Michael Caine (song)

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"Michael Caine"
Michael Caine Cover.jpg
Single by Madness
from the album Keep Moving
B-side"If You Think There's Something"
Released30 January 1984
Format7- & 12-inch records
Recorded1983
GenreSophisti-pop
Length3:39
LabelStiff
Composer(s)Daniel Woodgate
Lyricist(s)Carl Smyth
Producer(s)
Madness singles chronology
"The Sun and the Rain"
(1983)
"Michael Caine"
(1984)
"One Better Day"
(1984)
Audio 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 features Smyth on lead vocals in place of usual Madness vocalist Suggs. "Michael Caine" spent eight weeks on the British chart, peaking at number 11.

Lyrical content[edit]

The song is about an informer during the troubles in Northern Ireland, and the lyrics suggest a state of paranoia and mental disintegration.[3] It is named after English actor Michael Caine and includes his vocal samples, recorded specifically for this song. The song's hook, a repetition of Caine introducing himself by 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.

When he was approached to appear on the record, Caine initially refused, but his daughter on hearing his decision made him change his mind, telling him how popular they were.

Music video[edit]

The music video was also based on The Ipcress File, and featured a lightbulb 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 a departure from most Madness videos up to that point, as it was not overtly humorous.

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
position
Total
weeks
UK Singles Chart[5] 11 8

Other version[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Record News". NME. London, England: IPC Media: 37. 28 January 1984.
  2. ^ "Allmusic.com Keep Moving Overview". Retrieved on June 27, 2007.
  3. ^ John Reed (30 August 2014). House of Fun: The Story of Madness. Omnibus Press. pp. 253–6. ISBN 978-1-78323-334-2.
  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