My Girl

Album: One Step Beyond (1979)
Charted: 3
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Madness keyboard player Mike Barson wrote this on the back of a cigarette packet while employed delivering Fyffes bananas. He explained to the Kent Messenger newspaper: "The bloke I worked with on the lorry was always talking about 'My girl and me, we're going to live in Essex. My girl and me, we're going to the coast this weekend."
  • This song is about a guy who likes to keep to himself, which doesn't go over well with his girlfriend. He'd rather stay home and watch TV than head to the theater, and talking on the phone is a chore, filled with long, awkward silences.

    According to Mike Barson, the song is semi-autobiographical. According to his girlfriend at the time, Kerstin Rodgers, it's spot on. "He's not intrinsically a sociable, chatty person," she said in a video feature. "Men like to stay in their man cave, watch football and drink beer on their own, and women are trying to relate to them."
  • Madness emerged from the ska band the Invaders, who formed in London in 1976. They changed their name to Madness in 1978 in honor of an old Prince Buster Ska song. In the UK, they had 16 Top 10 singles between 1979 and 1999, including a #1 in 1982 with "House Of Fun." Their most successful single in the US was "Our House," which peaked at #7.
  • Barson was inspired by the chord progression in Elvis Costello's "Watching The Detectives." He told interviewer Daniel Rachel (The Art of Noise: Conversations with Great Songwriters): "Sometimes you hear a sound or a song that inspires you. I liked that chord progression. On 'My Girl' it's D flat minor going down to A. They had C to A minor and we changed it a semitone. I like those moody/minor key changes. I don't know if I was trying to get it exactly the same; maybe I was."
  • Mike Barson sang on the demo version, having written "My Girl." However, the band's regular singer Suggs soon took over the vocal duties and sang the album version of the song. Co-producer Clive Langer recalled to Uncut magazine:

    "My Girl' jumped out when I first heard them rehearsing. I made a demo with Mike (Barson) doing the lead vocal. I remember (Warners exec) Rob Dickens suggesting that the lead singer should sing it rather than the keyboard player. When it came to the LP that's what we did."
  • Madness recorded a sequel called "My Girl 2" for their 2012 album Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da. The new song continues the story of Mike Barson's volatile relationship with "my girl."
  • Tracey Ullman covered this as "My Guy" in 1984, taking it to #23 in the UK.

Comments: 7

  • Hanny from Roden, NetherlandsTracey Ullman had a modest hit in the Netherlands with her version called (of course) "My guy" in 1984.I like both versions.
  • Lyndon from Cork, IrelandMadness are playing the Marquee in Cork on July 5th and I have my ticket!! Roll back 25 years, hope my knees hold up!! ;-)
  • Al from Baltimore, MdAnyone know the lyrics to "Sorry"? Released March 2007
  • Al from Baltimore, MdThey cameoed TWICE on the Young Ones -second time was Our House.

    Al -USA
  • Amy from Perth, AustraliaMadness are awesome, my dad has Complete Madness...maybe we should add more songs :P
  • Ho Chi Nathan The Fi from Billinge!, AfricaI agree. Madness are awesome. I was hoping for House of Fun at the very least.
  • Lollie from Glasgow, Scotlandaw, come on!! madness are the best band!!! they have a fun lightness you dont find any more! if this is an american site, you probably wont have heard of this, but in the sitcom the young ones, they cameoed as themselves. they sang house of fun and just totally made fun of themselves! they are a great talented band!!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of WayneSongwriter Interviews

The guy who brought us "Stacy's Mom" also wrote the Jane Lynch Emmy song and Stephen Colbert's Christmas songs.

Harry Shearer

Harry ShearerSongwriter Interviews

Harry is Derek Smalls in Spinal Tap, Mark Shubb in The Folksmen, and Mr. Burns on The Simpsons.

Chris Tomlin

Chris TomlinSongwriter Interviews

The king of Christian worship music explains talks about writing songs for troubled times.

Into The Great Wide Open: Made-up Musicians

Into The Great Wide Open: Made-up MusiciansSong Writing

Eddie (played by Johnny Depp in the video) found fame fleeting, but Chuck Berry's made-up musician fared better.

Songs Discussed in Movies

Songs Discussed in MoviesSong Writing

Bridesmaids, Reservoir Dogs, Willy Wonka - just a few of the flicks where characters discuss specific songs, sometimes as a prelude to murder.

George Harrison

George HarrisonFact or Fiction

Did Eric Clapton really steal George's wife? What's the George Harrison-Monty Python connection? Set the record straight with our Fact or Fiction quiz.