Saturday, 27 September 2014

REWIND: Madness - 'The Prince'

One of the things I was most afraid of while preparing to begin the new job that I have started recently was the possibility of having to listen to other people's music in the workplace. The person in charge of the sounds at our workplace thankfully doesn't tune the radio into the dreaded Heart FM, so at least I have avoided the worst case scenario. However, despite the fact that his iPod plays enjoyable things like Guns N Roses, the Manics, Metallica, Green Day and various dance tunes from the 90s, it also contains a lot of the shite that's featured in the charts over the last few years since the great decline of popular music. I guess even if you have good taste, you'll pay the price if you're being exposed to nothing but shite and not bothering to look in the right places for new music. The other person who's second in charge at my workplace is going to have the choice of the music over the next week or so, which was worrying since I have known her to repeatedly play an awful compilation CD where the best song on it by far is 'Never Ever' by the All Saints. So what a relief to discover that she isn't completely resistant to musical quality, after she bought in a copy of the Madness singles compilation 'Complete Madness' in to play. The London-based ska legends' debut single 'The Prince' was written by Lee Thompson, and was released in August 1979 through 2 Tone Records. It peaked at number 16 in the UK singles chart, spending a total of 11 weeks in the charts.

Although it bears a very strong resemblance to Howlin' Wolf's 'Howlin' For My Baby', the song is a tribute to Jamaican ska singer Prince Buster who was a huge influence on Madness. The band took their name from one of his songs, 'Madness', which they also covered on the b-side of 'The Prince'.