Madness pay tribute to Prince Buster – 'A huge impact on everything we did'

Group dedicate their performance of The Prince at BBC festival to the late ska legend

Madness – who took their name from one his songs, whose first single was about him, and whose breakthrough hit was a cover of one of his tracks – paid tribute to ska legend Prince Buster on Sunday.

The band were appearing at Radio 2’s Festival in a Day in Hyde Park in London, and dedicated a version of their first single The Prince to Buster, who died on Thursday.

Madness singer Suggs told the BBC how crucial Prince Buster had been to the group. “The fact he came from the streets and he had a terrific sense of humour and energy – it really appealed to us and it had a huge impact on everything we did, really.”

Madness play their first single, The Prince, on Top of the Pops in 1979.

He added: “It’s like the Monty Python thing about the Romans: ‘What did Prince Buster ever do for us?’ A great deal indeed.”

Madness’s second single, One Step Beyond, was a cover of a Prince Buster song, and their first top 10 hit. They also covered his song Madness.

Other heroes of the Two Tone and British ska movement have paid tribute to Buster. “From hip-hop to grime to dancehall to reggae, there can be very little which hasn’t been influenced to some extent by Prince Buster and his combination of singing and talking over rhythms,” said Jerry Dammers, founder of the Specials and the Two Tone label.


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