This classic banger was released as a single in 1982. It shot to #1 in the UK and stayed in the charts for months. The song is a combination of fairground vaudeville, ska, and radio pop. Below is an image of the paper sleeve on the 7 inch 45 RPM UK release.
The classic video was reissued in 4K about 8 years ago. How did we miss that? It looks better than ever. It was filmed in North London. The band members are seen acting out their coming-of-age tales in true Madness style.
It’s hard to write about this one because the lyrics say it all. Let’s face it. Well meaning people around the world are currently being manipulated by lunatics.
The phrase is thought to originate in a 1919 remark by Richard A. Rowland about the founding of United Artists. It may have been an allusion to Edgar Allan Poe’sThe System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether, published in 1845.
I found the music video for the 1981 version by Fun Boy Three. The video is passable but the audio sounds low-fi and mono. It appears that it was recovered from a vhs tape of a live broadcast. This is all the record label seems to have at the moment. Perhaps the original film has been lost.
We play the 1981 version, but the song has been recorded many times. The 2019 version by The Specials is much more true to the rock-steady ska style and has flashy modern production. I almost want to reverse engineer the EQ curve and apply it to the original track.
Take a moment to do The Ska today, Rudy. It feels good.