!
    The whole weird "story line"?
    Black man eating watermellon.
    Shower sex.
    No wonder I never say this on MTV.
    Thanks for posting.
    Love This Blog

    1. Welcome back, Sam and thanks for the comments, as always. I have a feeling that the label saw the first video and pushed for a re-shoot :)