Do The Blue Beat (The Jamaican Ska)
(Mark Barkan - Ben Raleigh)
New Zealand 1964
#6 Melbourne #21 Brisbane #12 Sydney [Top 40 Research] #3 Adelaide [5AD survey]

Label has Dinah Lee with Max Merritt And His Meteors.

Single on Viking (NZ). The Australian single on HMV was the B-side of Reet Petite, but in New Zealand the songs were released separately as A-sides.

Also released in USA on Interphon and in South Africa on Troubadour.

Top 40 Research's chart book, The Book, has this peaking at #12 in Sydney.

Powerful, energetic New Zealand singer known as 'The Dynamic' Dinah Lee, an admirer of Dee Dee Sharp and Millie Small, born Diane Jacobs in 1943. Her rocking versions of astutely chosen songs and her cutting-edge mod image made her extremely popular in New Zealand and Australia in the mid-60s. See the full account and appreciation at Milesago.

Jamaican singer Millie Small (My Boy Lollipop), who was much admired by Dinah Lee, was known as "The Blue Beat Girl". See the Millie Small page at 45-rpm.org.uk.

Phil Chapman points out a distinction between Blue Beat and Ska as he remembers it from the 60s Manchester (UK) scene:

There are lots of diverse theories online, and although I recall it being basically the same dance, Ska was generally a shuffle beat, whereas Blue Beat was a straight 4s rhythm (and often on the 'Blue Beat' label). Many variants evolved, termed such as Reggae, Lovers Rock, Rock Steady etc., but they can usually be traced back to those two basic rhythmic styles.

For a downloadable playlist of the Blue Beat phenomenon,
including some of the records listed on this page,
see session 263 -- ska light at Phil Milstein's Probe Is Turning-on The People!

Tchick Chang
(Mark Barkan - Ben Raleigh - Monty)
France 1964

French version of Do The Blue Beat on the Barclay label, with lyrics by pop singer-songwriter Monty (born Jacques Bulostin in 1943).

Reference: 1. Details and sleeve shot at Encyclopedisque.fr 2. Monty at fr.wikipedia.org.

Version alert from Mark Barkan.

Do The Blue Beat (The Jamaican Ska)
(Mark Barkan - Ben Raleigh)
USA 1964
Influential version

This was released more or less simultaneously with Mark Thatcher's single (see below). Ray Rivera's version was to have been the main event but Thatcher's, recorded as a demo for the song, ended up being released as well.

It's a close call for the absolute original, but Cash Box and Record World magazines both reviewed Thatcher's single on 6 June, a week before Rivera  was reviewed in Cash Box and Billboard on 13 June.


Single on RCA, produced and arranged by Claus Ogerman.

Ray Rivera recorded this and the B-side Joanie at the instigation of Claus Ogerman, even though this pop record was outside his usual jazz style. Co-writer Mark Barkan was also present at the session. Ray subsequently performed the song on Clay Cole's New York TV pop show.

Ray Rivera has had a long career performing and recording jazz [Amazon]. He is also a poet. 

See also Ciao Baby.

Do The Blue Beat (The Jamaican Ska) was copyrighted in 1964, also known as Blue Beat and Ma Bloopie (see version by Billy, below).

Written by veteran songwriters Mark Barkan and Ben Raleigh. Other Barkan-Raleigh collaborations include Lesley Gore's That's The Way Boys Are, She's A Fool and Just Let Me Cry.

The B-side, another Barkan-Raleigh song called Joanie, is also the B-side of Mark Thatcher's version.

Mark Barkan wrote Manfred Mann's hit Pretty Flamingo and Ben Raleigh co-wrote Judy Stone's 4,003,221 Tears From Now with Artie Wayne.

Further reading: 1. Into His Ninth Decade, Rivera Enjoys A Jazz Renaissance, The Brooklyn Ink, 18 August 2011. 2. Artie Wayne shares his memories of Ben Raleigh in a January 2005 post to the Spectropop discussion group. 4. Claus Ogerman at Wikipedia.

Ray Rivera's biography Ray's Tune: Music is My Thing is available at Amazon.com [link]

Thanks to Ray Rivera.

Do The Blue Beat (The Jamaican Ska)
(Mark Barkan - Ben Raleigh)
USA 1964
Original version

Original demo recording, also released as a single

Single on United Artists, produced by Jack Gold.

Do The Blue Beat was written by Barkan & Raleigh at the request of Claus Ogerman who wanted a song in the new blue beat style. Ogerman was the publisher, and he arranged and produced Ray Rivera's version (below).

Mark Thatcher was New York singer-songwriter Kenny Karen (b. Chaim Teicher, 1944), a prolific composer and recording artist, originally from Montreal. His career has included demos for major artists, thousands of jingles, and album releases under his own name.

The B-side, another Barkan-Raleigh song called Joanie, is also the B-side of Ray Rivera's version (below).

The Mark Thatcher and Ray Rivera singles were both released in June 1964.

See also under John Rowles - M'Lady.

Further reading:
1. Songwriter Mark Barkan's comment about Mark Thatcher-Kenny Karen at Artie Wayne's blog (scroll down to Responses).
2. KennyKaren.com
3. Chuck Benjamin's post about Sixteen Years Ago Tonight, Kenny Karen's 1962 Columbia single.
4. Update on the career of Mark Thatcher, The Canadian Jewish Chronicle, March 19, 1965: Columbia Record's new singing star Mark Thatcher, better known in Montreal as Chaim Teicher... [Google News Archive]

Thanks to Mark Barkan, Phil Milstein and Davie Gordon.


Later versions:

Do The Blue Beat
(Mark Barkan - Ben Raleigh)
South Africa 1965
Later version

Single on RCA (SA) label. Also recorded in 1965 by Virginia Lee for the Imperial album South African Tour Hits, recorded with Slim Whitman during his tour of South Africa.

Thank you to Tertius Louw at South Africa's Rock Files for identifying this version.

Do The Blue Beat
(Mark Barkan - Ben Raleigh)
South Africa 1965
Later version

Part of an instrumental medley by South African band leader, on CBS album Sounds Electronic ('27 Great Hits of 1965: Perfect For Dancing'), also on EP of same name.

Thanks to Tertius Louw.

Do The Blue Beat
(Mark Barkan - Ben Raleigh)
Spain 1965
Later version

Instrumental track on EP Do The Blue Beat on Phillips label.

Los Sonor: Mid-60s instrumental band that merged with Mike & the Runaways to form Los Bravos (Black Is Black).

Thank you to Julio Nino for identifying this version through Spectropop Group.

Ma Bloopie
(Mark Barkan - Ben Raleigh [+ French lyricist?])
France 1984
Later version

French-language version of Do The Blue Beat (The Jamaican Ska) by popular juvenile singer born Laurent Bitan in 1972.

Further reading: More about le petit chanteur de Rockabilly at Stars-Oubliee. See also the Billy page at Bide et Musique.

Blue Beat
(Neil Levenson - Steve Duboff)
USA 1963
Red herring

Similar title but not the same song as "Do The Blue Beat" by Dinah Lee.

Unreleased recording by New Jersey doo-wop group. Produced for the Rust label by the writers, Neil Levenson and Steve Duboff.

Neil Levenson wrote Denise (Randy & the Rainbows, recorded as Denis by Blondie).

Steve Duboff (1941-2004) co-wrote The Rain, The Park And Other Things and We Can Fly (The Cowsills). He also co-wrote and recorded (with Artie Kornfield, as The Changin' Times) Pied Piper, the original version of the Crispian St Peters hit. See also The La De Das' How Is The Air Up There.

Further reading: Steve Duboff page at the Bon-aires' website.

Thanks to Mike Paladino, who sang lead on Blue Beat, for his help with this one. Thanks also to Brian Lee at Color Radio.

Blue Beat
(Jerry Kennedy)
USA 1964
Red herring

Similar title but not the same song as "Do The Blue Beat" by Dinah Lee.

Single on Smash label, instrumental by country guitarist and Mercury Records executive.

Thanks to Andrew Jones for clearing this one up.

The Blue Beat
(Harris - Stapleton)
UK 1964
Red herring

Similar title but not the same song as "Do The Blue Beat" by Dinah Lee.

Single on Decca label.

Band from Ipswich, UK, whose members included Chris Farlowe. They were produced by orchestra leader Cyril Stapleton (1917-1974).

References, further reading1. Album review at All Music. 2. Beazers at All Music. (Those two All Music pages are contradictory about whether the Beazers were Farlowe's band The Thunderbirds or a previous band of his.) 3. Cyril Stapleton biography at The Robert Farnon Society website.

Thanks to honeydhont.

Blue Beat
(Tony Rendall [Louis van Rijmenant] - M. Pike)
Belgium 1965
Red herring

Similar title but not the same song as 'Do The Blue Beat' by Dinah Lee.

Single by Belgian pop singer in the Sandie Shaw mould, who had some European success in the mid-60s before marrying and migrating to the US in 1970. The song is co-written by Arcade Records executive Louis van Rijmenant, using the name Tony Rendall.

Thanks to Dave Monroe. Background from honeydhont.

Le Blue Beat
(Harris - Stapleton [+ French lyricist?])
Canada 1966
Red herring

Similar title but not the same song as "Do The Blue Beat" by Dinah Lee.

Single on Elysee label by Quebecoise singer, a version of The Beazers' Blue Beat. The B-side was Dansons Le Blue Beat.

Thanks to Dave Monroe for red herring alert (via Spectropop).

Corrections or comments? Contact the writer.