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One Step Beyond (song)

"One Step Beyond" is a tune written by Jamaican ska singer Prince Buster[1] as a B-side for his 1964 single "Al Capone". It was covered by British band Madness for their debut studio album of the same name (1979).[1] Although Buster's version was mostly instrumental except for the song title shouted for a few times, the Madness version features a spoken intro by Chas Smash and a barely audible but insistent background chant of "here we go!". The spoken line, "Don't watch that, watch this", in the intro is from another Prince Buster song, "Scorcher", whilst the next line "This is a heavy heavy monster sound" is taken from Dave & Ansel Collins' hit "Monkey Spanner". The first of those also became a trademark during the early promos of MTV, where the video was in heavy rotation. (Note that "Don't Watch That Watch This" was also shouted at the start of another Dave & Ansel Collins' track, "Funky Funky Reggae" in addition to Prince Buster's "Scorcher").

"One Step Beyond"
Madness - One Step Beyond.jpg
Single by Madness
from the album One Step Beyond...
  • "Mistakes"
  • "Nutty Theme"
Released26 October 1979 (1979-10-26)
Songwriter(s)Cecil Campbell
Madness singles chronology
"The Prince"
"One Step Beyond"
"My Girl"
Audio sample

According to Alan Winstanley, one of the producers, the released Madness version was a rough mix, created by taking the original 1 minute 10 second instrumental and repeating it, with the second half treated with an Eventide harmonizer to make it sound slightly different. Langer and Winstanley intended to do a full remix but found that the double-length rough mix had already been sent for mastering before they got the opportunity.[2]

The song is often used to begin live performances by the band.

Music videoEdit

The single produced the band's first music video, directed by Chuck Statler.[3] The video mainly features a performance on the Hope and Anchor stage in Islington, which was filmed on 7 October 1979.[3] The video also features Chas Smash, performing the lead vocals, although he was not at the time a member of the band. Lead singer Suggs is present in the video in front of the band, holding a microphone, although he does not sing the lead vocals.

Cover artEdit

The cover art for the single is from a photoshoot by Cameron McVey.[3] It is similar to the photograph used on the album cover art, but features the band in a slightly different pose. The Spanish release of the song also featured slightly different cover art, although the photograph used was from the same photoshoot. Even though the lyrics are performed by Chas Smash, he does not feature on the photograph, because he was not a full member of the band at the time. However, he is shown on the back cover of the album in various dancing poses. The Italian version features a two-tone drawing of the pose containing only four dancers.

Other versionsEdit

The album version of the song features the full spoken introduction by Chas Smash. However, this was cut short for the single release. When the song is performed live, Smash regularly ad libs during the instrumental portions of the song.

To capitalise on the success of the song, Madness also recorded the song in different languages. The song was recorded in Spanish as "Un Paso Adelante" and in Italian as "Un Passo Avanti".[4] Chas Smash recorded the vocals for the Spanish version on 30 June 1980 at Eden Studios.[4] The band decided to record the song because many popular English songs at the time were being covered by Spanish artist Luis Cobos, and the band wanted to do it first.[4] The Italian version, "Un Passo Avanti", was used to open up during the Italian part of their world tour, in October 1980.[4]

An extended version of the song, with a run time of 3:33, is included on the 1997 US compilation Total Madness: The Very Best Of Madness (Geffen GEFD-25145). It includes the full spoken introduction by Chas Smash.


In addition to its single release and appearance on the album of the same name, "One Step Beyond" also appears on the Madness collections Divine Madness[5] (a.k.a. The Heavy Heavy Hits), Complete Madness,[6] It's... Madness Too, Total Madness,[7] The Business[8] (which also includes the Italian version), Ultimate Collection and The Millennium Collection. The Spanish version appears on the 1992 releases of the "House of Fun" single. It is also used to open concerts live, and has been since the very first Madstock!.[9]

Formats and track listingsEdit

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "One Step Beyond".

7" vinyl
Side one
1."One Step Beyond"Cecil Campbell2:17
Side two
1."Mistakes"John Hasler, Mike Barson2:52
12" vinyl
Side one
1."One Step Beyond"Campbell2:17
Side two
1."Mistakes"Hasler, Barson2:52
2."Nutty Theme"Graham McPherson, Lee Jay Thompson2:10

Chart performanceEdit


Seattle rock/ska band MOON released their version of 'One Step Beyond' on their 2010 EP called The Moon EP. One video of their live performance on YouTube is available.[21]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Greene, Jo-Ann. "Madness – One Step Beyond..." AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
  2. ^ Buskin, Richard (June 2006). "Classic Tracks: 'Our House' by Madness". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
  3. ^ a b c "The ascent of Madness: 1979, part 2". Archived from the original on 16 July 2009..
  4. ^ a b c d "The ascent of Madness: 1980". Archived from the original on 16 July 2009..
  5. ^ Woodstra, Chris. "Madness – Divine Madness". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  6. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Complete Madness – Overview". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Total Madness: The Very Best of Madness – Overview". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  8. ^ Thompson, Dave. "The Business – Overview". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  9. ^ Cater, Evan. "Madstock – Overview". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  10. ^ " – Madness – One Step Beyond..." (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
  11. ^ "Toutes les Chansons N° 1 des Années 80" (in French). InfoDisc. Archived from the original on 20 November 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – One Step Beyond". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
  13. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Madness - One Step Beyond..." (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
  14. ^ " – Madness – One Step Beyond..." (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
  15. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  16. ^ " – Madness – One Step Beyond...". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
  17. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  18. ^ "One Step Beyond... – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
  19. ^ "TOP – 1980" (in French). Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  20. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1980" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  21. ^ "Moon – One Step Beyond". YouTube. Retrieved 21 January 2014.

External linksEdit