Music Video of the Day: House of Fun by Madness (1982, directed by Dave Robinson)

This is probably one of the best songs ever written about a 16 year-old buying condoms before heading to a brothel (that would be the House of Fun referred to in the title).  Only Madness could have pulled it off.

This video was filmed at a Camden joke shop, a Kilburn chemist (or pharmacy), and a roller coaster in Great Yarmouth.  Reportedly, the band had to ride the roller coaster 54 times before director Dave Robinson was happy with the footage.


Music Video of the Day: One Step Beyond by Madness (1979, directed by Dave Robinson)

“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.”

— Graham “Suggs” McPherson on One Step Beyond

One Step Beyond is actually a cover.  The original version was done by Jamaican SKa singer Prince Buster.  For Madness’s version, a spoken intro was provided by Chas Smash, who was not an official member of the band at the time but who would join a few weeks after the release of One Step Beyond.

The live performance that’s featured in this video was filmed at The Hope and Anchor, a pub in North London.


Music Video Of The Day: Cardiac Arrest by Madness (1982, directed by Dave Robinson)

Cardiac Arrest is one of Madness’s more serious songs, though it retains their signature sound.  The lyrics are about a man who literally works himself to death, having a heart attack while he’s on the way to his job.  The video features Chas Smith playing the man who has the heat attack while the other members of the band encourage him to not work so hard and to take time to actually enjoy life.

Smith not only stars in the video but he also wrote the song.  The song was actually based on his father, who had suffered from repeated heart attacks at the time that the lyrics were composed.  Hence, in the video, Smith is almost playing his own father.

Perhaps because of the subject matter, Cardiac Arrest was a rare non-hit for Madness.  The song was also banned by BBC Radio 1 because it was felt that the lyrics were too disturbing.

Rather than telling you to “enjoy,” I’ll just suggest taking the song and video’s message to heart.

Music Video of the Day: Driving In My Car by Madness (1982, directed by Dave Robinson)

You may think that this song is actually about something other than driving a car but, according to keyboardist Mike Barson, you’re wrong.  As he explained it in The Art of Noise: Conversations with Great Songwriters, “No, it wasn’t about sex … at that time there weren’t many people writing about simple things like driving in your car. You know: rolling your window down, the little joys of life, simple pleasures.”

The video is also a tribute to an actual white 1959 model Morris Minor that the band used to drive from gig to gig before hitting it big.  The video finds all the members of Madness playing mechanics and drivers.  As frontman Suggs once explained it, “Madness videos were seven extroverts all mucking about trying to outdo each other.”

(Suggs was born Graham McPherson.  He chose is his nickname while he was in school, by randomly sticking a pin in an encyclopedia of jazz musicians and hitting Peter Suggs.)

The video was directed by Dave Robinson, who also directed the video for Our House.

Music Video of the Day: Our House by Madness (1982, directed by Dave Robinson)

There are many houses featured in the music video for Madness’s Our House.  While the song is about the day-to-day life of the British working class, the video still offers up glimpses of the Playboy Mansion and Buckingham Palace.  However, most of the video was filmed at a terrace house in northwest London.

This song is often mistakenly referred to as being a one-hit wonder.  While it may be the band’s best-known and most popular song in the United States, it’s just one of the many hits that Madness had in the UK.  First formed in 1976 and still together (though they did temporarily break-up for 6 years, from 1986 to 1992), Madness has had 15 singles reach the UK top ten, one UK number one single, and two numbers ones in Ireland.  Over the course of the 80s, Madness spent a record 214 weeks on the UK singles charts.

This video was directed by David Robinson, who directed several other videos for Madness.  He also directed videos for Robert Plant, The Belle Stars, Robert Palmer, and Tracey Ullman.


Music Video of the Day: Breakaway by Tracey Ullman (1983, dir. Dave Robinson)

When I was a kid, all I knew about Tracey Ullman was that she did a show called Tracey Takes On… I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know that she did a show prior to that called The Tracey Ullman Show. So all I knew was that she was a comedian famous for impersonations. I most certainly didn’t know she ever did music. Much to my surprise, this video recently showed up in my YouTube feed.

Apparently, she had short-lived music career in the early-to-mid-80s that sprung out of a encounter with the wife of the head of Stiff Records, Dave Robinson. This was the first single off her debut album.

Dave Robinson himself appears to have directed this appropriately 1960s-inspired video for Ullman’s cover of the 1964 song originally performed by Irma Thomas.

It’s quite cheap. It appears to be best remembered for Ullman singing into a brush.

A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985, dir. Jack Sholder)

I want to know why there is a plane on top of the building (left) and what looks like a creepy clown head on the top shelf (right).

It’s still catchy, fun, and the editing does draw you in into the song, regardless of it having to use the white dimension several times.

From taking a quick glance at her next video for the song They Don’t Know, her videos got more impressive. But we can’t jump right to the video where we see the Rank Films gong-guy with a package, and Paul McCartney ending up with Ullman. We need to start with her first video.

Dave Robinson appears to have directed around 22 videos.

The video was produced by John Mills and prolific music video director Nigel Dick, who were also the art directors.