Uncle Sam (song)

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"Uncle Sam"
Single by Madness
from the album Mad Not Mad
Released October 14, 1985
Format vinyl record 7"
Genre Ska, pop
Length 3:04
Label Zarjazz
Writer(s) Lee Thompson
Chris Foreman
Producer(s) Clive Langer
Alan Winstanley
Madness singles chronology
"Yesterday's Men" "Uncle Sam" "Sweetest Girl"
Divine Madness track listing
"Yesterday's Men"
(20)
"Uncle Sam'"
(21·→)
"(Waiting For) The Ghost Train"
(22)

"Uncle Sam" is a song by British ska/pop band Madness from their 1985 album Mad Not Mad. It was predominantly written by their saxophonist Lee Thompson, but partially credited to their guitarist Chris Foreman.

Background[edit]

The single spent 11 weeks in British charts peaking at number 21, ending a run of 20 consecutive top 20 entries stretching back to their 1979 debut "The Prince". It was also issued in a 'Flag Bag' - the 7" single wrapped in an American flag with the titles in Russian printed on the flag. The song's lyrics are the narrative of a soldier's experiences in World War II. The track was edited for release as a single, the album version being over a minute longer.

Music video[edit]

Madness released a music video to accompany the single which is a parody of British relations with the United States (US). The video opens at an address of English row houses. A milk truck arrives with a delivery. A man comes down the sidewalk from one of the doors dressed in suit and a cowboy hat, waving in an exaggerated "yank" manner. A paperboy and other working men come along the street. A news announcer breaks in with an "important announcement," and the video cuts to a toy battleship sailing on a map table within one of the houses. The man operating the ship is dressed in a military uniform, wearing a World War II type steel helmet and a French Foreign Legion jacket with epaulets. His uniform includes the 1st Foreign Regiment and 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment wings insignia. The music begins.

The singer sits outside and interacts with the working men. As he sings, he dons a wizard's hat and the scene changes to a battlefield with an armed vehicle, a fallen bomb and a barbed wire fence where troops are attacking the row house. The troops succeed in taking the house, and they sit on the sofa and eat snacks. The scene changes to a desert island with a band with a US flag and dressed in US naval uniforms. The troops from the house arrive with their bomb, which they explode. Back at the row house, a man dressed as a woman appears, breaks plates and attacks the man in the Foreign Legion uniform. The wizard sits in the house and sings. The band plays on the island. The scene changes and the band dressed in naval uniforms launches in an actual WWII type amphibious vehicle. They motor down the river, waving to people on other boats. The scene cuts back and forth from the river, to the island, to the row house. The video ends with a giant can of Coke falling on the island.

Appearances[edit]

In addition to its single release and appearance on the album Mad Not Mad, "Uncle Sam" also appears on the Madness collections Divine Madness (a.k.a. The Heavy Heavy Hits), Total Madness, The Business.

Track listing[edit]

7" Single:

  1. "Uncle Sam" - 3:04 (Horns:- Gary Barnacle)
  2. "Please Don't Go" - 3:21

12" single:

  1. "Uncle Sam (Raygun Mix)" - 6:42
  2. "Uncle Sam (demo)"
  3. "Please Don't Go" - 3:26

7" Picture Disc:

A Side (45rpm)

  1. "Uncle Sam" 3:04

B Side (33rpm)

  1. "Please Don't Go" 3:26
  2. "Inanity Over Christmas" 3:50

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
position
Total
weeks
UK Singles Chart[1] 21 11

References[edit]

  1. ^ Madness at Official Charts Company Retrieved 21 June 2013

External links[edit]