Forming in 1976, it wasn’t until 1979 that they finally morphed into their final form as a seven piece. If you have any doubt of the popularity of the band it’s worth noting that they still perform to this day with most of the original line-up. With their line-up set in place the band would become popular as a live act and would tour with The Specials and Selecter. They would also taste their first chart success with a track titled “The Prince” which paid homage to their idol Prince Buster. Jerry Dammer of The Specials had started his own record label ‘2-tone Records’ and it was through 2-tone that Madness recorded and released “The Prince”.
After the surprise hit the band would go on to record their debut album. One Step Beyond… was released through Stiff Records in 1979 after a quick 3 week recording process. The albums cover features the now iconic image of the band doing the Nutty Train, an image inspired by a picture on the back cover of the album ‘Handsome’ by the band Kilburn and the High Roads. The band were such huge fans of Prince Buster that the opening lines, now probably one of the most famous openings to an album, “Don’t watch that, watch this…” was taken from another one of his songs, ‘The Scorcher’.
The Final Word
“My girl's mad at me
Been on the telephone for an hour
We hardly said a word
I tried and tried but I could not be heard”
Till next time,