Our House

Album: The Rise & Fall (1982)
Charted: 5 7

Songfacts®:

  • This song describes a packed house filled with fond memories and bustling with activity. There were many like it in England (where Madness is from), especially in the '80s when a tough economy forced many young people to live with their parents. The song is filled with joyful nostalgia, but at the same time, the singer knows he should probably more out. We hear this voice of reason in the line "something tells you that you've got to move away from it."
  • This was written by Madness bass player/vocalist Carl Smyth and guitarist Christopher Foreman. The house where Smyth grew up inspired the lyric.
  • Madness was very popular in their native UK, where this was their 11th Top 10 hit. They barely got noticed in America though, where "Our House" was their only substantial hit. Much of the song's success in the US was down to its witty music video that went over well during the early days of MTV. It was also a time when British bands were trending in the States, with colorful acts like The Human League, Culture Club and Eurythmics making an impact.
  • "Our House" won the Best Song award at the 1983 Ivor Novello Awards.
  • The song's video features the band as a cloth-cap wearing family squashed into a terraced house. Drummer Dan "Woody" Woodgate recalled to Q Magazine August 2008: "The knocking-on-the-door bit where somebody comes out, goes, 'Where are they?' and the others sneak in and close the door... That's The Flintstones. We stole lots of ideas from the Keystone Kops and Benny Hill."
  • Frontman Suggs recalled to The Daily Mirror September 18, 2009: "This was the first time we worked with the string arranger David Bedford. It was clear to him what our records needed and he did great things for us. It's strange now to think we were so philosophical about such everyday things."
  • This was played in a 2007 TV commercial shown in the UK for Bird's Eye Fish Fingers, which features Suggs. In the advert, the Madness singer is sitting with a family at tea time. The daughter is studying for her school exams and asks Suggs where Omega 3 can be found. He offers the answer of Birds Eye Fish Fingers.
  • "Our House" is beloved in England, where it triggers waves of nostalgia. When Madness played it at the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the crowd in Olympic Stadium gleefully sang along.

Comments: 6

  • Ezequiel from Buenos AiresSomeone could tell me what question he said in the intro of our house?
  • Luke from Manchester, UkEsskayess, I think they might like it and since it bears no resemblance - apart from title - to their song, they wouldn't have a problem.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxI wonder what Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young thought of it.
  • Ed from Canton, OhWhen I heard this song this morning, I thought about our own house. We adopted twins yesterday and my oldest goes to college this week. We have 7 kids and it is "usually quite loud". I wonder if my kids will look back on our house fondly like this song does.
  • Eric from Indianapoils, InThis was also in a Folgers commercial a while back.

    Well not the original song, but it was based off of it.
  • Roy from Arnhem, NetherlandsThis song also featured in the popular English comedy The Young Ones
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Van Dyke Parks

Van Dyke ParksSongwriter Interviews

U2, Carly Simon, Joanna Newsom, Brian Wilson and Fiona Apple have all gone to Van Dyke Parks to make their songs exceptional.

Philip Cody

Philip CodySongwriter Interviews

A talented lyricist, Philip helped revive Neil Sedaka's career with the words to "Laughter In The Rain" and "Bad Blood."

Janis Ian: Married in London, but not in New York

Janis Ian: Married in London, but not in New YorkSong Writing

Can you be married in one country but not another? Only if you're part of a gay couple. One of the first famous singers to come out as a lesbian, Janis wrote a song about it.

Mike Campbell

Mike CampbellSongwriter Interviews

Mike is lead guitarist with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and co-writer of classic songs like "Boys Of Summer," "Refugee" and "The Heart Of The Matter."

Timothy B. Schmit

Timothy B. SchmitSongwriter Interviews

The longtime Eagle talks about soaring back to his solo career, and what he learned about songwriting in the group.

dUg Pinnick of King's X

dUg Pinnick of King's XSongwriter Interviews

dUg dIgs into his King's X metal classics and his many side projects, including the one with Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam.