The Beat was founded by Paul Collins, the step-son of a civilian father attached to the US military, who spent his pre-teens living in Greece, Vietnam and Europe before returning to his native New York.
He studied at the prestigious Julliard Music School and eventually moved to San Francisco where he hooked up with songwriter Jack Lee and bassist Peter Case to form The Nerves in 1974.
The Nerves proved to be one of the pioneers of the burgeoning US punk rock scene, releasing their own four-song EP which included the classic Hanging on a Telephone, later to become a hit for Blondie.
Moving to Los Angeles after The Nerves broke up, Collins met bassist Steve Huff, drummer Mike Ruiz and Lead Guitarist Larry Whitman and they named themselves The Beat in homage to The Beatles.
By mid-1979, their friend Eddie Money recommended them for management to legendary concert promoter Bill Graham and The Beat toured with The Police, The Jam and Joe Jackson. They also made numerous TV appearances.
In the spring they recorded their debut self-titled album with producer Bruce Botnick (who had produced The Doors). The album featured Byrds-influenced guitars and catchy choruses and defined the skinny-tied power pop which The Knack took to the charts.
Unfortunately, coming on the heels of the backlash accorded to The Knack, and with radio still mostly resistant to the new wave of bands, The Beat were never able to penetrate the Top 40 and the group sadly fell through the cracks between disco and dinosaur rock.
In order to avoid confusion with the British ska band also called The Beat, the band were known outside the US as The Paul Collins Beat.