SONGS AND ALBUMS FROM THE 80S
By Mark Nobes
Formed in 1976 during the 2 Tone and Ska revival, Madness came from Camden Town in London. In 2009, the band performed with their most recognised line-up of seven members, and released a new album The Liberty Of Norton Folgate.
Madness were most successful in the early to mid 1980s. They spent 214 weeks on the UK singles charts over the course of the decade, holding the record for most weeks spent by a group in the 1980s UK singles charts, along with UB40. However, Madness achieved this in a shorter time period (1980–1986).
Madness Studio Album Discography
- 1979: One Step Beyond... (UK #2)
- 1980: Absolutely (UK #2)
- 1981: 7 (UK #5)
- 1982: The Rise & Fall (UK #10)
- 1984: Keep Moving (UK #6)
- 1985: Mad not Mad (UK #16)
- 1999: Wonderful (UK #17)
- 2005: The Dangermen Sessions Vol.1 (UK #11)
- 2009: The Liberty of Norton Folgate (UK #5)
- 2012: Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da (UK #10)
- 2016: Can't Touch Us Now (UK #5)
"ONE STEP BEYOND" (1979)
The title track was released in October 1979 as the second single and is very often the opener at Madness concerts. It is actually a cover of an instrumental track by Prince Buster - he is a Jamaican singer/songwiter who was heavily involved in the Ska movement which started in the 1950's- and featured on the B-side of his song Al Capone.
The intro on is spoken by the band's trumpet player and backing singer Chas Smash. The line "Don't Watch That, Watch This" is also from a Prince Buster song called "The Scorcher".
"One Step Beyond" reached No.7 in the UK singles chart, and also did well in France and Switzerland where it reached No.1 and No.3 respectively.
"My Girl" was the group's third single release and reached No.3 in the UK singles chart. A reissue in 1992 to promote their compilation album Divine Madness reached #27
"Baggy Trousers" was released by Madness in 1980 as the lead single from the album Absolutely. Released on September 5th 1980, the song became a big autumnal hit here in Britain, peaking at No.3.
Now this one was very popular at the school disco, and the video is best-remembered for the moment when the group's saxophone player, Lee Thompson, is seen flying in the air whilst playing his solo.
The Rise & Fall (1982)
If you watched the 2012 Diamond Jubilee celebrations then you will remember that live performance of this song which featured a brilliant light show, in which the palace was transformed into terraced housing and a dolls house, along with many other imaginative projections.
Madness Stand-Alone Singles
"Driving In My Car" was released on 24th July 1982 as the band's twelfth single (before "Our House"), and spent eight weeks in the UK charts. It peaked at No.4 in July 1982. The lyrics refer to a Morris Minor that the band used to drive earlier on in their career before hitting the big time, and which also featured in the video.
Keep Moving (1984)
Mad Not Mad (1985)
"WAITING FOR THE GHOST TRAIN" (1986)
With its haunting anti-apartheid lyrics, this was a very decent song to be ending a successful musical career with. Written by frontman Suggs, the lyrics criticise the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for supporting the Apartheid regime, and also attack Queen (the band) for performing in South Africa.
Madness reformed in 1992 after a six year break.