AMV of the Day: Madness (Various)

To help to continue to promote the holiday spirit, here’s an AMV of the Day.

Anime: shingeki no kyojin, bakemonogatari, high school of the dead, mirai nikki, another, dance in the vampire bund, deadman wonderland, kara no kyoukai, psycho pass, hellsing ultimate, shiki, tasogare otome x amnesia, tokyo ghoul, ghost hunt, umineko no naku koro, Shinsekai Yori

Song: Madness by Ruelle

Creator: miyumiyu TV

(As always, please consider subscribing to this creator’s YouTube channel!)

Past AMVs of the Day

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: 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.


Music Video Of The Day: It Must Be Love by Madness (1981, directed by Chris Gabrin)

“In the pool, I had these lead weights on. I thought I was gonna die. The hire guitar got bent so we got a hairdryer and sent it back. They said, ‘The neck’s like a banana.’ So we had to buy it.”

— Guitarist Chris Gabrin on performing under water in the video for Madness’s It Must Be Love

In America, this song and video was released as Madness’s follow-up to their first (and, to date, only) hit in the United States, Our House.  Unfortunately, for the band’s U.S. popularity, the video was heavily influenced by the very British Ealing comedies and it was not immediately appreciated by audiences across the Atlantic.  I think if the video were released today, at a time when more people are aware of international cinema and appreciation of British comedy is now a mainstream phenomena as opposed to just the kids in the computer lab talking about Monty Python, it would be better received in the States.

In the U.S., It Must Be Love peaked at #33.  As with most of Madness’s song, It Must Be Love was far more successful in the UK, where it has twice reached the UK Top 10, once when it was originally released and then when it was re-released in 1992.

Obviously, the British have always been better about appreciating a bit of madness than the Americans.


Music Video Of The Day: Grey Day by Madness (1981, directed by Chris Gabrin)

“‘Grey Day’ was a definite step on for Madness. I remember going to a club with a copy of it and Joe Strummer was DJing. I asked him to put this on, because I thought I’d finally done something that he could dig, not just jumping up and down – but he wouldn’t play it.”

— Madness lead singer Suggs on Grey Day

Grey Day may not have been good enough for Joe Strummer but I definitely appreciate it.

The first version of Grey Day was first performed by Madness when they were still known as The North London Invaders.  Three years later, they revisited the song and recorded it in the Bahamas “for tax purposes.”

The video was directed by Chris Gabrin, who was active in the 80s.  He also did videos for The Cure, Culture Club, John Mellencamp, and Pat Benatar.


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: One Better Day by Madness (1984, directed by Nigel Dick)

 “The idea of that song was when you’d hear people say, ‘Oh, he’s seen better days,’ like when you see a guy in a suit looking a bit tatty. I thought, ‘What was that one better day?’ Then I had the idea that he would meet this other homeless person that happened to be a woman – and they fell in love. Between them they could engender one better day as people who had, supposedly, seen better days.”

— Graham “Suggs” McPherson on One Better Day

In this song and music video, the lads from Madness prove that they were capable of doing serious songs, along with the comedic romps for which they were best known.

This video was filmed in front of Arlington House, which was a homeless shelter located in the band’s hometown of Camden Town, London.  Because this was their final single for Stiff Records, the label refused to put up any money for the video so what you’re seeing here was funded by the band themselves.


Music Video of the Day: Shut Up by Madness (1981, directed by Chris Gabrin)

In this video, the members of Madness start off as crooks and then they become cops before becoming crooks again.  But regardless of which side of the law that the band finds itself on, they’re all always chasing after the band’s lead singer, Suggs.  What crime has Suggs committed?  It has something to do with cars and a black mask.

In the song, Suggs attempts to convince the police that he’s innocent, even though it’s obvious that he’s guilty.  Despite the song’s title, the words “Shut Up” are never heard.  Originally, the song was meant to have a verse that would be told from the point of view of the cop, singing about how chasing after petty criminals is keeping him from spending time with his family.  At the end of the song, the cop would order Suggs to “Shut up!”  However, that verse was ultimately dropped, leaving the request to shut up merely implied.


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.