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Madness In Print  Look-In - September 1983 - Secrets Of The Silly Seven!
If you had the wings of a dove, what would you do with them? Well, the seven nuttiest musicians in the country, Madness, have been using their new found powers of flight to soar up the hit parade! As all pop fans must know by now, Wings Of A Dove is the title of the Mad boys’ single. To celebrate their latest success, we’ve rounded up some little known Madness facts, and bring you …


The record Wings Of A Dove is quite unusual in itself, for featured alongside the familiar crazy antics of the band are the talents of a huge gospel choir and a secondary school’s steel band!

The choir is The First Born Inspirational Church Of The Living God gospel choir, who were spotted by the boys on a Channel 4 arts programme! At first the singers were not keen to record a pop song with Madness, but when they found out it was a song about peace, they jumped at the idea!

Creighton Steel Sounds is the name of the steel band. They are all pupils from Creighton Comprehensive School in Muswell Hill, North London, which is very near the Madness home area of Camden Town. The young musicians apparently created quite a few problems: they got so carried away with the music that they started dancing in the already cramped recording studio!

The band themselves were so pleased with their new sound that they have plans to record a few more songs with the gospel backing.


Suggs is convinced it was his vocals that changed the whole sound of the band, and put them on the road to success! In spite of this fact, he was once sacked by the others for going to watch his favourite team, Chelsea, play football, instead of turning up at rehearsal!

“Of course, when they realised what a dreadful mistake they’d made,” Suggs laughs, “they took me back with open arms!”

Chrissy Boy

Chrissy’s father, John Foreman, had quite a name for himself as a folk singer, and through Chrissy’s childhood he would play the young boy folk classics in the hope that they would make an impression on him!

Chrissy was, to the slight dismay of his father, always much more interested in pop. That may have had something to do with his school, Owen’s Grammar in North London, as it was the same one that Spandau Ballet went to a few years later!


Chas, the last member of the group to join, in December 1979 (after two years travelling around with them as an unofficial Nutty Boy) went to see the Robert Redford film The Sting five nights in a row once! Because he had “nothing better to do”!

Chas has claimed that his ideal holiday would be to tour China on a pushbike! Just looking at the scenery, and dressed up as a Chinaman so as not to be treated like a tourist!


When Mike Barson got married two years ago, all he told the rest of the band was that he might be a little late for rehearsals! The others only learned about the ceremony when it was all over.

As a former art student, one of Barso’s great loves was to travel to North London with Lee, spraying huge graffiti style pictures on walls. One of his ‘masterpieces’ came into the public eye recently when it was featured in a book about London graffiti! Barso, his wife Sandra and their famous dog Chappie – practically a band member turning up in photos, videos and going on tour with them – now live in Holland.


Mark Bedford is the youngest member of the band, and readily admits that when he first met them through their first drummer – his classmate Gary Dovey – he was pretty overwhelmed by their nutty antics!

“I was suddenly in the middle of all these blokes, who were older than me and acting like complete maniacs! It was really unnerving!” Bedders’ musical talents are now spreading beyond Madness, as lately he was been involved with producing records for new bands 23 Skidoo and Strawberry Switchblade, even popping up playing bass on the recent Top 40 hit Shipbuilding by Robert Wyatt.


Lee is the man behind most of the incredible visual stunts on the Maddies’ award-winning videos. Among his proudest moments he numbers the dancing Hilda Ogdens in House of Fun and his flying while blowing his sax in Baggy Trousers! The inspiration for these gags just come to him in flashes, and then he explains the ideas to the special effects team who put them into practice.

While the band was on tour in Australia two years ago, Lee was swimming at Bondi Beach and got swept out to sea by a freak wave. He had to be brought back to shore by two lifeguards, who on finding out who they had rescued asked him for his autograph!


If you ever saw Madness away from the stage or the video film set, the chances are Woody would be asleep! He finds it so easy to nod off that he is the only band member not to get bored on the long journeys touring involves! Anyone who knows the band will tell you that Woody can sleep literally anywhere!

Woody and his wife, Jane, formerly the bass player with the all-girl group The Mo-Dettes, collect old books and soft toys. He claims that the best toy shop he knows is in Tokyo, Japan, and visits it every time he is in that country!

“I’ve got so many stuffed toys I’m running out of places to put them at home!” he jokes. “I suppose it’s because I’m really a big kid at heart.”

- Contributed by Lee 'Loobyloo' Buckley

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