Friday, October 24, 2014

one step beyond...

Madness took over with the rock steady dance frenzy of the heavy heavy monster sound.  The group had formed in 1976 as The North London Invaders with Mike Barson (Monsieur Barso), Chris Foreman (Chrissy Boy), and Lee Thompson (Kix) on saxophone and vocals. The rhythm section of John Hasler and Cathal Smyth (Chas Smash) came next, followed by lead vocalist Dikron Tulane.

They released a number of singles on 2 Tone Records, a subsidiary of Chrysalis Records formed by  Jerry Dammers of the Specials as part of their record deal.  Madness toured with The Specials before signing to Stiff Records for their debut album 'One Step Beyond...'.  

Foreman remembers:   “We used to go round to Mike’s house.  Mike was a really good on the piano. He always seemed to be able to play, from when I first knew him. His brother, Ben, is really good too and has played with lots of people. And Ben had a lot of equipment – like a piano and an amplifier.    First of all it was just something to do on a Saturday and we used to learn songs that we liked. The sort of stuff we liked was Motown, reggae, R’n’B, and rock’n’roll. It took a lot of time until we actually became Madness and we had loads of different people before we got the Madness line-up. And then we started writing our own songs, which was important and we stopped doing all the rock’n’roll songs. We still kept doing the reggae ones because nobody did them. And then the Two Tone thing came along and we were well away...It was the best of a bad bunch. All these labels were after us purely because it was the in thing. You know how it happens. Say you get a group like Tears For Fears and everybody’s after groups like them. That’s what it was. They were offering us lots of money but they didn’t have a clue of what we were about. The main guy at Stiff, Dave Robinson, he talked a lot of sense. He didn’t think we were just one-hit wonders...That's one of the reason for our longevity, the fact that it wasn’t just two people like in Squeeze. At the beginning Mike used to write a lot of stuff, and Mike often used to write with Lee. There were really good combinations, Mike and Lee were really good because Lee would write lyrics – he writes a lot of lyrics – and he would just give them to Mike, who’s the sort of person who could look at them and think of a tune. I'm not very good at that, I just used to do a tune at home and play it to everybody and then maybe one of them would take it home and come up with some lyrics. But there wasn't any of that thing: ‘Right, I'm going to write a song with you’. If I had a tune and one of them liked it, then we had a song out of it.”

'One Step Beyond...' features Graham McPherson (Suggs) on lead vocals;  Mike Barson (Monsieur Barso) on  keyboards;   Chris Foreman (Chrissy Boy) on guitars;  Mark Bedford (Bedders) on bass;  Lee "Kix" Thompson on saxophones, backing vocals, and lead vocals on tracks 5 and 10;  and Daniel Woodgate (Woody) on drums and percussion;  with Cathal Smyth (Chas Smash) on backing vocals, fancy footwork, and lead vocals on tracks 1 and 15.  John Hasler was their "minder".    The album was the first production job for the team of  Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley.  

'One Step Beyond...' went to number one hundred and twenty-eight in the US, twenty-two in the Netherlands, and two in the UK, where it was certified platinum.

"'One Step Beyond" went to number twenty-nine in the Netherlands, twenty-eight in Ireland, seven in the UK, and three in Switzerland.  Suggs says:  "We used to play the Hawaii 5-0 theme as a novelty cover version to start our shows. When we got bored we did this track instead, but the original recording was only 45 seconds long. We didn't even think it would get on the album. Our record company boss heard it and got our producers to loop it. We still start every gig with it. We've tried other songs but that's the one we always come back to. Cathal's introduction is a clarion call."

"My Girl" hit forty-six in New Zealand and number three in Ireland and the UK.

"The Prince" charted at number sixteen in the UK.


'One Step Beyond...' 
full album:

"One Step Beyond" – 2:18 (Campbell)
"My Girl" – 2:44 (Barson)
"Night Boat to Cairo" – 3:31 (Barson, McPherson)
"Believe Me" – 2:28 (Barson, Hasler)
"Land of Hope and Glory" – 2:57 (Foreman, Thompson)
"The Prince" – 3:18 (Thompson)
"Tarzan's Nuts" – 2:24 (Barson)
"In the Middle of the Night" – 3:01 (McPherson, Foreman)
"Bed & Breakfast Man" – 2:33 (Barson)
"Razor Blade Alley" – 2:42 (Thompson)
"Swan Lake" – 2:36 (Tchaikovsky arr. Barson)
"Rockin' in A♭" – 2:29 (Wurlitzer; Bazooka Joe cover)
"Mummy's Boy" – 2:23 (Bedford)
"Madness" – 2:38 (Campbell)
"Chipmunks Are Go!" – 0:51 (C. Smash, Brendan. Smyth)

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