Madness originates from Camden, London. Alongside The Specials, they became the leaders of the two-tone ska movement in the U.K. during the late 70s and early 80s.
Following the formation in 1976, the first three years were spent arguing, hiring and firing various members, changing names a few times, and most importantly, holding down a regular gig at the Dublin Castle in Camden. A top tip for any band that wants to get somewhere, get a residency!
In 1979, the debut album is released on Stuff Records. Named One Step Beyond, it did well in the charts as it reached #2. Notable tunes were the title track and My Girl, both entering the top 10.
A year later, the follow-up arrives in Absolutely. Here we find their first classic, Baggy Trousers, which spent 20 weeks in the charts, peaking at #3.
In 1981, the next studio album, 7, arrives and for some reason, one of their most successful tunes of all time isn’t on it. Instead, It Must Be Love is released a month after the album as a single only.
Perhaps this was down to It Must Be Love not being an original composition but a cover, originally released in 1971 by Labi Siffre.
The album (7), could have done with it as no significant other tunes can be found on this release. The label must have realized this as It Must Be Love was included in the Spanish and Australian versions of 7.
Their next release, Complete Madness (1982) was a Greatest Hits album. Here we get all previously mentioned tunes, as well as another classic, House Of Fun. This would go on to become Madness’s only #1 single in the U.K.
Their next release also came in 1982 and would be hailed as their best album by the press. Named The Rise & Fall, it was more eclectic in style and had another great tune on it in Our House. Reaching the top 10 in many countries, Our House also collected an Ivor Novello for best song in 1983.
Following this release, the band hasn’t released any studio albums with original material that had any significant impact. Instead, they’d go on to release several greatest hits and live albums.
Perhaps by now, Madness was so well established that keeping the show going wasn’t too difficult. They are still active, playing festivals, touring, and releasing more albums. The latest came in 2016, aptly named Can’t Touch Us Now.
Madness tunes | Related pages
It Must Be Love
| Am | Amadd9/E | Am | Amadd9/E | G | Gsus4 | G | G G# |
I never thought I’d miss you, half as much as I do.
| Am | Amadd9/E | Am | Amadd9/E | G | Gsus4 | G | C D |
And I never thought I’d feel this way, the way I feel, about you.
| C | Gm |
Father wears his Sunday best.
| Dm | Fm |
Mother’s tired she needs a rest, the kids are playing up downstairs.