Monday, October 26, 2015

"Our House" by Madness

Top 10 Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  1443
Date:  05/07/1983
Debut:  76
Peak:  7
Weeks:  19
Genre:  New Wave, Ska

Pop Bits:  This London band got started when their first single, "The Prince," became a left-field hit in 1979 reaching #16 on the UK chart. From there, the band began a streak of fourteen Top 10 hits (interrupted by one #14 entry) that included this song from their fourth studio album "The Rise & Fall." Released in November of 1982, the single would reach #5 in the UK. Meanwhile in the US, the band wasn't catching on at all. After their first three albums stiffed in the States, "The Rise & Fall" didn't get a US release. But then in the spring of '83, the song gained attention in the US and the single took off reaching the Top 10 (#9 Rock, #21 Dance). Caught with an unexpected US hit, the band's label quickly assembled a compilation of their UK singles, including this song, and released "Madness" in North America only. The LP was a good introduction to the band and hit #41 on the Album chart. Unfortunately, the band would not replicate the success in the States despite their continuing success in the UK. Although they would have a couple more minor chart entries, having this lone big hit got the group tagged a one-hit wonder in the US. They place at #29 on VH1's list of the Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s.

ReduxReview:  I fell for this song right away, but like a lot of folks in the US, I ignored the group soon after. I think many here treated this song as a curiosity rather than something from a band they really wanted to follow. They were quite British and that doesn't necessarily translate to a US audience. The same can sometimes be said in reverse. A very US band like the Eagles were not nearly as popular in the UK where they had a lone Top 10 hit with "Hotel California." Regardless, I'm sure glad that at least this song made it across the pond and hit the chart. It's a terrific, memorable song from the decade.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) How popular was Madness in the UK? If you add up all the weeks their singles spent on the UK chart in the 80s, the total number would be 214. This puts them in a tie with UB40 for the most weeks spent on the singles chart in the 80s by a group. Madness has a slight advantage overall because they accomplished the feat in a shorter time frame. By contrast, they spent 36 weeks total on the US singles chart.  2) This song served as the title of a stage musical that featured several Madness songs. "Our House" opened in 2002 and would go on to win the Olivier Award for Best New Musical in 2003.


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