The Rise And Fall And Rise Again: A Brief History of Madness (Part 1)
In 1976 school friends Mike Barson and Lee Thompson formed a band called the North London Invaders, roping in other friends of theirs Chris Foreman, John Hasler and Cathal Smyth to play rock n roll and soul songs. The line-up was a tumultuous one and only solidified two years later when Hasler was eventually replaced on drums by Daniel Woodgate, Mark Bedford replacing Smyth on bass with Smyth becoming a brass player, dancer and singer and lead singer Graham McPherson aka Suggs finally decided to commit rather than watch Chelsea play football. They also adopted a new name, Madness, after a song by ska/reggae legend Prince Buster.
Thus was born a band that became one of the most prominent bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s two-tone ska revival. Madness have had 16 singles reach the UK top ten and between 1980 to 1986, the band's songs spent a total of 214 weeks on the UK Singles Chart.
Their music videos showcased them as a fun gang that kids and adults alike wanted to be a part of with flying saxophonists and nutty trains. But, behind the scenes in-fighting and constantly butting up against their label boss, as well as incredible success, put pressure on the band which caused rifts and breakups over the years.
This episode of Banned Biographies deals with this heady first decade and the rise and fall of one of the most beloved British bands to ever strut their stuff.
It is Free