In Britain, General Public had a minor hit with the eponymous track called "General Public", which reached #60. The band fared better in North America, where their second single "Tenderness" was a top 40 hit in Canada (#11), and the U.S. (#27). Wakeling and Roger's previous band, The Beat, were stars in the UK but never had any top 40 hits in the US or Canada. The track "Tenderness" was featured in the film Clueless (1995) and is used over the final credits.
For the follow-up album, White and Stoker were replaced by brothers Gianni and Mario Minardi on guitar and drums, respectively. Despite featuring a track from the soundtrack to Weird Science, Hand to Mouth (1986) was significantly less successful than the debut album, and the band soon split up.
Roger and Wakeling worked on various solo projects for the next few years, before reuniting in 1994 to perform a cover of The Staple Singers hit "I'll Take You There" for the Threesome soundtrack. The song, credited to General Public, was a surprise top 40 hit in the US and Canada, and a minor hit (#73) in the UK.
The duo (now the only members of General Public) stayed together to release the album Rub It Better in 1995, recorded with the aid of producer Jerry Harrison. But sales were dismal, and Roger was tired of the grind of touring, so they soon broke up again.
Beginning in 2000, Dave Wakeling began calling his backing band alternately either General Public or The English Beat. He then toured (mostly in North America) as either "The English Beat featuring Dave Wakeling" or "Dave Wakeling & General Public". Aside from Wakeling, this new backing band featured no original members of The (English) Beat or General Public, although reportedly Ranking Roger and other Beat members turned up as guest performers at a handful of shows.
Wakeling and Roger reunited again in 2005 when The Beat officially reformed.