Madness signed to Stiff Records in 1979 and released their debut album ‘One Step Beyond’, followed by their second ‘Absolutely’.
The huge single 'House of Fun' went to number 1 in the UK in 1982, and ‘Our House’ was a hit in America. Although often seen as a slapstick comedy band, some of their eighties tracks (‘Embarrassment’, ‘Grey Day’) reflected the recession and general doom and gloom that was apparent at the time in the UK.
During the recording of the band's fifth album in 1984, ‘Keep Moving’, keyboardist Mike Barson announced he was leaving. While the rest carried on for a while and released ‘Mad Not Mad', the album didn’t do too well and the band split in 1986.
However, in the early nineties, interest in Madness was rising again. A 1992 compilation album of their singles went to the top of the charts. They began to do one-off gigs, like Madstock, and audience reaction was so favourable that they decided maybe they had ended their career a little too early. The band have gone on to release several more albums, the most recent being 2012's 'Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da'.
The band’s hits were also recently revised and turned into a West End musical – ‘Our House’ - which also saw lead singer, Suggs, back on stage.