Influential ska drummer Everett Morton has died, age 71.
The news was announced by his band, The Beat, earlier today (October 9) on social media. No cause of death has yet been given.
They wrote: “It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of Everett Morton, a beautiful and talented man.
“His family are naturally grieving. Please respect their privacy. RIP Gaffah!”
It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of Everett Morton, a beautiful and talented man. His family are naturally grieving. Please respect their privacy❤️ RIP GAFFAH! pic.twitter.com/WOe4XWT18u
— The Beat (@TheBeat) October 8, 2021
The Curator of Coventry Music Museum, Pete Chambers BEM, paid tribute to the musician, describing him as the “engine room of the Ska band” to the Coventry Observer.
He said: “He was a true gentleman, gently spoken, charming, always supportive and always there for people.
“His drumming was incredible gracing top ten charts hits such as ‘Tears of A Clown’, ‘Mirror in The Bathroom’ and ‘Can’t Get used to losing You’ and top ten albums: ‘I Just Can’t Stop It’ and ‘Wha’ppen’.”
“A more frantic style is evident on songs like ‘Ranking Full Stop’, while his drumming on the likes of ‘Whine and Grine’ is superbly inventive, unlike many drummers Everett played the whole kit creating a tapestry of rhythm always evident on every Beat track.”
Morton was born in St Kitts and eventually moved to Birmingham in the 1960s where he attended drum school. Later, he played drums in his cousin’s band.
In 1978, he joined Dave Wakeling, David Steel and Andy Cox and Ranking Roger who formed The Beat in 1978.
They signed to Coventry’s 2-Tone Records and in 1979 hand chart success with ‘Tears Of A Clown/Ranking Full Stop’, which reached number six in the charts. Later, they set up their own record label, Go-Feet.
They released three albums during their first period together: ‘I Just Can’t Stop It’ (1980), ‘Wha’ppen?’ (1981) and ‘Special Beat Service’ (1982). Among their best-known songs are the likes of ‘Stand Down Margaret’, ‘Mirror In The Bathroom’ and ‘Drowning’.
Tributes from fans have poured in on social media following news of his passing – you can see some of these below.
We are deeply sad to announce we have lost another friend & brother today, Everett Morton. Everett was a humble & gentle man in life, but a dynamo on the drums. He was the beat of The Beat. We feel his loss tremendously. Our deepest condolence to his family. #RIPEverettMorton🕊️💔 pic.twitter.com/d99Y8NlfSM
— The English Beat (@TheEnglishBeat) October 8, 2021
Thanks for the polyrhytmns, thanks for the grooves,thanks for the memories of ska dancing at youth club discos,bye Everett thanks for coming #everettmorton #thebeat #theenglishbeat #mirrorinthebathroom #saveitforlater #ijustcantstopit #whappen #specialbeatservice 😪🎼🥁✌💜☮ pic.twitter.com/RDEmHMt8yk
— D. The Riverman (@RivermanNick) October 9, 2021
So sad to hear about the passing of Everett Morton, drummer of The Beat.
Sleep well brother x pic.twitter.com/1GzUlpz9oZ
— The Specials 2 (@thespecials2) October 8, 2021
The Beat were one of my favourite bands when I was growing up. A huge part of that was due to Everett Morton the drummer. Fabulous player. RIP Sir. Thank you for the music. pic.twitter.com/2i5Tf6ROqj
— Mr Benn (@therealmrbenn) October 9, 2021
— Michael Smiley (@mrmichaelsmiley) October 9, 2021
The Beat’s vocalist, Ranking Roger passed away in 2019 following a cancer diagnosis.
A post on The Beat’s Facebook page confirmed his passing at the time, which read: “He fought & fought & fought, Roger was a fighter.
“Roger’s family would like to thank everyone for their constant support during this tough time,” the post concluded.