It Must Be Love (Labi Siffre song)

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"It Must Be Love" is a song written and originally recorded in 1971 by Labi Siffre. It was also recorded by ska/pop band Madness in 1981.

The song was featured in the 1989 movie The Tall Guy,[1] starring Jeff Goldblum, Rowan Atkinson, and Emma Thompson. Suggs, lead vocalist of Madness, also appeared in the movie while singing this song. The single was reissued to tie in with the film but was not a hit on that occasion.

Labi Siffre original[edit]

The original Labi Siffre recording was released as a single in 1971, and reached number 14 in January 1972 in the UK singles chart.[2] It also appeared on his 1972 album Crying Laughing Loving Lying.

In 1994, a version of Siffre's original, with altered lyrics, was featured in an advertisement for Midland Bank.[3] In 2007, it was featured in a UK TV advertisement for Vodafone.[4]

Labi Siffre track listing[edit]

  1. "It Must Be Love" – 3:42
  2. "To Find Love" – 1:57

Madness cover[edit]

"It Must Be Love"
Madness - It Must Be Love.jpg
Single by Madness
from the album Complete Madness
Released25 November 1981
Formatvinyl record 7" , CD , cassette
GenreReggae, pop
LabelStiff Records
Songwriter(s)Labi Siffre
Producer(s)Clive Langer
Alan Winstanley
Madness singles chronology
"Shut Up"
"It Must Be Love"
"Cardiac Arrest"

Madness' version was originally issued as a standalone single in late-1981, reaching #4 on the UK singles chart, and appeared on their UK number one compilation album Complete Madness the following year, and on many other Madness compilations since. In 1983, it peaked in the US Billboard chart at #33.

In 2009, Madness' cover was featured in an advertisement for LoveFilm. In 2012, it was featured in a US advertisement for Volkswagen Passat.

In 2012 Madness performed the song with Olly Murs at V Festival.

Music video[edit]

The video mostly shows band members playing in a white room and standing over a grave. It also features guitarist Chris Foreman and saxophonist Lee Thompson playing their instruments underwater. A killer whale is also seen. Foreman appears at the start of the video warning viewers not to attempt the "very dangerous stunt" they are about to see. Labi Siffre makes a cameo appearance as a violin player.

Madness' recording was reissued in 1992, and this time reached #6 in the UK charts. A slightly remixed version with a definite ending instead of the original fade-out, appeared on the 2002 compilation Our House: the Original Songs. In 2007, a remixed version of the Madness cover appeared in the German Edgar Wallace spoof movie Neues vom Wixxer, along with a new recording called "NW5".[5] As well as the remix to the song, a new video was filmed, including three members of the band (Suggs, Chas Smash and Dan Woodgate) along with members of the cast.

Madness cover track listing[edit]

1981 original issue[edit]

  1. "It Must Be Love" – 3:19
  2. "Shadow on the House" – 3:20

1981 Dutch issue[edit]

  1. "It Must Be Love"
  2. "Mrs. Hutchinson"

1992 reissue[edit]

  1. "It Must Be Love" – 3:19
  2. "Bed and Breakfast Man" – 2:33

Two other UK issues of the Madness version appeared but did not chart. In 1987, "It Must Be Love" was released on the re-issue label Old Gold Records, backed with "My Girl"; and, in 1988 Virgin, Madness released a 7" to coincide with the song's appearance in The Tall Guy, backed with "The Return of the Los Palmas 7".

1992 Virgin reissue[edit]

  1. "It Must Be Love" – 3:19
  2. "Bed and Breakfast Man" – 2:33
  3. "Airplane" – 2:59
  4. "Don't quote me on that – 4:35

Chart performance[edit]

Chart Peak
1981 UK Singles Chart[6] 4 12
1992 UK Singles Chart[7] 6 9
1983 US Billboard Hot 100[8] 33 12

Other versions[edit]

In 1975, the song was covered by New Seekers singer Lyn Paul.

In 2004, Jasper Steverlinck, the singer of the Belgian group Arid, released a cover of the song for his debut album, Songs of Innocence.[9]

In 2007 Kate Ceberano recorded a version for her Nine Lime Avenue album.

In 2007, Paolo Nutini also released a cover of the song for BBC Radio 1's cover compilation album Radio 1 Established 1967.

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ "Madness – IMDb". IMDB. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  2. ^ "Labi Siffre". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  3. ^ Thomas, Sean (4 December 1994). "Sounds like Madness (or Fleetwood Mac...)". Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Music in Vodafone TV Adverts and Commercials".
  5. ^ "Madness – NW5 (I Would Give You Everything) (CD)". Discogs. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  6. ^ Madness at Official Charts Company Retrieved 21 June 2013
  7. ^ Madness at Official Charts Company Retrieved 21 June 2013
  8. ^ Madness Chart History | Billboard Retrieved 24 September 2016
  9. ^ "Jasper Steverlinck – Songs of Innocence". Discogs.
  10. ^ Brown, Paul (26 January 2012). "LOVEFILM Instant – It Must Be Love". TV Ad Music. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  11. ^ Mullan, Lotte (19 January 2012). "LOVEFILM have used my version of "It must be love"..." Tumblr. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  12. ^ "Ogilvy provides more hugs for Huggies". 16 March 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  13. ^ "Huggies refreshes 'Hugs' brand campaign – mUmBRELLA". mUmBRELLA. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2013.

External links[edit]