To mark their 40th anniversary, Madness – one of the most successful UK pop groups of all time – are to give their own account of their early years and how it all began, in their first ever book, Before We Was We: The Making of Madness.
North London, the 1970s. Amid a grim landscape of bomb sites, squats, public baths and rough pubs, a loose gang of misfits and outsiders started hanging out together – riding freight trains, spraying graffiti, stealing records, clothes and musical instruments. Escaping the fringes of petty criminality, they formed a band. These lairy but charismatic chaps became Madness, one of the UK’s most successful groups.
In Before We Was We, they tell the story of how they became Madness. It’s a journey full of luck, skill and charm, as they duck and dive by day and make their name in London’s exploding music scene by night, zipping around the capital in their Morris Minor vans. It’s the riotous coming-of-age tale of seven unique individuals, whose collective graft, energy and talent took them from the sweaty depths of the Hope and Anchor basement to the Top of the Pops studio.
In their own words, Graham ‘Suggs’ McPherson, Lee ‘Kix’ Thompson, Cathal ‘Chas Smash’ Smyth, Daniel ‘Woody’ Woodgate, Chris ‘Chrissy Boy’ Foreman, Mark ‘Bedders’ Bedford and Mike ‘Barso’ Barson look back on their past and how during those shared adventures they formed a bond that’s lasted forty years.
It’s hard to believe 2019 will mark forty years since the ragtag self-proclaimed ‘hoolies and urchins’ first emerged, gloriously unreconstructed from the back streets of Camden Town, fusing reggae, punk and pop on their classic album One Step Beyond. This year of celebrations is the simply the latest stop in what has proven to be an astonishing few years for the resurgent British icons.
When We Was We is published by Virgin Books on 10th October 2019 and will be available to buy from Amazon.co.uk and other leading retailers.