06/09/79 The Prince (Top of the Pops)
No earthquake may have been erupting (erm, isn’t it volcanoes that…) but the sound of 2-Tone was about to shake up the charts. A fresh-faced Madness (Suggs and Bedders are still only 18) make their television debut on the not-to-be-missed chart show and it’s an exciting, confident and original performance, typified by Chas and his dance stances. Host, Peter Powell gets some help with the band’s introduction from a skinhead from the audience who is standing next to him, proudly showing off his braces. Cliff Richard, meanwhile banishes everyone from his stage area as he sings his no. 1 near the end of the show however Suggs’ suit can be spotted sitting at the side of the stage before skulking off on realising it’s within camera range.
20/09/79 The Prince (Top of the Pops)
Now in the Top 40, Madness are on Top of the Pops again with this porky prime cut and it’s a somewhat similar performance to last time out. Suggs and Chas are looking sharp suited out front again while Lee’s saxophone has impressively grown from baby to baritone in just two weeks.
08/11/79 One Step Beyond (Top of the Pops)
The 2-Tone tour is underway and Madness (now signed to Stiff Records) appear on the same edition of Top of the Pops as former label mates, The Specials and The Selecter. With Chas on the mic for this one, Suggs takes on sax duties with Lee who in turn leads the band on a ‘nutty train’ through a fez wearing audience. All except Woody that is, who stays put behind the kit, next to his cardboard friend, Walt Jabsco. This performance was repeated on the show two weeks later.
11/12/79 Bed & Breakfast Man/Night Boat to Cairo (The Old Grey Whistle Test)
“Shut up, listen and dance”….Madness skank their way through their homage to John Hasler before the low foghorn sounding B♭ on Lee’s sax signals the ‘Night Boat to Cairo’ and the ‘stage’ is overtaken by some sort of dance explosion. It’s winter and probably chilly outside as Suggs dons his crombie overcoat, bowler hat and scarf. This still ranks as one of Madness’ best live television performances, probably my all time favourite anyway.