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."