One Hit Wonders: Madness

Hi Everybody! Welcome back to another week of one-hit wonders, courtesy of Robert. Again, a quick disclaimer: these artists have only charted in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. only once. Some artists, such as today’s may have had hits in other countries. But, we are only including one hit wonders in the U.S. Now, here is Robert!


Yes, I am back with more One Hit Wonders of the ‘80s. I hope you have enjoyed the first ten songs and maybe even (re)discovered a few you have not heard in a while. This week I have five more comin’ at you – hope you enjoy this week’s selections.

Our House by Madness

1983 marks this English ska band’s only hit here in the U.S. Granted, they have achieved enormous success in their native England and other European countries, but #7 on the AT 40 charts is their highest (and only) single to break through here. This song was an enormous hit in Holland where I spent many of my summers living with my grandparents. I was lucky enough to have several Dutch friends who spoke perfect English and helped me learn Dutch so I could effectively communicate with my grandparents (who only knew the English curse words). We loved this song and listened to it hundreds of times. In 1983, at the tender age of fourteen, I probably did not fully understood why I liked this song – but now I do! “Our House” offers a idyllic look at middle class life. A large, close knit family is living together in a large house and working just to get by. It just a normal household:

Father wears his Sunday best
Mother’s tired she needs a rest
The kids are playing up downstairs
Sister’s sighing in her sleep
Brother’s got a date to keep
He can’t hang around

Nothing fancy or unusual here, just a glimpse into an everyday home. What I did not realize when I was a kid is that I would miss this easy growing up style of life. I, like most of us, took this time for granted – just like Madness:

I remember way back then when everything was true and when
We would have such a very good time such a fine time
Such a happy time
And I remember how we’d play simply waste the day away
Then we’d say nothing would come between us two dreamers

Man, do I miss those times! For the past twenty-five years I have tried to give my own four children a similar basis for their memories. I know very little about ska music, so it is the lyrics that touch me in this song.

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