7 of the best ever songs by Madness

30 December 2018, 21:44

Madness
Madness. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Madness were one of the biggest groups of the 1980s.

The ska band from Camden Town scored 14 UK top 10 singles, and released many catchy songs that have stood the test of time.

Here are just a handful to make for your perfect Madness playlist:

  1. 'It Must Be Love'

    Labi Siffre first released this song as a soul ballad in 1971, before Madness released a more famous cover 10 years later.

    One of their most popular songs, this quirky little love song was a number four hit. In a nice touch, Labi Siffre makes a cameo in the music video.

  2. 'One Step Beyond'

    This was originally a B-side for Prince Buster back in 1984, and Madness updated it for new audiences in 1979.

    Chris Smash provided the song's iconic spoken intro: "Hey, don't watch that, watch this..."

  3. 'Our House'

    This was Madness' biggest hit in the US, reaching number seven in 1982.

    The song provided the title of the official Madness musical, which was a West End hit in 2002.

  4. 'Baggy Trousers'

    Lead singer Suggs co-wrote this ode to schooldays with Chris Foreman.

    He later said: "I was very specifically trying to write a song in the style of Ian Dury, especially the songs he was writing then, which [were] often sort of catalogues of phrases in a constant stream."

  5. 'House of Fun'

    This provided Madness' only number one single in the UK in 1982.

    The song is about coming of age, and tell the story of a boy on his 16th birthday trying to buy condoms at a chemist. As, the UK age of consent is 16, he says that he is "16 today and up for fun".

    However, the boy is misunderstood by the chemist, as he asks for the condoms using slang phrases, such as "box of balloons with a featherlight touch" and "party hats with the coloured tips". The confused chemist tells the boy that the shop is not a joke shop, and directs him towards the 'House of Fun'.

  6. 'My Girl'

    This track was taken from Madness' debut album One Step Beyond in 1979.

    It was written by Mike Barson for his then-girlfriend Kerstin Rodgers. Barson wrote a follow-up, 'My Girl 2' in 2012.

  7. 'Driving in My Car'

    This classic song about love for a motor was yet another top 20 hit in the UK in 1982.

    Fun fact: The members of fellow ska group Fun Boy Three make a brief appearance in the video.

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