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Michael Caine (song)

"Michael Caine"
B-side "If You Think There's Something"
Released 2 February 1984
Format 7"
Recorded 1983
Genre Ska/Pop, New Wave
Length 3:39
Label Stiff Records
Writer(s) Carl Smyth (lyrics)
Daniel Woodgate (music)
Producer Clive Langer
Alan Winstanley
Madness singles chronology

"The Sun and the Rain"
"Michael Caine"
"One Better Day"

Music sample
Keep Moving track listing
Side One
  1. "Keep Moving"
  2. "Michael Caine"
  3. "Turning Blue"
  4. "One Better Day"
  5. "March of the Gherkins"
  6. "Waltz into Mischief"
Side Two
  1. "Brand New Beat"
  2. "Victoria Gardens"
  3. "Samantha"
  4. "Time for Tea"
  5. "Prospects"
  6. "Give Me a Reason"
Divine Madness track listing
"The Sun and the Rain"
"Michael Caine"
"One Better Day"

"Michael Caine" is a song by British band Madness from their 1984 album Keep Moving, and was released as a single in the same year. "Michael Caine", written by the unique pairing of Carl Smyth and Daniel Woodgate,[1] featured Smyth on lead vocals, which was unlike most Madness songs, which were sung by Suggs. "Michael Caine" was released in February 1984, and spent 8 weeks in British charts peaking at number 11.

The song is about an informer during the troubles in Northern Ireland.[2] It is named after famous English actor Michael Caine and includes his vocal samples, recorded specifically for this song. When he was first approached to appear on the record, he initially turned the band down, but his daughter on hearing this made him change his mind, telling him how popular they were. The song's hook, a repeated sample of Caine giving his 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.

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

Music video

The music video was also based on Michael Caine's film The IPCRESS File and featured a light bulb being shot as seen in the title sequence from the television spy series Callan.[3] Due to the fact that it was shot on 35mm film (as opposed to the 16mm regularly used), the video took longer to complete than usual.[3] It is because of this that Mike Barson is absent for much of the video. Barson had a plane to catch, and could not stay for the whole filming session.[3]

The video is more serious than most Madness videos up to that point, with only two notably "wacky" moments in the entire music video. The first of these is near the beginning when Mike Barson plays the first few bars on the piano (behind a movie-style credit scroll),before leaving it to play by itself. The second is near the end of the song, as Lee Thompson mimes his saxophone solo using only his hand, with his thumb as the mouthpiece.

At the time of release it was rumoured that Suggs had already left the band to pursue a solo career and it had not yet been released to the music press. This seemed confirmed when is absent for most of the music video, until he appears at the end singing backing vocals.

Formats and track listings

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Michael Caine".

  • 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

Chart (1984) Peak
UK Singles Chart[4] 11 8


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