[20] Madness, ‘Michael Caine’

One of the later, more melancholy offerings from Madness. Written by Carl Smyth and Woody, with lead vocals from Carl/Chas and – can we say? – an early use of sampling in a pop record, it was the first of their singles to miss the Top 10 in two years. Pity, because it’s a smart little tune. Founder member Mike Barson leaves his piano, and the band, at the start of the video and it’s the beginning of the end.

None of this was denting Junior’s cheerful disposition, as she sat in the trusty inflatable and chewed the entire sponge book. Even Dad’s lame two-ball juggling met with jolly appreciation. I think she understood how much fun Madness were, even when they kept it downbeat.

I’ve heard this song’s about Northern Ireland. The references are somewhat oblique, if you ask me.

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