intro When we formed the band in 1979 we had no idea how long it would last and how successful we would be. After seven years however, it was all over. Thanks to the current trend for re-packaging old material and the advent of C.D.'s and other such "new" formats, we recently found ourselves once again back in the charts and the public eye. Perhaps people who had originally bought the records were buying them for their C.D. players, or because the old vinyl copies had worn out. Whatever the reason, it was very pleasing to us, so much so that we actually got together and played some concerts. This set covers all our singles and their B-sides in one easy to keep collection. We always had a pride in b-sides and always strived to make sure they were not available anywhere else except on the B-sides of singles (which, when we started were 7" vinyl form only). A lot of these songs have not been listened to by some of us since we recorded them. We have tried our utmost to ensure that the presentation of this project is in the best possible taste and is informative, interesting and nice to look at. As of this week (September 20th 1993) the band are getting together once more to throw a few ideas around and maybe come up with some new songs in the process. If we don't succeed then the results will never be heard. If we do...
May 3rd: The tories win the General Election. Mrs Thatcher becomes the
first woman Prime Minister and begins her reign of terror.
madness Suggs bought a scratched version of Madness along to a rehearsal and we put it in our set. We were called the Invaders, but another band withthat name came along who had a major deal, and Mike had the bright idea of calling us Morris and the Minors and no one dared to argue with him as he owned the Morris van that we used. However one day whilst discussing this sad name someone said "let's pick a song from the set" I replied "Oh, yeah; like Madness". And the rest is, as they say...
mistakes Mistakes was one of the first songs we ever wrote, therefore it is a quite significant piece of work from the Madness cannon. It only has two chords. However, you can find a few more in the middle eight.
nutty theme Another early work which we played a lot live. It was supposed to be our theme tune and it was for a while. We were going for the style of the 'Steptoe and Son' theme tune, (an important influence to be under).
December 8th: John Lennon is shot and killed outside his home in The Dakota
Buildings, New York.
embarrassment Mike and Lee had written embarrassment before an English tour so we played it and baggy trousers live a few times before recording them. As they were both successful, a theory developed that we had to play songs live to make them hits.
baggy trousers I was really proud to have finally written something that was going to be a single and we knew baggy trousers was going to be a big hit. However, when asked by Stiff who the authors were Suggs said "Chris, Mike and me". So when I finally saw the label my look of joy turned a bit sour. Not just for egotistic reasons but the deadly thought that somewhere amongst the labyrinthine accounts system some of my royalties might find their way into Mikes' massive coffers. It is a thought that haunts me still. I'm sure Mike would return any money that wasn't his though...
crying shame Crying shame, great guitar solo. I was going for a mexican tijuana type feeland I quite surprised myself. In those days you had to get in quick with a solo or Thommo and Mike would be all over th shop.
the business The business was also known as 'Take It Or Leave It'. This is an instrumental version of that song. But you knew that already didn't you?
July 29: Charles and Lady Diana Spencer get Married at St Paul's. The
nuptials are viewed by a T.V. audience of 750 million.
it must be love We were doing a session for Radio I which was always a good reason to try out new material. However, on this occasion we found ourselves a bit short. Mike had just heard the Labi Siffre version of it must be love on the radio so we spent some time trying to learn it. We didn't actually do it on the session but we started to play it live on tour. Dave Robinson was so eager to release it that he booked us into a studio mid-tour which didn't really work out, but we finished it off eventually.
shut up Shut up was supposed to be a bit like Slade and for the video I wanted a guitar I had seen in a shop that was shaped like a gun (the guitar not the shop). However, it was unavailable and I ended up with a 'Super-Yob' guitar, with one carefull previous owner, only 2,000 riffs on the clock. Come on down Dave Hill of Slade! The video was seen by Marco from Adam and the Ants and he eventually bought the guitar.
house of fun House of fun was another gem from Lee and Mike, the lyrics inspired in part by a scene in the film Summer of '42 where one of the protagonists has to buy some condoms for the first time. On perusal of the lyrics we could tell the subject matter, but we decided not to mention it in interviews before it was released for fear of getting banned. Of course about two days before it came out, Woody explained the whole theme of the song in Rcord Mirror. Oh, how we laughed!
don't look back Don't look back was nod in the direction of chinless white funk. The lyrics weren't much cop. But there was a great Chic inspired one-note guitar solo!
May: 1,00 pound coins become legal tender and wheel clamping is introduced
the sun and the rain When we did the video for the sun and the rain Lee had the idea of an exploding piano. So we got the Stiff carpenter to make a balsa wood one. He was up all night and ready to drop when the fruit of his labours were destroyd in 2.5 seconds, right in front of him. We filmed it in slow motion thought, so he could examin his craftmanship in great detail. A right good old time Madness foot stomper, this still has them rolling in the aisles.
fireball xl5 Fireball xl5 demoed round my house on my trusty 4-Track this was then recorded at Pathway (where we made our first single) and it's the reason Lee wears that Rocket pack in the Sun and the Rain video.
behind the eight ball Lock us in the studio for 24 hours to do a b-side and this is what you get.
February 14th: Public warned to stay away from contaminated beaches near
michael caine Rather like "Wings of a Dove" Carl had the idea of a song called michael caine. Then he heard some music Woody played him.
sarah Recorded at our own studio, Liquidator. This was going to be about Sarah Tidsall and the GCHQ scandal, but Lee never finished the lyrics.
guns The first entire song I ever wrote i.e. words and music. A gigantic artistic struggle which produced this. The lyric came after reading that there were 4 guns to every person (or something) in Texas, with a little something about arms race in the Reagan era.
victoria gardens Victoria gardens was going to be a single but Dave Robinson (Stiff M.D.) changed his mind which was unusual and marked the end of a truly beautiful relationship with Stiff records.
one better day Mark had a set of very emotive chords which instantaneously produced these lyrics in my mind which Mike wove together with an on the spot melody. By the way the title refers to the phrase "He's seen better days.". "One of the last and best songs that we all worked on together before Mike left."
May 29th: 38 fans die during crowd trouble at European Cup final between
Liverpool and Juventus held at Heysel Stadium.
yesterday's men By now, every one in the band was writing stuff and most of us were using keyboards. Chris borrowed one of those casio one finger bassline type things and wrote this on it. As soon as he'd finished he knew it was just right for Suggs and we polished it off in no time, once again using his 4-Track. The demo ended up on the 12".
all I knew Something of the mystifying realisation that the more well read/bolder I (Suggs) became, the more confused/stupid I felt.
April 26th: Major incidents occurs at Chernobyl nuclear power station near
Kiev. Radiation evels soar throughout Europe.
sweetest girl Originally performed by Scritti Pollitti, this cover version was suggested by Sugg's and before you knew it became a top 50 smah which would have been plenty for a new band but wasn't good enough for us? We hadn't really intended it to be a single and wanted to release 'I'll compete'. But it's no good complaining now!
(waiting for) the ghost train One dark night we developed this dark song that Suggs had written in our studio and before you knew it, we had roped in Mike to re-record the last Madness single ever, seven years after the first.
exit IT WAS 1986 AND THE BAND THAT BEGAN AS AN IDEA OF MIKES HAD COME A LONG WAY SINCE WE ALL FIRST MET SOME HOW WE ALL NEEDED MADNESS IT WAS OUR THING OUR PLACE ALL THE WORDS IN ALL THE SONGS ALL THE CONVERSATIONS THE PEOPLE WE MET PEOPLE WE HURT THE ONES WE HELPED THE ONES WHO ARE NO LONGER WITH US SHALL NEVER FORGET EVERYONE OF US HAS PUT SO MUCH OF THEMSELVES INTO MADNESS THAT FOR US IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PUT INTO WORDS HOW WE FEEL ABOUT IT AND EACH OTHER OUR PATHS HAVE CROSSED AND OVER THE YEARS HOW WE HAVE TOUCHED AND INFLUENCED EACH OTHER GOODBEY GOD BLESS AND SEE YOU ALL VERY SOON