The original “Save It For Later” (by whom we call The English Beat over in these here parts, but were truly just called “The Beat”) hit the charts in 1982 and is part of the musical periphery of my childhood. As many times as I’ve heard it, it still strikes me from those opening notes as such a fantastic song.
Save It For Later – The (English) Beat
The Beat played Denver a few weeks ago, and while I was not in attendance, I did get updates from a friend who is a fellow Pearl Jam fan and knows that PJ does a wistful, spontaneous-feeling cover version of this song; I love the way it builds from a tentative start to a rocking, thrumming end. Ed clearly took his cues here from his hero, his idol, Pete Townshend and his version of the same song in Brixton in 1985.
A few years later, Townshend was on stage at a charity gig in Brixton, and performed “Save it For Later,” a recent hit from the Beat. Townshend sheared the song down to its skeleton, hanging the lyric on one repeated guitar figure. Singing in a harrowed but calm voice, Townshend lingers on the lyric’s odd phrases . . . infusing the line “your legs give way/you hit the ground” with weary resignation, and taking the lyric’s silly sex joke and turning it into a vulnerable plea.
I also really dig the Harvey Danger cover that plays over the ending credits of the 1999 movie 200 Cigarettes . . . just listen to that rejuvenated beat, all cleaned up and sharpened and rad. And instead of bringing the string section in towards the end as the original does, it wends its way throughout:
Save It For Later – Harvey Danger