Mike Barson

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Mike Barson
Birth name Michael Barson
Born (1958-04-21) 21 April 1958 (age 56)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Genres 2 Tone, ska, pop, new wave
Occupations Songwriter, musician
Instruments Keyboard, piano, organ, harmonica, vibraphone, guitar, saxophone
Years active 1976–1984, 1992–present
Labels 2 Tone, Stiff, Virgin, V2, Go Discs!, Lucky 7 Records
Associated acts Madness, Suggs
Website Madness.co.uk

Michael "Mike" "Monsieur Barso" Barson (born 21 April 1958) is a British musician, best known as a founding member and keyboardist of the second wave ska band, Madness.


Born in Edinburgh, Barson grew up in North London with his 2 brothers Dan and Ben (Father of Hannah Barson). He is often known by the nicknames 'Monsieur Barso or Barzo'.

Barson co-founded a band called "The Invaders" in 1976.[1] Soon, they changed their name to Madness after the song by Prince Buster[2] and became one of the popular bands in Two Tone, and of the 1980s. In 1984 after the recording of the album Keep Moving and appearing in the promo clips for the two singles from that album – "Michael Caine" and "One Better Day" – Barson, who was one of the main songwriters and effectively the musical director, left the band to spend more time with his now ex-wife Sandra in Amsterdam. Two years later Madness disbanded, but Barson did join them for the recording of their final single, "(Waiting For) The Ghost Train."

They reunited in their original line-up in 1992,[1] and he still plays with them. In 1995, he co-wrote and produced a number of songs for Suggs' first solo album The Lone Ranger. When No Doubt were recording songs for their fifth studio album Rock Steady, Barson was asked to play piano on the London version of the song "Everything in Time". Barson obliged and the track was produced by Madness producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley. The track never made it onto the album, but was released a year later in 2003 on the compilation album B-sides, Remixes and Rarities.

Both Barson and his bandmate, Suggs, have contributed to the Audio Bully's album Higher Than The Eiffel. They both appear on the tracks "Twist Me Up" and "Goodbye".

He has three sons, Jamie, Timothy and Joey.

Mike Barson is currently recording a new album with Madness and in May 2012 married his long-term girlfriend.


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