Ebury's Virgin Books has acquired world rights in the first book by pop group Madness, to be published to celebrate the group’s 40th anniversary. The deal was concluded with the band by Virgin Books senior editorial director Lorna Russell.
Before We Was We will be the story of the band’s beginnings in Camden Town in the 1970s when they travelled to gigs in their Morris Minor vans. The publisher says: “Amid a grim landscape of bomb sites, squats, public baths and rough pubs, a loose gang of misfits and outsiders started hanging out together – riding freight trains, spraying graffiti, stealing records, clothes and musical instruments. Escaping the fringes of petty criminality, they formed a band…”
The book will recount how these formative years provided the inspiration for many of the band’s classic songs, including ‘Baggy Trousers’, ‘My Girl’ and ‘Our House’. The publisher adds: “This is the riotous coming-of-age tale of seven unique individuals, whose collective graft, energy and talent took them from the sweaty depths of the Hope and Anchor basement to the Top of the Pops studio.”
Russell said: “I am thrilled to be publishing what has to be the best origin story in British pop, veering around somewhere between the Krays and Monty Python, and set to unforgettable music. And as one of their huge multitude of fans, I can’t wait to read it.”
The band called the book: “Everything we could remember, in one easy-to-read volume.”
Virgin Books will publish Before we Was We: The Making of Madness on 26th September at £20.