Pictured on the roof of Stiff Records after it had relocated to north London, Suggs and Chas Smash are the most visible frontmen of Madness and Camden Town is the area where the band originally formed in 1976. Their comical videos and ska/pop tunes have won them a huge worldwide audience and offstage as well they are continually joking around. Suggs is the obvious lead singer and Chas Smash’s role is more diverse – singing some back-up vocals, occassional trumpet and percussion but more often being the group’s lead dancer! These photos were taken when Suggs and Chas Smash were doing publicity for their fourth album ‘The Rise & Fall’ which featured the hit single ‘Our House’ The album was a departure from their earlier sound with more of a Kinks influence.
By the mid 1980s Madness’ career seemed to be in decline and by 1988 they split up.
In 1992 they reformed to play two nights at Madstock! where they headlined in front of 75,000 fans in Finsbury Park. On the first night the British Geological Society was called by the local police as an earthquake had been reported and several tower blocks were evacuated after cracks had formed in windows and balconies. It was discovered that the resonant frequency of dancing in harmony of such a large group of people was the cause of the damage!