House of Fun

House of Fun

Infobox Single
Name=House of Fun

from Album=
Released=April 30, 1982
Label=Stiff Records
Writer = Lee Thompson (lyrics) Mike Barson (music)
Producer=Clive Langer Alan Winstanley
Chart position=* #1 (UK)
* #5 (AUS)
Last single="Cardiac Arrest"
"It Must Be Love"
This single="House of Fun"
"House of Fun"
Next single="Driving in My Car"
"My Girl"
Misc = Extra album cover 2
Upper caption = Alternate Cover
Lower caption = Front cover of 1992 reissue
Type = Single

Extra tracklisting
Album = Divine Madness
Type = Compilation
prev_track = "Cardiac Arrest"
prev_no = 11
this_track = "House of Fun"
track_no = 12
next_track = "Driving in My Car"
next_no = 13

"House of Fun" is a song by British ska/pop group Madness, credited to Mike Barson and Lee Thompson. cite web|url= |title= " Madness album overview" Retrieved on June 28, 2007.] It was released as a one-off single on April 30, 1982, and reached #1 in the UK charts, spending 9 weeks in the charts. cite web|url= |title= "The Madness Timeline: 1982" Retrieved on June 27, 2007.] The song was re-released in 1992, reaching #40. As of 2008, it is the band's only number one single in the UK.


The song was originally recorded under the title "Chemist Facade", without the "Welcome to the House of Fun" chorus. However, while the song was being recorded, head of Stiff Records Dave Robinson demanded that the band add a chorus, to ensure the song was a hit. Upon hearing this, band member Mike Barson immediately wrote the "Welcome to the House of Fun" refrain on his piano. cite web|url= |title= "CLASSIC TRACKS: 'Our House' by Madness" Retrieved on August 22, 2007.]

However, at this point, the song was already recorded, and the management decided not to re-record the whole song. Instead, the recording was edited, and the chorus instruments and vocals dubbed onto the recording. This proved to be difficult, mainly due to technical limitations at the time, and it resulted in the first part of the word "Welcome" being cut off. Due to this, the chorus seemed to begin "Elcome to the House of Fun", so lead singer Suggs was forced to overdub the word "Welcome". Although this proved to be a tough task, it was completed successfully.

Music and lyrical content

are all introduced simultaneously.

Madness guitarist Chris Foreman commented on the song:Comments regarding the song on the back of the "Complete Madness" LP. "V2 Records"]

As mentioned by Foreman, the song is about coming of age. The lyrics tell the story of a boy on his 16th birthday attempting to buy condoms at a chemist. The age of consent is 16 in England, and he makes a point of stating that he's "16 today and up for fun". However, the boy is misunderstood by the chemist as he attempts to purchase the condoms, using slang terms such as "box of balloons with a featherlight touch". The confused chemist behind the counter eventually informs the boy that the establishment is not a joke shop, and directs him towards the "House of Fun".

Promotional film

respectively. On entering the shop, Suggs acts out the lyrics of the song, awkwardly attempting to purchase condoms, without much success.

A portion of the video was filmed in Escapade, a fancy dress and costume hire that still exists on Camden High Street. cite web|url= |title= "Camden Guide, London" Retrieved on July 11, 2007.] The band are later seen in a Barbershop, before the finale of the song is sang on the roller coaster at the aforementioned funfair. The film closes with the band onboard an infinite roller coaster loop as the chorus fades.

Despite the fact that "House of Fun" did not get released in the US, the music video was shown on the newly launched MTV. Due to this, the music video, along with others such as "It Must Be Love" and "Cardiac Arrest", helped set the stage in the US for Madness' future song "Our House", which was their biggest stateside hit by far, peaking at number 7 in May of 1983. cite web|url= |title= "MTV Madness biography" Retrieved on August 24, 2007.] cite web|url= |title= The Madness Story: Chapter 5 Retrieved on June 19, 2007]

Compilation appearances

As well as the song's single release, it has featured on various compilation albums released by Madness. It was initially included on "Complete Madness", which also hit number 1 in the UK at the time of the single's release, meaning Madness were at the top of both the single and album charts. The song was then included on the 1992 compilation "Divine Madness", which was later reissued as "The Heavy Heavy Hits". The song was further included on "The Business" and "It's... Madness". It featured in the Our House musical, which was based on the band's songs, and as such appears on the accompanying soundtrack, "". Furthermore, it was part of the US releases "Madness" and "Ultimate Collection". cite web|url= |title= " 'House of Fun' appearances" Retrieved on August 22, 2007.]

In addition to these releases, the song also features on several "Best of the 80s" albums.

Usage in popular culture

The song was featured in "The Young Ones" episode "Boring" with the band performing in the Kebab & Calculator pub. For the performance, drummer Daniel Woodgate and bassist Mark Bedford switched roles. On entering the pub, Rik Mayall's character, Rick, asks Suggs if the band know "Summer Holiday" by Cliff Richard, to which Suggs replies "You hum it, I'll smash your face in." This segment was filmed on August 19, 1982, and was broadcast on November 23 of the same year.

Credits and personnel

*Lead vocals: Graham McPherson
*Keyboards: Mike Barson
*Guitar: Chris Foreman
*Bass guitar: Mark Bedford
*Drums: Daniel Woodgate
*Saxophone: Lee Thompson
*Trumpet: Cathal Smyth
*Producers: Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley

Formats and track listings

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "House of Fun".

1982 release

*7" Single
#"House of Fun" (Barson/Thompson) - 2:49
#"Don't Look Back" (Foreman) - 3:31

1992 release

*7" Single
#"House of Fun" (Barson/Thompson) - 2:49
#"Un Paso Adelante!" (Campbell) - 2:19

*12" Single
#"House of Fun" (Barson/Thompson) - 2:49
#"Un Paso Adelante!" (Campbell) - 2:19
#"Yesterday's Men" (McPherson/Foreman) - 4:10
#"Gabriel's Horn (demo)" (Smyth) - 3:45

*CD Single
#"House of Fun" (Barson/Thompson) - 2:49
#"Un Paso Adelante!" (Campbell) - 2:19
#"Yesterday's Men" (McPherson/Foreman) - 4:10
#"Gabriel's Horn (demo)" (Smyth) - 3:45

"Un Paso Adelante!" is a Spanish version of the group's 1979 hit "One Step Beyond". The demo of "Gabriel's Horn" was recorded in 1986 when the group were working on the never-completed "Lost in the Museum" album. A version appeared on The Madness' self-titled LP.



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