Michael Caine (song)

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"Michael Caine"
Single by Madness
from the album Keep Moving
B-side "If You Think There's Something"
Released 30 January 1984
Format 7"
Recorded 1983
Genre Ska, pop, new wave
Length 3:39
Label Stiff Records
Writer(s) Carl Smyth (lyrics)
Daniel Woodgate (music)
Producer(s) Clive Langer
Alan Winstanley
Madness singles chronology
"The Sun and the Rain"
"Michael Caine"
"One Better Day"
Music sample

"Michael Caine" is a song by British band Madness, released on 30 January 1984 as the first single from their album Keep Moving.[1] The song was written by Carl Smyth and Daniel Woodgate,[2] and featured Smyth on lead vocals in place of usual Madness vocalist Suggs. "Michael Caine" spent 8 weeks in British charts, peaking at number 11.

The song is about an informer during the troubles in Northern Ireland.[3] It is named after English actor Michael Caine and includes his vocal samples, recorded specifically for this song. When he was first approached to appear on the record, he initially turned the band down, but his daughter on hearing this made him change his mind, telling him how popular they were. The song's hook, a repeated sample of Caine giving his name, recalls his role in the 1960s spy film The Ipcress File, in which his character, Harry Palmer, repeats his name while trying to stay sane under torture.

The German synthpop band And One recorded a cover of the song on their album 9.9.99 9uhr.

Music video[edit]

The music video was also based on Michael Caine's film The IPCRESS File and featured a light bulb being shot as seen in the title sequence from the television spy series Callan.[4] The video took longer to complete than usual, due to being shot on 35mm film as opposed to 16mm.[clarification needed][4] As a result, Mike Barson is absent for much of the video; he had a plane to catch, and could not stay for the whole filming session.[4] The video was more serious than most Madness videos up to that point.

At the time of release it was rumoured that Suggs had already left the band to pursue a solo career and it had not yet been released to the music press.[citation needed]

Formats and track listings[edit]

  • 7" Single
  1. "Michael Caine" (Smyth/Woodgate) - 3:39
  2. "If You Think There's Something" (Barson) - 3:08
  • 12" Single
  1. "Michael Caine (extended version)" (Smyth/Woodgate) - 4:08
  2. "Michael Caine" (Smyth/Woodgate) - 3:39
  3. "If You Think There's Something" (Barson) - 3:08

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1984) Peak
UK Singles Chart[5] 11 8


  1. ^ "Record News". NME (London, England: IPC Media): 37. 28 January 1984. 
  2. ^ "Allmusic.com Keep Moving Overview".  Retrieved on June 27, 2007.
  3. ^ "allexperts.com Michael Caine".  Retrieved on October 26, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c "The Madness Timeline: 1984". Archived from the original on 2008-11-14. Retrieved June 27, 2007. 
  5. ^ Madness at Official Charts Company Retrieved 21 June 2013