Everett Morton, drummer for The (English) Beat, has died at 71. The new came via The Beat's Facebook, and they simply wrote, "It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of Everett Morton, a beautiful and talented man."

Part of the new wave of UK ska that emerged in the late '70s, The Beat were unique among the bands who released records on 2-Tone, pulling from a wider range of influences, including nervy post-punk, disco, '60s pop and more, with each of the band's members bringing a distinct element to the group. Morton had a unique syncopated style, making great use of polyrhythms, that stood out from almost all other music of the time, ska or otherwise. Classics like "Mirror in the Bathroom," "Twist and Crawl," and their cover of Smokey Robinson's "Tears of a Clown" (their debut single, on 2-Tone) would not sound like what they do without Morton and while The Beat's sound grew and changed across three very different albums, he remained crucial. In all senses of the word, he put the beat in The Beat.

Rest in peace, Everett. Watch Everett in action with The Beat, and read tributes from The Specials, UB40 and more, below.

The Beat's Ranking Roger died in 2019; Saxa died in 2017.

The Beat's 1980 debut, I Just Can't Stop It, made our list of 64 Essential Ska Albums from 1964 to Present .