Uncle Sam (song)

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"Uncle Sam"
Madness Uncle Sam.jpg
Single by Madness
from the album Mad Not Mad
Released 14 October 1985
Format vinyl record 7"
Genre
Length 3:04
Label Zarjazz
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
Madness singles chronology
"Yesterday's Men"
(1985)
"Uncle Sam"
(1985)
"Sweetest Girl"
(1986)
Divine Madness track listing
"Yesterday's Men"
(20)
"Uncle Sam"
(21)
"(Waiting For) The Ghost Train"
(22)

"Uncle Sam" is a song by the English 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]

To accompany the single the band released a music video which can be viewed as a parody of US participation in the Second World War. The video opens with a milk float approaching a row of British terraced houses. A man, dressed in suit and a cowboy hat, with a briefcase, walks down the path from the front door gesticulating and hollering. A paperboy and other working men approach along the pavement. A news announcer breaks in with an "important announcement," and the video cuts to a toy battleship sailing on a map table in an upper room of 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 large epaulettes. His uniform includes the 1st Foreign Regiment and 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment wings insignia. The music begins.

The singer, sat outside on a pillar box, interacts with the working men. As he sings, he dons a wizard's hat and the house's garden in transformed into a battlefield with an armed JEEP, a fallen bomb and a barbed wire fence where troops are attacking the row house. The troops, all sporting wizard hats, succeed in taking the house and sit, snacking, on the sofa. The scene changes to an improbably tiny desert island with the US flag, with the band dressed in US naval uniforms. The General figure sits reading the Gung Ho Yearbook 1945.

The troops from the house arrive with their bomb, which they explode. Back at the terraced house, a man dressed as a woman appears, breaks plates and attacks the man in the General figure and wrestles him to the floor. 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 World War II type amphibious vehicle. The band proceed down river, waving to passing boats and saluting a prominent nearby building. The scene cuts back and forth from the river, to the island, to the house. The video ends with a giant can of Coke, dropped by the General in the house, falling onto 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]