Madness (band)

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Album cover of One Step Beyond
Madness were a British ska band of the 1980s.

The band was formed in London, England in 1976, by Mike Barson (Monsieur Barso) on keyboards and vocals, Chris Foreman (Chrissy Boy) on guitar and Lee Thompson (Kix) on saxophone and vocals under the name The North London Invaders. In 1978 they were joined by frontman Graham McPherson (Suggs) on vocals, Mark Bedford (Bedders) on bass guitar, Carl Smyth (Chas Smash) on trumpet and vocals and Daniel Woodgate (Woody) on drums. After performing periodically as The Invaders the group changed their name to Madness.

The band's first single, released in 1979 on The Specials' 2 Tone label, was "The Prince". The song was a tribute to the Jamaican ska musician Prince Buster, whose single, "Madness", the band had named themselves after. This was followed by the album One Step Beyond in 1979, which stayed in the British charts for over a year, peaking at number 2. One Step Beyond was released on Stiff Records, which became the band's recording label. The band released 24 singles and eight albums (including two compilation albums) in the UK.

The band's first 20 singles all made it into the UK top 20 but Madness had limited achievement in the US, with two singles ("Our House" reaching #7 and "It Must Be Love" reaching #33) and a compilation album, Madness. This was perhaps a result of their quirky style, and the limited marketplace for ska in the US.

Following the 1984 departure of the main songwriter Mike Barson, the group split in 1986. Carl Smyth, Lee Thompson, Chris Foreman and vocalist Suggs formed a new band under the similar name of The Madness and released a self-titled album in 1988, achieving relatively little success. Two singles ("I Pronounce You", which reached #44 and "What's That", which failed to chart) failed to keep the momentum going and the band split.

However, all seven original members reformed in 1992 when a repackaged greatest hits compilation Divine Madness reached #1 in the UK album charts and a re-released Labi Siffre's "It Must Be Love" made it to #6. This generated enough media hype for an open air concert to take place at Finsbury Park, entitled "Madstock". The show was an enormous success - so much so that further "Madstocks" were held in 1994, 1996 and 1998 along with regular Christmas tours and other live appearances. The band released a brand new album in 1999, entitled Wonderful and entered the UK Top 10 with their first single from the album, "Lovestruck". A further two singles were released, "Johnny The Horse" and "Drip Fed Fred", (a collaboration with long time friend Ian Dury (of Ian Dury & The Blockheads fame)) both failing to reach the top 40.

In 2002 a collection of Madness songs were adapted into a stage musical called Our House in London's West End.

Many American 3rd generation ska bands such as No Doubt and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones cite Madness (the so-called Camden "Nutty Boys") as a major influence in their music.

The original seven members still perform periodically as Madness.


External links

fr:Madness ja:マッドネス


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