Night Boat to Cairo

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"Night Boat to Cairo"
Single by Madness
from the album One Step Beyond...
Released 1979
Format 7"
12"
CD
Recorded 1979
Genre Ska, pop
Length 3:31
Label Virgin Records
Writer(s) Graham McPherson (lyrics)
Mike Barson (music)
Producer(s) Clive Langer
Alan Winstanley
Madness singles chronology
"The Harder They Come"
(1992)
"Night Boat to Cairo"
(Reissue-1993)
"Lovestruck"
(1999)
One Step Beyond... track listing
Side One
  1. "One Step Beyond"
  2. "My Girl"
  3. "Night Boat to Cairo"
  4. "Believe Me"
  5. "Land of Hope and Glory"
  6. "The Prince"
  7. "Tarzan's Nuts"
Side Two
  1. "In the Middle of the Night"
  2. "Bed and Breakfast Man"
  3. "Razor Blade Alley"
  4. "Swan Lake"
  5. "Rockin' in A-flat"
  6. "Mummy's Boy"
  7. "Madness"
  8. "Chipmunks Are Go!"
Divine Madness track listing
"My Girl"
(3)
"Night Boat to Cairo"
(4)
"Baggy Trousers"
(5)

"Night Boat to Cairo" is a song by British ska/pop band Madness from their debut 1979 album One Step Beyond.... It was written by Mike Barson and Suggs (Graham McPherson), and was also included on the Work Rest and Play EP, which peaked at #6 in the UK music charts.[1] The song was later re-issued as a single in 1993, following the success of the re-issued version of "It Must Be Love," but failed to reach the top 40, peaking at number 56.[2] The song has an unusual structure, with a single long verse followed by an even longer instrumental section, heavily sax-based. At one point, after a key change from C to F, the instrumental slows right down and momentarily stops, then the opening notes of the song are repeated before the tempo picks up again. It was remixed slightly for inclusion on the band's eponymous 1983 album compiled for the US market. The song is featured in the 2011 Wii video game Just Dance 3. It's often used to close live concerts.

Music video[edit]

Lee Thompson plays saxophone.

After the decision to issue the Work Rest and Play EP, a promotional music video was needed. However, there was a lack of time before the release, and not enough to make an effective video.[1] Therefore, Madness filmed a karaoke type video in front of a blatantly chroma keyed backdrop of an Egyptian pyramid, with the lyrics appearing on screen in "bouncing ball" style as Suggs sang them.[1] During the long instrumental sections of the song, the band often ran around the set, marching and performing their signature "Nutty Train".

Despite the video's poor effects and unprofessional feel, it became very popular with fans.,[1] possibly due to the carefree nature and fooling around of the band onscreen (likely attributable to the large amount of alcohol they consumed while filming).[1]

However, this music video was not used with the 1993 reissue and remixes.

Appearances[edit]

In addition to its EP release and appearance on the album One Step Beyond... "Night Boat to Cairo" also appears on the Madness collections Divine Madness (a.k.a. The Heavy Heavy Hits), Complete Madness, It's... Madness Too, The Business, Our House, Madness and Ultimate Collection. Most compilations contain the album version of the track.

Formats and track listings[edit]

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Night Boat to Cairo".

  • 7" Single
  1. "Night Boat to Cairo" (Barson/McPherson) - 3:31
  2. "Night Boat to Cairo (Paul Gotel Rude Edit)" (Barson/McPherson) - 3:45
  • 12" Single
  1. "Night Boat to Cairo (Paul Gotel Rude Mix)" (Barson/McPherson) - 7:59
  2. "Night Boat to Cairo (Paul Gotel Rude Edit)" (Barson/McPherson) - 3:45
  3. "Night Boat to Cairo (Well Hung Parliament Dub Edit)" (Barson/McPherson) - 5:35
  4. "Night Boat to Cairo (Paul Gotel Rude Instrumental)" (Barson/McPherson) - 7:54
  • CD Single
  1. "Night Boat to Cairo (Barson/McPherson)" - 3:31
  2. "Night Boat to Cairo (Paul Gotel Rude Mix)" (Barson/McPherson) - 7:59
  3. "Night Boat to Cairo (Paul Gotel Rude Edit)" (Barson/McPherson) - 3:45
  4. "Night Boat to Cairo (Well Hung Parliament Dub Edit)" (Barson/McPherson) - 5:35
  5. "Night Boat to Cairo (Paul Gotel Rude Instrumental)" (Barson/McPherson) - 7:54

Influence[edit]

The song inspired the Israeli hit "Rakevet Laila Le-Kahir" Hebrew for "Night Train to Cairo", by the Israeli rock group Mashina. "Night Boat to Cairo" has an interplay between major and minor chords, some arpeggio echoes, and some soaring fiddles in the fade-out. These themes are reminiscent of East European Yiddish refrains; and coupled with an irrepressible syncopated ska rhythm.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1993) Peak
position
Total
weeks
UK Singles Chart[3] 56 2

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "The Ascent of Madness". Retrieved 2010-02-20. March 28th 
  2. ^ "Night Boat To Cairo chart information".  Retrieved on July 11, 2007.
  3. ^ Madness at Official Charts Company Retrieved 21 June 2013