Great Moments In Pop – The 70s Part 6.

This is a British group who were one of the biggest successes on the chart throughout the 80s. Although their story is well-known, I have decided to feature them to reveal some of my highlights, and how I got into them. Madness (or “The Nutty Boys”) were a septet who started out making Ska music, which was usually done in a rather lively and charismatic style.

In September 1979 they had their first hit single with “The Prince” (when frontman Suggs was still only 18), and this was followed in November 1979 by “One Step Beyond”, which was their first Top Ten hit single. Many more would then follow, as they went on to release a very long run of popular singles throughout the early-80s, rarely being absent from the chart during this time.

Among the best of these for me were “Baggy Trousers”, “Driving In My Car”, and “Our House”. But it was just about all over for them by the late-80s. But I first really came across Madness in 1992, which turned out to be their most high-profile year for a while. In February 1992, their cover of “It Must Be Love” was re-released, and became a Top Ten hit for a second time, the first being back in 1981.

This was in anticipation of their best-of album being released, along with the original septet getting back together for the first time in a while to play some special concerts. In April 1992 “House Of Fun” (which was their first and only chart-topper) was also re-released, and reached no. 40 (and this was also used as the theme to some of the later editions of Noel’s House Party).

There was a third re-release in August 1992 when “My Girl” reached no. 27. They then finished off this year with a new single, when “The Harder They Come” reached no. 44. But there would be one more re-release, when in February 1993 “Night Boat To Cairo” reached no. 56. It all went rather quiet again after this, as Suggs went off to concentrate on his successful solo career for a few years (and also get into TV hosting).

But they eventually returned (and their careers were now at the point where every new single and album, however shortly it came after the previous one, was described as a “comeback”) in July 1999, when “Lovestruck” reached no. 10, to become yet another Top Ten hit single (and their final one to date). A lot of people were very pleased to have them back, and felt that their songs were as good as they ever were.

They went on to have a small amount of further hit singles throughout the 2000s decade, including “Shame And Scandal”, “Sorry”, and “NW5”, along with more acclaimed albums (and appearing in the occasional advert for fish fingers). They are now at the point where most members occasionally get back together to tour the hit singles once again, but so many are classics that people will always enjoy it.

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