Today's artists are an English ska band from Camden Town, London, that formed in 1976. One of the most prominent bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s 2 Tone ska revival, they continue to perform with their most recognised line-up of seven members. They achieved most of their success in the early to mid-1980s. Both Madness and UB40 spent 214 weeks on the UK singles charts over the course of the decade, holding the record for most weeks spent by a group in the 1980s UK singles charts. However, Madness achieved this in a shorter time period (1980–1986)..... ....N'Joy
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Along with the Specials, Madness were one of the leading bands of the ska revival of the late '70s and early '80s. As their career progressed, Madness branched away from their trademark "nutty sound" and incorporated large elements of Motown, soul, and British pop. Although the band managed one crossover American hit in 1983, they remained a British phenomenon, influencing several successive generations of musicians and becoming one of the most beloved groups the country produced during the '80s.
The origins of Madness lie in a ska group known as the Invaders, which was formed by Mike Barson, Chris Foreman, and Lee Thompson in 1976. By 1978, the band had changed their name to Morris and the Minors and had added Graham "Suggs" McPherson, Mark Bedford, Chas Smash, and Dan Woodgate to the group. Later in 1978, they changed their name to Madness, in homage to one of their favorite Prince Buster songs. The following year, Madness released their debut single, a tribute to Prince Buster entitled "The Prince," on Two-Tone. The song was a surprise success, reaching the British Top 20. Following its success, the band signed a record contract with Stiff Records and released another Prince Buster song, "One Step Beyond," which climbed to number seven.
One Step Beyond...Madness quickly recorded their debut album, also titled One Step Beyond, with producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley. Released toward the end of the year, the album peaked at number two in Britain and it stayed on the charts for well over a year. At the beginning of 1980, the band's third single, "My Girl," peaked at number three. For the next three years, the group had a virtually uninterrupted run of 13 Top Ten singles, during which time they were one of the most popular bands in Britain, rivaled only by the Jam in terms of widespread popularity. Where the Jam appealed to teenagers and young adults, Madness had a broad fan base, reaching from children to the elderly. Which didn't mean their music was diluted -- they continued to expand their sound, both musically and lyrically.
Absolutely In the spring of 1980, Madness released the Work Rest and Play EP, which reached number six on the strength of the EP's lead song, "Night Boat to Cairo." Also during the spring, One Step Beyond was released in the United States, where it peaked at 128. Madness' second album, Absolutely, was released in the fall of 1980. The record peaked at number two on the British charts, but it stalled at number 146, in the U.S. Sire dropped the band after the commercial disappointment of Absolutely, leaving Madness without an American record contract for several years.
Back in England, Madness continued to gain momentum, as the group began playing matinee shows on their tours so children under 16 years old could attend the concert. In the fall of 1981, the band released their third album, Seven, which peaked at number five. In January of 1982, Madness hit number four with a cover of Labi Siffre's "It Must Be Love." In March, their streak of Top Ten hits was interrupted when "Cardiac Arrest" stalled at number 14 on the charts, due to radio's reluctance to play the tune. The band bounced back a few months later with "House of Fun," their first number one single. That same month, the hits compilation, Complete Madness, reached number one.
Madness Presents the Rise & FallMadness returned in the late summer of 1982 with The Rise and Fall, their full-fledged shift to pop. Like their previous albums, it was a British hit, reaching the Top Ten, but it also contained the seeds of their brief American success with the Top Five British single "Our House." The single was released in America on the group's new label, Geffen, and it received heavy airplay from MTV. The music-video television network had previously played the videos for "House of Fun," "It Must Be Love," and "Cardiac Arrest" when the band's albums were unreleased in the United States, thereby setting the stage for "Our House" to become a massive hit. With "Our House," Madness had MTV exposure coincide with a record release for the first time, which sent the single into the American Top Ten in the summer of 1983. The success of the single brought the U.S. compilation album, Madness, to number 41. Madness managed one more American Top 40 hit that fall, when "It Must Be Love" peaked at number 33.
Keep Moving At the end of 1983, Mike Barson -- the band's key songwriter -- left the group to settle down with his wife. Although Madness was able to stay near the top of the charts with their first post-Barson release, "Michael Caine," the band's fortunes began to decline over the course of 1984. Upon its release in the spring, Keep Moving hit number six on the British charts; in America, the record reached number 109. In June, the group released its final single for Stiff Records, "One Better Day," which peaked at number 17. In the fall, Madness formed their own record label, Zarjazz. They released "Yesterday's Men," their first recording on Zarjazz, in September of 1985, nearly a year after the label's formation. The record peaked at number 18 and its parent album, Mad Not Mad, reached number 16 upon its October release. Their chart decline continued early in 1986, when their cover of Scritti Politti's "Sweetest Girl" peaked at number 35. For most of 1986, the group was quiet. In September, Madness announced they were disbanding. Two months later, their farewell single, "Waiting for the Ghost Train," was released, charting at number 18.
After staying dormant for a year-and-a-half, the group reunited at the beginning of 1988 as a quartet called the Madness, releasing its comeback single, "I Pronounce You," in March. The Madness featured Chris Foreman, Lee Thompson, Chas Smash, and Suggs, and was augmented by the Specials' keyboardists Jerry Dammers and Steve Nieve, and Bruce Thomas (bass) of the Attractions. "I Pronounce You" reached number 44 on the U.K. charts and its accompanying album stiffed upon its spring release. The group disbanded for a second time that fall.
The Lone Ranger In the summer of 1992, the original lineup of Madness reunited to perform two outdoor concerts at London's Finsbury Park. The group dubbed the event Madstock and released a recording of the shows on Go! Records. Madstock became an annual event for the next four years -- every summer the band would reunite and headline an outdoor festival at Finsbury Park. Suggs launched a solo career in 1995 with The Lone Ranger, which performed respectably in the U.K. charts. In 1996, Madness played the final Madstock and announced they planned not to reunite for future concerts, but by 1998 they were back on the road, with a Los Angeles date recorded for release as Universal Madness the following year. The group also reunited with original producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley to record their first new material in over a decade. The resulting Dangermen Sessions, Vol 1 was released in 2005, followed in 2009 by The Liberty of Norton Folgate, the group's ninth studio album. During 2012 the band took part in high-profile performances that celebrated the best of British culture. They played from the top of Buckingham Palace in Queen’s Diamond Jubilee party and also appeared in the closing ceremony of the London Olympic Games. As 2012 drew to a close, Madness released a new album called Oui, Oui, Si, Si, Ja, Ja, Da, Da. The group returned in 2016 with their 12th studio effort, Can't Touch Us Now.
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There’s a certain grandness to the title of Madness Presents the Rise & Fall, the group’s fourth album and undeniable pop masterpiece: it’s clear that the band has ambitions, to go several steps beyond ska, to craft nothing less than a Village Green Preservation Society for the ‘80s. The Kinks figure heavily in Madness’ design for The Rise & Fall, both in individual tunes and the overall arc of the concept album, but so does Ian Dury’s celebration of the riffraff of London, the latter giving Madness an earthiness that Ray Davies’ crew lacked during their time on the Village Green. While Madness’ forefathers are evident, The Rise & Fall is recognizably Madness in sound and sensibility; faint echoes of their breakneck nutty beginnings can be heard on “Blue Skinned Beast” and “Mr. Speaker Gets the Word,” the melodies are outgrowths of such early masterpieces as “My Girl,” there’s a charming, open-hearted humor and carnivalesque swirl that ties everything together. All this comes to a head on “Our House,” as divine a pop single as there ever was -- so undeniable that this very British anthem actually crossed over into the American Top Ten in 1983 -- but that’s merely the splashiest evidence of Madness’ popcraft on The Rise & Fall. The rest of the record contains the same wit, effervescence, and joy, capturing what British pop life was all about in 1982, just as Village Green Preservation Society did in 1968 or Blur’s Parklife would do in 1994.
Madness - The Rise and Fall (flac 274mb)
01 Rise And Fall 3:16
02 Tomorrow's (Just Another Day) 3:10
03 Blue Skinned Beast 3:22
04 Primrose Hill 3:36
05 Mr Speaker Gets The Word 3:00
06 Sunday Morning 4:03
07 Our House 3:23
08 Tiptoes 3:30
09 New Delhi 3:41
10 That Face 3:40
11 Calling Cards 2:19
12 Are You Coming (With Me) 3:17
13 Madness (Is All In The Mind) 2:53
Madness - The Rise and Fall (ogg 102mb)
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By 1986, the Clive Langer/Alan Winstanley production team had become synonymous with an all-too-slick approach. And despite their previous, well-tempered work with the band, Keep Moving falls into the same formulaic pitfalls of the period, incorporating the overused Afrodiziak and TKO horns, as well as a full gospel choir and even a cameo from Michael Caine. Overbearing production aside, this is well-crafted Brit-pop that explores a brighter, though decidedly less memorable side than the previous album. [The American issue replaces the lesser "Waltz Into Mischief" with the stray singles "Wings of a Dove" and "The Sun and the Rain," along with "Prospects" and "Samantha," making it the preferable version of the album.]
Madness - Keep Moving (flac 316mb)
01 Keep Moving 3:33
02 Michael Caine 3:39
03 Turning Blue 3:06
04 One Better Day 4:06
05 March Of The Gherkins 3:30
06 Waltz Into Mischief 3:36
07 Brand New Beat 3:17
08 Victoria Gardens 4:32
09 Samantha 3:14
10 Time For Tea 3:08
11 Prospects 4:15
12 Give Me A Reason 3:26
Madness - Keep Moving (ogg 102mb)
Madness - Keep Moving Bonus (flac 321mb)
01 Wings Of A Dove (7" Single) 2:59
02 Behind The 8 Ball (B-Side "Wings Of A Dove" 7") 3:01
03 One Second's Thoughtlessness (B-Side "Wings Of A Dove" 12") 3:26
04 Wings Of A Dove (12" Blue Train Mix) 6:11
05 The Sun And The Rain (7" Single) 3:28
06 Fireball XL5 (B-Side "The Sun And The Rain" 7") 1:45
07 My Girl (Live) (B-Side "The Sun And The Rain" 12") 2:56
08 The Sun And The Rain (12" Extended Version) 4:43
09 Michael Caine (12" Extended Version) 4:13
10 If You Think There's Something (B-Side "Michael Caine" 7") 3:09
11 Guns (B-Side "One Better Day" 7") 3:15
12 Sarah (B-Side "One Better Day" 12") 3:44
13 Victoria Gardens (Re-Mix) (B-Side "One Better Day" 12") 3:51
Madness - Keep Moving bonus (ogg 114mb)
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This ironically peppy set of '80s pop would prove to be Madness' final studio album, and the band was clearly not in the best of moods while they recorded it. Their previous album had suffered the weakest chart showing of the band's career, and they had recently lost their founding father figure (keyboardist Mike Barson). They had left their record company, setting up their own "Zarjazz" label. Like the Beatles' Let It Be, this record has "One Last Stab" written all over it. The album opens with a bitingly overt declaration of the band's determination to hang on in the cynically mercurial music business ("I'll Compete") and concludes with one of many images of an inevitably approaching ending ("shivering to a halt...no one wants to speak too soon, although we all knew"). Several songs dwell on themes of transience and aging ("Time," "Yesterday's Men, "), and the title track openly broods over the sting of Barson's departure. The album almost seems to fortell its own lack of success. Its ultimate failure to reignite the group's popularity might be blamed on the slickly synthetic over-production. Clive Langer and Alan Wistanley occasionally strike an inspired balance between soulful pop and subtle reggae rythyms, but more often they replace the warmth of Barson's pianos with a cold emphasis on drum machines and synthesizers. Some of the songwriting, however, is on par with the band's most mature work, and the lively melodies lend a perfect irony to the band's wry social commentary and personal brooding.
Madness - Mad Not Mad (flac 453mb)
01 I'll Compete 3:21
02 Yesterday's Men 4:37
03 Uncle Sam 4:16
04 White Heat 3:47
05 Mad Not Mad 4:11
06 Sweetest Girl 5:46
07 Burning The Boats 4:31
08 Tears You Can't Hide 3:09
09 Time 4:21
10 Coldest Day 4:25
11 Yesterday's Men (Extended Version) 8:11
12 Uncle Sam (Ray Gun Mix) 6:46
13 Sweetest Girl (Extended Mix) 5:46
14 (Waiting For The) Ghost Train 3:45
Madness - Mad Not Mad (ogg 162mb)
Madness - Mad Not Mad Bonus (flac 266mb)
01 Yesterday's Men (Demo Version) 3:38
02 All I Knew 3:09
03 Yesterday's Men (Harmonica Version) 4:32
04 Uncle Sam (Demo Version) 4:27
05 Please Don't Go 3:20
06 Inanity Over Christmas 3:53
07 Sweetest Girl (Dub Mix) 7:10
08 Jennie (A Portrait Of) 3:01
09 Call Me 3:59
10 Maybe In Another Life 3:02
Madness - Mad Not Mad Bonus (ogg 94mb)
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