Embarrassment

Album: Absolutely (1980)
Charted: 4
  • This song is about the turmoil that engulfed Madness saxophonist Lee Thompson's sister Tracy, after she fell pregnant by a black man. The lyrics express the shame felt throughout the family of having a mixed race baby, an attitude sadly still prevalent in early 1980s Britain. Lee Thompson told the BBC "It was just not accepted in those days. She was shunned by a few people in the family. My father tried to talk her into getting it terminated. My sister dug her heels in and I was caught in the middle, wanting everyone to be happy."
  • The story has a happy ending as Tracy told the BBC that her family eventually came round to their new mixed-race addition "within a couple of years." She added: "Attitudes have changed without a doubt. I've got four mixed-race kids and am now married to a white man. He accepts them without a second thought."
  • Frontman Suggs recalled to The Daily Mirror September 18, 2009 "We were trying to do Motown with this one. Lee Thompson's sister had a baby with a black man and it caused consternation in his family. It's a great lyric - really sensational. You couldn't believe such sensitivity could come from such a rough diamond, but Lee is one of the best lyricists of his time. We were having trouble with people associating us with the NF, so it was nice to establish once and for all that we weren't."

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