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29 October 2014
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Welcome to the house of factual fun...

Suggs Mike Barson, 'Chrissie Boy' Foreman and Lee 'Kix' Thompson formed the Invaders in 1976. There was no Suggs in those days. Instead, they employed the vocal talents of a young chap known only as Dikron. He didn't last very long and was soon replaced by the bowler-hatted Suggs that we all know and love. Changing their name to Madness in January 1979, they proceeded onward with their ska-derived sound.

The band revive Labi Siffre's 1972 hit 'It Must Be Love', which goes straight in at No.4. Labi even made a cameo appearance in the video for the song. When showing the poolside promo on TOTP, a concerned Jimmy Savile warned the kids at home not to copy the soon-to-be-electrified group who had just jumped into a swimming pool clutching their electric guitars.

After 'What's That' becoming a legendary flop, October 1990 saw Suggs playing the harmonica and singing backing vocals for Morrissey's No.18 hit 'Piccadilly Palare'. At the same time Woody and Bedford continued to collaborate with Voice of the Beehive, Barson remained semi-retired with his wife in Holland and Bedders started to study graphic design.

It wasn't all plain sailing for frontman Suggs. For instance you might not have known that football was so important to Suggs that the rest of the crew nearly kicked him out. It wasn't uncommon for him to miss numerous Saturday rehearsals to catch the match. Luckily, Barson gave him a well delivered kick to the derriere which pushed the band to adopt the first skinhead movement in the UK. So much so that Dr Marten's issued a limited edition version of Madness DM's.

no 5Chrissie Boy ForemanHELL NO WE WON'T GO
The band split in 1986, but the public just wanted more. They reformed for a reunion concert in 1992, called Madstock! The event at London's Finsbury Park wasn't without its mishaps though. Local residents evacuated their buildings and reported an earthquake to the police. Turns out that the so-called tremor was nothing more than the crowd jumping up and down chanting "Madness".

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