Madness – Our House

At the start of MTV my small town I lived in had yet to get cable…but it wouldn’t take too long. At that time I had to travel to relatives in Nashville before I got a chance to see it. I would spend the weekend and we would watch MTV for hours at a time. Binge watching before binge watching was a saying. We would wake up the next day bleary eyed and turn on more MTV.

I did find some music I never heard before. This band and song caught my attention. The song was released in 1982. It peaked at #7 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, and #5 in the UK.

The song was on the The Rise & Fall album. They were different…they have been described as a British ska and pop band.

This was Madness only top 10 hit in the US. Much of the song’s success in America was helped out by the clever music video that was in heavy rotation early days of MTV.

The producers were Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley

Alan Winstanley:  “At the time of doing Madness we were kind of flying along together,” adds Langer. “Alan’s very precise and very particular, and I’m more slapdash and in a hurry and probably tend to like rougher-sounding records. That’s a generalization, because in the end we do like the same records, but sometimes the whole process with Alan can be laborious for me. He normally does the vocal comps whereas I’ll do a lot more work in the rehearsal room on the arrangements, deciding what instruments should play what where, how long the chorus should be and things like that. Still, we’ve got on fine considering how long we’ve worked together.”

Graham “Suggs” McPherson lead singer : “This was the first time we worked with the string arranger David Bedford. It was clear to him what our records needed and he did great things for us. It’s strange now to think we were so philosophical about such everyday things.”

From Songfacts

This won the Best Song award at the 1983 Ivor Novello Awards.

This was played in a 2007 TV commercial shown in the UK for Bird’s Eye Fish Fingers, which featured Suggs. In the advert the Madness frontman is sitting with a family at tea time. The daughter is studying for her school exams and asks Suggs where Omega 3 can be found. He offers the answer of Birds Eye Fish Fingers.

The song’s video featured the band as a cloth-cap wearing family squashed into a terraced house. Drummer Dan “Woody” Woodgate recalled to Q Magazine August 2008: “The knocking-on-the-door bit where somebody comes out, goes, ‘Where are they?’ and the others sneak in and close the door… That’s The Flintstones. We stole lots of ideas from the Keystone Kops and Benny Hill.”

Our House

Father wears his Sunday best
Mother’s tired, she needs a rest
The kids are playing up downstairs
Sister’s sighing in her sleep (ah)
Brother’s got a date to keep, he can’t hang around

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our

Our house, it has a crowd
There’s always something happening
And it’s usually quite loud
Our mum she’s so house-proud
Nothing ever slows her down and a mess is not allowed

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our (something tells you that you’ve got to move away from it)

Father gets up late for work
Mother has to iron his shirt
Then she sends the kids to school
Sees them off with a small kiss (ah)
She’s the one they’re going to miss in lots of ways

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our

I remember way back then when everything was true and when
We would have such a very good time, such a fine time
Such a happy time
And I remember how we’d play, simply waste the day away
Then we’d say nothing would come between us
Two dreamers

Father wears his Sunday best
Mother’s tired, she needs a rest
The kids are playing up downstairs
Sister’s sighing in her sleep
Brother’s got a date to keep, he can’t hang around

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our

Our house, was our castle and our keep
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, that was where we used to sleep
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our street, our house

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

38 thoughts on “Madness – Our House”

    1. No I have not but I’m going to. It’s very interesting…living history because I remember it well as all of us does. They did a fantastic job of making people want to see it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I wonder how different the 80’s music landscape would’ve looked without MTV. There were some good “MTV songs” like this one, but also a lot of stuff that hasn’t stood the test of time. Would we have had more critically acclaimed albums because people would’ve paid more attention to the music itself? (I don’t have a particular opinion. These questions just popped into my head as I read your post.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have read of some artists at that time writing songs with an eye on the video with it. That changes everything. I’ll be honest…I like this song a lot but I heard it much more on MTV than I did our radio station. MTV was a giant Madison Avenue selling us goods…some good and bad. Great question you raised though…It would have changed the landscape… Would the Culture Club, A Flock of Seagulls, and others made it without it?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great tune, it’s a shame that was the only thing by them most of us heard over here.
    Having all kinds of problems posting my blogs today and even ‘liking’ comments. Don’t know if its internet here or WordPress Central…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Madness are a British institution, still making good records well into the 20th century and appearing at mega-TV events: they had non-stop brilliant hit singles (and albums) throughout the 80’s, most of them top 10, appealing especially to teen boys with their quirky brand of London ska, and very very British. that they sneaked through into the USA was an unexpected treat at the time. This is their best record, but there’s not much in it TBH, they had so many champion singles: Take a listen to: The mad hyperactive One Step Beyond, the schoolboy joy of Baggy Trousers, the melodic subtle Michael Caine, the UK chart-topper song about buying a packet of condoms House Of Fun, the wonderful gospel-tinged Wings Of A Dove, and many more.

    Re MTV, the UK didnt get that till 1985-ish, but the impact on the US music scene was huge looking from this side of the Atlantic. Post-disco, the US charts were looking decidedly AOR/MOR Rock and plodding. Inventive, exciting new bands and pop stars emerging from the US were not much of a thing, it was all happening in the UK. Without MTV I doubt the Second British Invasion would have been much of a thing, as videos were now regarded as an artform in themself, not just a means to sell a duff track at all, they were going places creatively with acts like Godley & Creme (of 10CC) creating promos for themselves and other acts which went hand in hand with an exciting synth-based new music scene, that influenced US acts like Michael Jackson (see: Adam Ant)…. 🙂

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  4. I love this song and the video. Funny you should mention staying up and watching MTV until blurry-eyed. I did the same thing only with TBS Night Tracks. I was living with my mother and step-dad and I didn’t have access to MTV. I only got to see it a couple of times at my aunt & uncle’s house and those visits were rare. So, until Night Tracks debuted in 1983, and a local station specific to Burlington (with a dude named Doctor John dressed in scrubs as a VJ), I didn’t see many videos for a while in my own home. I remember this song being on the radio.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It took forever before we got it…the town got it but I lived in the middle of nowhere so it took a long time. The town had a cable channel but remote areas didn’t have it.

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      1. Boy, things have changed. They don’t even play videos anymore.

        I wish I could find some data on that local station. I loved the Dr. John guy & they had a Carrot Top guy, too…before that crazy comedian Carrot Top showed up.

        That station is where I got my introduction to REM. I don’t even remember the name of the station, either. 🤔

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m sure you can find it…yea I guess because of youtube they don’t have a reason to anymore. I really enjoyed MTV for a while until they started to program “The Real World” the made up cast of “real” people

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      3. I can’t stand “reality tv.” When the “Survivor” mess started, I couldn’t change the channel fast enough. Ditto that stupid “Big Brother.”

        I’ve tried digging around for that channel with the funny VJs but, so far, nothing.

        Liked by 1 person

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