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One stone beyond: Madness see Walk Of Fame tribute slab unveiled

Second stop on new music heritage trail unveiled - and there's more to come

02 March, 2020 — By Richard Osley

Madness in Camden Town today (Monday) with Lynval Golding

MADNESS returned to Camden Town today (Monday) to see a tribute stone unveiled on the new Music Walk of Fame.

The band’s slab has been installed in the pavement close to the Electric Ballroom nightclub in Camden High Street.

Lead singer Suggs joked that the band had “single-handedly turned Camden Town from a shithole into one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.”

The new tribute stone to Camden Town heroes Madness

Lynval Golding from The Specials, reggae DJ David Rodigan, actor Nick Moran and rapper Dizzee Rascal were among the guests. The Mayor of Camden Maryam Eslamdoust helped introduce the ceremony with her baby, Xerxes, bouncing around nearby to the ska sounds playing in the background.

Mr Rodigan said from the stage: “Today is a very important day, not just because of the Walk of Fame and what that means to Camden and the music we make in this country, but also because we are about to unveil a stone dedicated to a band whose influence has been truly phenomenal. They are revered in Jamaica because the Jamaicans know that it was Madness who did so much to spread the music that we know as ska and reggae around the world. Their diehard fans follow them everywhere.”

He added: “If you’ve witnessed a concert from Madness, you’ll know, apart from the sartorial elegance of the band, they are phenomenal musicians. Their energy, commitment and passion is at a level of its own. I know as a lad growing up how important the music was to me. I got hooked on it as a teenager, and I never stopped loving it, in the way that Madness did.”

Fans watch the ceremony in Camden High Street, while Mayor of Camden Maryam Eslamdoust’s son Xerxes enjoys the beat

“They turned the world on to it in a way that perhaps wouldn’t have happened had they not done what they did. The intro to One Step Beyond is now known as an anthem throughout the world. If you love music, you know that song. It was their way of saluting Prince Buster and the people who made the music in Jamaica.”

Turning to the band’s members, Mr Rodigan said: “Madness, this is an historic day for all of us, but we salute you for all that you’ve done for the music and continue to do.”

Suggs has a big hug for Music Walk of Fame founder Lee Bennett

Fans arrive by scooter

Madness last year celebrated their 40th anniversary in the music industry with a special gig at the Electric Ballroom; tickets were charged at 1979 prices. Their back catalogue of hits include Our House, Baggy Trousers, It Must Be Love and House Of Fun. Gigs at the Dublin Castle music pub in Parkway, Camden Town, helped give them a stage at the start of their career and the venue appears at the start of the video for the band’s song My Girl.

Camden Music Walk of Fame founder Lee Bennett said: “Madness, this mob, are a British institution, an inspiration to all, icons, and just down to earth, crazy Camdenites. I remember watching an interview with Gwen Stefani where she had said ‘had it not been for madness, there would have been No Doubt’, as in the band. And this weekend I listened to a John Lennon interview from the late 70s about new music and he stated how much he liked Madness. I don’t know if the boys know that or not.”

Dizzee Rascal helped introduce the band

Chas Smash was wrapped up warm

The stone for Madness is the second stop on a long-planned Hollywood Boulevard-style trail which aims to celebrate the area’s musical heritage with the tributes to line the route between Mornington Crescent and Chalk Farm underground stations. The Who had been the first act honoured at the project’s official launch in November.

DJ David Rodigan heads to the stage

Lynval Golding from The Specials and, below, another hug from Suggs

In a 20 second contribution, Dizzee Rascal said: “Madness are very serious. They are a national treasure, so it is an honour for me to be here. I hope I get this much love when I’m 40 years in the game as well.”

Events to mark the contributions of Amy Winehouse and Soul II Soul and extend the walk of fame are planned for later this week.

Mr Bennett had begun the ceremony by reading a list of musicians and DJs who passed away in the first two months of 2020, including Andy Weatherall and Andy Gill, from Gang Of Four.

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