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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Madness - House Of Fun

'House of Fun' is a song by British ska/pop group Madness, credited to Mike Barson and Lee Thompson.

It was released as a one-off single on April 30, 1982, and reached number 1 in the UK charts, spending 9 weeks in the charts.

The song was re-released in 1992, reaching number 40.

The song was originally recorded under the title 'Chemist Facade', without the 'Welcome to the House of Fun' chorus. However, while the song was being recorded, head of Stiff Records Dave Robinson demanded that the band add a chorus, to ensure the song was a hit. Upon hearing this, band member Mike Barson immediately wrote the 'Welcome to the House of Fun' refrain on his piano.

The song is about coming of age. The lyrics tell the story of a boy on his 16th birthday attempting to buy condoms at a chemist. The UK age of consent is 16, and he makes a point of stating that he's "16 today and up for fun". However, the boy is misunderstood by the chemist, as he asks for the condoms using slang euphemisms, such as "box of balloons with a featherlight touch" and "party hats with the coloured tips". The confused chemist behind the counter eventually informs the boy that the establishment is not a joke shop, and directs him towards the "House of Fun".

A substantial portion of the music video was filmed at the Pleasure Beach in Great Yarmouth, with parts of the video featuring the band on the Scenic Railway Roller Coaster. This was filmed on March 7, 1982. The video begins with Suggs dressed as a boy entering the shop with Lee Thompson and Chas Smash behind him, playing the saxophone and trumpet respectively. On entering the shop, Suggs acts out the lyrics of the song, awkwardly attempting to purchase condoms, without much success.

A portion of the video was filmed in Escapade, a fancy dress and costume hire that still exists on Camden High Street. The band are later seen in a Barbershop, before the finale of the song is sung on the roller coaster at the aforementioned funfair. The film closes with the band on board an infinite roller coaster loop as the chorus fades.

Despite the fact that 'House of Fun' did not get released in the US, the music video was shown on the newly launched MTV. Due to this, the music video, along with others such as 'It Must Be Love' and 'Cardiac Arrest', helped set the stage in the US for Madness' future song 'Our House', which was their biggest stateside hit by far, peaking at number 7 in May 1983.

Click the link below to download the following:
Single Version
Don't Look Back - B-Side


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