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Friends, mad heads and countrymen. Lend me your ears. This year be the 40th anniversary of the groupus maximus MADNESS XL. And to celebrate the country will be witness to celebrations of Romanesque proportions!

Madness today unveil plans for another jam packed year, as 2019 shapes up to be one of the biggest yet for the legendary, evergreen, band. Fresher of face and fleeter of foot than ever, it’s hard to believe 2019 will mark forty years since a rag tag of self-proclaimed ‘hoolies and urchins’ first emerged, gloriously unreconstructed from the back streets of Camden Town fusing reggae, punk and pop on their classic album ‘One Step Beyond’.

Now entering the 40th year of their near Imperial reign over popular music, 2019 sees a raft of activity, with a very special newly-added show announced today. On August 31st, Madness will play the Winter Gardens in the seaside town of Margate – a fitting setting for a celebration of one of the nation’s best loved songbooks.

Away from the live arena, a typically busy twelve months awaits, with Madness currently beavering away in the studio on new material for release later this year. 2019 also sees autobiography ‘Before We Was We’ emerging over the horizon. Released on 26th September on Virgin Books ‘Before We Was We’ tells the story of how Madness became Madness, how seven unlikely lads become one of the most successful British Pop bands of all time, tracing the bands’ individual stories up to the start of their meteoric rise in 1979. The story of how they became them. You’ll meet a loose gang of misfits and outsiders, travelling round in their Morris Minors, ducking and diving by day, and making their way in London’s exploding music scene by night.

This year of celebrations is the simply the latest stop in what has proven to be an astonishing few years for the resurgent British icons – 2016’s ‘Can’t Touch Us Now’ become the band’s tenth UK top 10 album, racing though gold status in the UK, carrying a raft of rave reviews aloft in the process. They sold more tickets than you could wave a stick at. They played more festivals than they can remember, including the main stage at Glastonbury. Suggs took his One Man ‘What a King Cnut’ stand up show up and down the country, raconteuring to the masses as only he can. Legendary documentary maker Julian Temple bought Suggs’ life story to the big screen with ‘My life Story’, and Lee Thompson skanked down memory lane with his cinematic documentary ‘One Man’s Madness’.

Tightly knit into the very fabric of British life, making like somewhere between the Krays and Monty Python, lies the unparalleled story of Madness. One of the most successful pop groups ever. And as today’s announcement shows once again, one that continues to defy expectations, trends and the aging process.

“40 years at the coal face of modern popular culture. Man and boy. Dedicated to the purveyance of popular music of quality and distinction to the people. Dedicated in our selfless quest to have the nation singing, dancing and making merry through some of the darkest times of the last four decades. There will be feasts, street parties extraordinary concerts of every shape and size up and down the nation. 

We saw off 8 prime ministers, 12 England managers and a nasty bout of lumbago.

But, it’s not the endless achievements, not the unforgettable memories, it’s the fact they’re even still alive! (and miraculously in the rudest of health, thanks for asking.) Raise your glasses, lower your swords ‘arise sir madness!’ Get stuck in! Here’s to the next forty. XL”

Suggs, January 2019

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