Madness unveil stone on Camden's Music Walk Of Fame
Suggs joked that Madness had single-handedly turned Camden into “one of the greatest tourist destinations on the planet” as he unveiled a stone on the Music Walk Of Fame in London.
The ska music pioneers, who cut their teeth performing in the area, were presented with the honour by Dizzee Rascal in front of cheering fans and friends including David Rodigan and the mayor of Camden, Cllr Maryam Eslamdoust.
The Who’s Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend unveiled the first stone on the Music Walk Of Fame outside Camden Town underground station in November last year.
The group – currently Mark Bedford, Dan Woodgate, Chas Smash, Mike Barson and Suggs – are only the second act to be honoured.
During a brief speech, frontman Suggs – real name Graham McPherson – paid tribute to The Specials, who alongside Madness paved the way for the ska and two-tone genres.
He said: “I want to thank everyone involved in this. We are very proud to have had this.
“I’m not saying – but we did single-handedly turn Camden Town from a shithole into one of the greatest tourist destinations on the planet.”
Standing arm in arm with The Specials’ Lynval Golding, he added: “With the help of this man here, with the love of music and this man here…
“It was okay because we had this lot – The Specials. Without them, who knows, who knows?”
Madness, whose hits include House Of Fun and It Must Be Love, arrived in a convoy of black and white taxi cabs led by half a dozen Vesper scooters.
Rapper Dizzee Rascal introduced the band, saying: “Forty years in the music game, that’s serious man. They are a national treasure.
“It’s an honour for me to just be here. I hope I get this much love when I’ve been 40 years in the game.”
Reggae DJ and BBC broadcaster Rodigan paid tribute to the band’s famed love of three-piece suits and the enduring influence of their back catalogue.
He said: “If you have witnessed a concert by Madness you will know that apart from the sartorial elegance of the band, they are phenomenal musicians. Their energy and passion is at a level of its own.
“I know that as a lad growing up how important the music was to me. I got hooked on it as a teenager and I never stopped loving it, in the way Madness did.
“They turned the world on in a way that perhaps would not have happened if they did not do what they did.
“The intro of One Step Beyond is now known as an anthem throughout the world. If you love music, you love that song.”
Further stones, including one for Amy Winehouse, will be unveiled this week.
Using the Music Walk of Fame app, visitors will be able to scan the founding stone to be taken on a journey through the culture and history of music.