Madness is unquestionably the band that spearheaded the Ska movement
of the late '70s and early '80s, becoming one of Britain's best loved
groups; initially formed as a trio in London, ENGLAND, in 1976 by keyboardist
+ vocalist Mike 'Monsieur Barso' Barson, guitarist Chris 'Chrissy Boy'
Foreman and saxophonist + vocalist Lee 'Kix' Thompson, they performed
for a while under the name The Invaders.
Two years later the band expanded its line-up with the addition of lead singer Graham 'Suggs' McPherson, bass player Mark 'Bedders' Bedford, trumpeter Carl 'Chas Smash' Smyth and drummer Daniel 'Woody' Woodgate, eventually changing their name to Madness.
The band's debut single, "The Prince", a tribute to the Ska musician Prince Buster, reached the #16 spot on the Official U.K. Pop chart.
During 1979 Madness signed a deal with Stiff Records and recorded their
debut album, "One Step Beyond..." which eventually enjoyed over
one-year chart run in Great Britain, peaking at #2 and spawning a couple
of top 10 hits such as the title-track and "My Girl".
In the U.S. "One Step Beyond..." made a mid-chart appearance peaking only at #128 and the album's title-cut gained modest club success.
Their second effort, "Absolutely", released in late 1980, was a smashing success, spawning no less than three British top 10 hit singles, including the #3 "Baggy Trousers", "Embarrassment" and "The Return Of The Los Palmas 7"; the album rose to #2 in the U.K. and the group again scored little success in America, "Absolutely" didn't rise higher than #146 on the U.S. Top 200 LPs & Tapes chart.
One year later, Madness churned out its third album, "Seven",
hitting the top 5 in their native England; it featured two top 10 hits
"Grey Day" and "Shut Up", plus a top 20 single, "Cardiac
During 1981 the band had one more top 5 hit with the cover song "It Must Be Love"; "House Of Fun" followed a few months later, this was their first #1 on the National U.K. Pop Singles chart and both these tracks were eventually featured on the 1982's compilation "Complete Madness".
November 1981 saw the release of the single "Driving In My Car", the track peaked at #4 in U.K. and became part of the soundtrack of the film "Party Party".
The group's fourth album of all-new-material, arrived in the summer of 1982, "Presents The Rise & Fall" cracked the top 10 in U.K. spawning two singles, the top 10 hit "Tomorrow's Just Another Day" and the top 5 smash "Our House", which also crashed into the top 10 of the Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks and soared to the #7 position on the Pop Singles chart becoming their biggest stateside hit. The single's success helped to propel the U.S. compilation "Madness" to #41 on the Pop Albums chart and the single "It Must Be Love" also proved to be an American Top 40 hit.
By early 1984 the band had released another album, "Keep Moving", reaching #6 in Britain and the #109 position on The Billboard Top 200 chart; the first single, "Wings Of A Dove", missed the top slot by one place and its follow-up, "The Sun And The Rain", peaked at #5 in U.K. and reached #72 on The Billboard Hot 100. The album included two more British top 20 hit singles, "Michael Caine" and "One Better Day", both of those were recorded as a sextet, following the departure of the main songwriter, Mike Barson.
Wanting to make a clean break from all its ties, the band's next step
was to set their own record label; the U.K. top 20 hit single "Yesterday's
Men" was the first release on their new Zarjazz Records; the second
single, "Uncle Sam", reached #21 and their sixth LP, "Mad
Not Mad", hit #16 on the Official U.K. Pop Albums chart.
The group split in September 1986, following the release of the top 20 single "(Waiting For) The Ghost Train" and the lackluster sales of their latest album.
Four of the band's original members got together two years later to form The Madness, they released an eponymous album to little fanfare and soon after they disbanded for the second time.
The band has reformed with various members at various points since then to perform at concerts such as 1992's Glastonbury Festival and their own series of reunion concerts, christened "Madstock", the first of which featured performance by Morrissey as well as Ian Dury & The Blockheads; that year the greatest hits compilation "Divine Madness" climbed to the top spot on the U.K. Albums chart.
After 13 years, six singles collections, five "Madstock" reunion concerts, two live CDs and two box sets, the newly reunited, 'The Magnificent 7' celebrated their 20th anniversary with the release of 1999's "Wonderful", their first new album since "Mad Not Mad"; the record cracked the top 20 of the British Albums chart and included the top 10 hit single "Lovestruck" plus "Drip Fed Fred", recorded in collaboration with long time friend Ian Dury.
In August 2005 Madness released their first studio album in 6 years; however "The Dangermen Sessions Volume 1", which fell just shy of reaching the British top 10, wasn't just another Madness album, the 15-song set was a predominately a collection of Ska covers and a few classic tunes. It incuded the U.K. top 40 single "Shame And Scandal".
May 2009 saw the Ska-Pop survivors enter at #5 on the British Albums
chart with "The Liberty Of Norton Folgate";
the disc notched a brilliant hit single with "Dust Devil".
Shortly thereafter bass player Mark Bedford left the group and was replaced by Graham Bush.
Madness issued its tenth studio album, "Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da", in October 2012. It contains the single "Death Of A Rude Boy".