One Step Beyond (song)

One Step Beyond (song)
"One Step Beyond"
Single by Madness
from the album One Step Beyond...
B-side "Mistakes"
"Nutty Theme"
Released 26 October 1979 (1979-10-26)
Format 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
Recorded 1979
Genre Ska/Pop
Length 2:17
Label Stiff
Writer(s) Cecil Campbell
Producer Clive Langer,
Alan Winstanley
Madness singles chronology
"The Prince"
"One Step Beyond"
"My Girl"
Audio sample
file info · help
One Step Beyond... track listing
Side One
  1. "One Step Beyond"
  2. "My Girl"
  3. "Night Boat to Cairo"
  4. "Believe Me"
  5. "Land of Hope and Glory"
  6. "The Prince"
  7. "Tarzan's Nuts"
Side Two
  1. "In the Middle of the Night"
  2. "Bed and Breakfast Man"
  3. "Razor Blade Alley"
  4. "Swan Lake"
  5. "Rockin' in A-flat"
  6. "Mummy's Boy"
  7. "Madness"
  8. "Chipmunks Are Go!"
Divine Madness track listing
"The Prince"
"One Step Beyond"
"My Girl

"One Step Beyond" is a tune written by Jamaican ska singer Prince Buster[1] as a B-side for his single "Al Capone". It was made famous by British band Madness who covered it for their debut 1979 album, One Step Beyond..., also named after the song.[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, "The Scorcher".

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 video

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, performed the lead vocal chant, 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 art

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.

Other versions

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]

The song has been adopted as an anthem by Carlisle United Football Club, with a special intro recorded by Chas Smash for the club.

Papashanty Saund System, a Venezuelan reggae band uses the song as a base track for their song Wo No Noo in their album Ashanty Grampa as a homage to Madness.


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 (a.k.a. The Heavy Heavy Hits), Complete Madness, It's... Madness Too, Total Madness, The Business (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.

Formats and track listings

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

7" vinyl
Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "One Step Beyond"   Cecil Campbell 2:17
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Mistakes"   John Hasler, Mike Barson 2:39
12" vinyl
Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "One Step Beyond"   Campbell 2:17
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Mistakes"   Hasler, Barson 2:39
2. "Nutty Theme"   Graham McPherson, Lee Jay Thompson 2:10

Chart performance

Chart (1979/1980) Peak
UK Singles Chart[5] 7
Austrian Singles Chart[6] 19
Dutch GfK chart[7] 29
Dutch Top 40[8] 34
Irish Singles Chart[9] 28
Swiss Singles Chart[10] 3
US Billboard Club Play Singles[11] 76

Song appearances

  • It is used in the episode "I'm with the Band" of the 2000-2001 show Freaks and Geeks when one of the characters, Sam Weir, streaks around the school while trying to avoid showering after PE.
  • Appeared in the The Ongoing History of New Music episode "Alt-Rock's Greatest Instrumentals" from 2003.
  • The episode "Secrets and Loans" of Gilmore Girls featured the song during a pep rally.
  • The song is played at Ibrox Stadium when Rangers FC score a goal.
  • Fans of Walsall FC are known to occasionally sing this song.
  • After important home wins, the song is played at Stamford Bridge where Chelsea fans sing and dance along.
  • BDO darts player Darryl Fitton uses this song as his walk-on theme.
  • In the early 1980's MTV used the line "Hey You, Don't Watch That! Watch This!" In the beginning in some of their early ID's for new music airing on the network.


  1. ^ a b Greene, Jo-Ann. ""One Step Beyond Overview"". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 June 2009 (2009-06-13). 
  2. ^ Buskin, Richard. "Classic tracks: 'Our House' by Madness". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 13 June 2009 (2009-06-13). 
  3. ^ a b c "The ascent of Madness: 1979, part 2". Retrieved 13 June 2009 (2009-06-13). 
  4. ^ a b c d "The ascent of Madness: 1980". Retrieved 13 June 2009 (2009-06-13). 
  5. ^ "Chart Stats - Madness - One Step Beyond". Retrieved 13 June 2009 (2009-06-13). 
  6. ^ "Madness - One Step Beyond... - (in German)". Retrieved 13 June 2009 (2009-06-13). 
  7. ^ " - Madness - One Step Beyond... (in Dutch)". Retrieved 13 June 2009 (2009-06-13). 
  8. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 - week 51, 1979". Retrieved 13 June 2009 (2009-06-13). 
  9. ^ " search results". Retrieved 13 June 2009 (2009-06-13). 
  10. ^ "Madness - One Step Beyond... - (in German)". Retrieved 13 June 2009 (2009-06-13). 
  11. ^ "allmusic ((( Madness > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))". Retrieved 13 June 2009 (2009-06-13). 

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