Night Boat To Cairo

Album: One Step Beyond... (1979)
Charted: 6

Songfacts®:

  • This was the lead track from Madness' Work Rest And Play EP. The song consists of two halves of a saxophone solo separated by a strange little story sung by "Suggs" McPherson about a late night boat stranded on the River Nile.
  • Madness were about to go on tour and didn't really want to do a video for this but eventually they relented and hired a studio with a mocked up desert. In the Madness Information Service (MIS) fanzine, Chris Foreman (Chrissie Boy) said: "During the filming we had an idea that was used a lot... basically slowing down the music and film so that when you run it at normal speed we all tended to move in slow motion which nullified the effect. At the end Bedders hams it up as the thirsty soldier and gets a playful prod in the behind. 'Who was it?' He said half serious. No-one owned up. The final film revealed an Adidas trainer as the guilty part. Stand up Lee Thompson and be judged (Oh, you are standing up!!)." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for above 2
  • Chris Foreman in Uncut magazine March 2008: "(Co-producer) Clive Langer suggested strings on 'Night Boat To Cairo' and I thought it was the ponciest idea I'd ever heard, but it turned out really good. Maybe we should have had strings on some of the other tracks too."
  • This song opens with a lengthy instrumental, which was supposed to continue for the entire song. Keyboardist Mike Barson explained in Daniel Rachel's The Art of Noise: Conversations with Great Songwriters: "It was supposed to be an instrumental and then Suggs bloody got hold of it and wrote all those dodgy lyrics."

Comments: 1

  • Edward Pearce from Ashford, Kent, EnglandMy favorite Madness track. It a combination of ska rhythms, North African music, and a John Barry film score.
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