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My Girl by Madness

Updated on May 15, 2013

Madness My Girl

My Girl is one of a number of hit singles by Madness who are an English pop/ska band from Camden Town in Northwest London.

Madness formed in 1976 and were one of the most prominent bands of the late 1970s "2 Tone" ska revival, achieving most of their success in the 1980s.

This version of "My Girl" is not the same song as the hit by "The Drifters", it's a completely different song as you will see by the lyrics. This is a fun song, with a typically catchy Madness Ska rhythm that will set you moving.

The core of the band formed in 1976 and included Mike Barson on keyboards and vocals, Chris Foreman on guitar and Lee Thompson on saxophone and vocals. They later recruited John Hasler on drums and Cathal Smyth on bass guitar. They were joined later that year by lead vocalist "Dikron".

This six-piece lineup lasted until part way through 1977, when Graham McPherson (better known as Suggs) took over the lead vocals after seeing the band perform in a friend's garden. The lineup further changed when they dropped Smyth, who was poor on bass guitar, replacing him with Gavin Rogers, an acquaintance of Barson. Next, McPherson was kicked out of the band for too often choosing to watch football instead of rehearsing, and finally, Thompson left the band after Barson criticised his saxophone playing.

After changing their name briefly to Morris and the Minors (a play on words of the famous English car the "Morris Minor"), the band renamed itself as Madness, paying homage to one of their favourite songs by ska/reggae artist Prince Buster.

In 1979 their debut album One Step Beyond was released by Stiff Records, and gave rise to the hit singles One Step Beyond and My Girl. One Step Beyond stayed in the British charts for 37 weeks and reached #2. The band didn't want to release any more singles from the album, feeling that they had already released the best material, however they were persuaded to release more tracks on an EP. The result was the Work Rest and Play EP, which was headlined by the song Night Boat to Cairo. The EP reached #6 in the UK singles chart.

The band's second album, Absolutely, released in 1980, reached #2 in the UK album charts. Absolutely generated some of the band's biggest hits, including Baggy Trousers, which reached #3 in the UK singles chart, Embarrassment which reached #4, and the instrumental Return of the Los Palmas 7 which climbed to #7.

In 1981, the band's third studio album, 7 reached number 5 in the UK album charts and contained three hit singles, Grey Day, Shut Up and Cardiac Arrest. This album was a change in direction from the past. Suggs' vocal performance changed significantly, and his strong Cockney accent from the previous albums had been watered down. The album strayed from the ska-influenced sound of One Step Beyond and Absolutely, and moved towards a more conventional and mature pop sound.

Near the end of 1981, Madness released one of their most recognised songs; a remake of Labi Siffre's 1971 hit It Must Be Love". The song climbed to #4 in the UK, and in 1983, the song peaked at #33 in the US charts. In 1982, Madness released their only number 1 hit to date, House of Fun which they played live on the '80s series The Young Ones. The compilation album Complete Madness also reached #1.

In November '82, Madness released their 4th studio album, The Rise & Fall. The album did well in the UK, but didn't get an American release. Instead, many of the albums songs were included on the US compilation Madness, including Our House, which was their most internationally successful single to date. Our House reached #5 in the UK music charts and #7 in the US charts.

In 1983, their single Wings of a Dove reached #2 in the UK charts, followed by The Sun & The Rain. Their following album, Keep Moving reached #6 in the UK album charts, and two singles from that album reached the top 20 in the UK music charts. The album received some good reviews, with Rolling Stone Magazine giving the album four out of five stars.

In early 1992, It Must Be Love was re-released and reached #6 in the UK singles chart. Following that, the singles compilation Divine Madness was released and rechaed #1 in the album charts.

Madness then announced plans for a reunion concert, Madstock, which was held at Finsbury Park, London in August that year. The original Madness lineup reunited, performing together for the first time since Mike Barson left the band in 1984. Over 75,000 fans attended the weekend festival, and during One Step Beyond, the vibrations of the crowd jumping up and down in time to the music caused an earth tremor which measured over 4.5 on the Richter scale.

A subsequent live album was released, and the associated single, The Harder They Come got to #44 in the UK, with the album reaching #22. The band continued to reunite for annual UK Christmas season tours and held three more Madstock festivals; in 1994, 1996 and 1998.

The band are still performing in 2008, with their most recognised lineup of seven members, although their lineup has varied slightly over the years.

Song Lyrics: My Girl by Madness

My Girl - Madness from the album "One Step Beyond" 1979

My girl's mad at me

I didn't wanna see the film tonight

I found it hard to say

She thought I'd had enough of her

Why can't she see

She's lovely to me?

But I like to stay in

And watch t.v. on my own

Every now and then

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

Why can't I explain?

Why do I feel this pain?

'Cause everything I say

She doesn't understand

She doesn't realise

She takes it all the wrong way

My girl's mad at me

We argued just the other night

I thought we'd got it straight

We talked and talked until it was light

I thought we'd agreed

I thought we'd talked it out

Now when I try to speak

She says that I don't care

She says I'm unaware

And now she says I'm weak

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Madness My Girl Videos

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    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      Rock and roll truly is a music form that won't ever go out of style. Timeless.

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 5 years ago

      This is great. Thanks! Enjoyed the video, too. Great job! Sundae ;-)

    • profile image

      mennella 5 years ago

      Go, madness... one step beyond!

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      They certainly have a truly unique style. I was expecting something similar to the blues brothers but they are a real mix. Great lens.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      " ... she takes it all the wrong way." Isn't that the way it goes Tony, that when it starts down that path, it seems to take a miracle to make it the RIGHT way!

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 7 years ago

      Really interesting how this genre of music has come full circle - just got a CD from my son with lots of music that sounds similar to this style. Enjoyed the lens and this song!

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Great lens

    • Rich-H profile image

      Rich 8 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      I only know one of their songs, but my Brit hubby knows 'em all! 5*s

    • Sniff It Out profile image

      Sniff It Out 8 years ago

      Love Madness, they are such a fun band! :) Not sure whether this or Baggy Trousers is my favourite...

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Interesting topic.

    • profile image

      CleanerLife 8 years ago

      Always loved Madness, they can always cheer me up.

      Never really knew they were "Ska" or really what Ska was until the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Sublime and No Doubt became popular.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 8 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      Your usual great lens about a great band.

    • debnet profile image

      Debbie 8 years ago from England

      Another great Lens!! Well done!

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