Music Video of the Day: Embarrassment by Madness (1980, directed by ????)


“We were trying to do Motown with this one. Lee Thompson’s sister had a baby with a black man and it caused consternation in his family. It’s a great lyric – really sensational. You couldn’t believe such sensitivity could come from such a rough diamond, but Lee is one of the best lyricists of his time. We were having trouble with people associating us with the NF, so it was nice to establish once and for all that we weren’t.”

— Suggs on Embarrassment 

The NF that Madness’s frontman refers to was the National Front, a fascist British political party that was at the height of its prominence when Embarrassment was recorded.  Because Madness was a ska band and because many of the skinheads who supported the National Front were also into ska music, Madness had to spend a good deal of their early career just assuring people that they were not themselves supporters of the National Front.  (Today, of course, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could listen to any of Madness’s songs and mistake them for supporters of the NF.)  This song, which sympathetically tells the story of a woman who has been rejected by her racist family because she’s having a black man’s baby, is not only a repudiation of everything the NF stood for but it’s also one of Madness’s rare “serious” songs.

Enjoy!

One response to “Music Video of the Day: Embarrassment by Madness (1980, directed by ????)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 8/3/20 — 8/9/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

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