"It Must Be Love" is a song written and originally recorded in 1971 by Labi Siffre. It was also recorded by ska/pop bandMadness in 1981.

The song was featured in the 1989 movie The Tall Guy,[1] starring Jeff GoldblumRowan Atkinson, and Emma Thompson.Suggs, lead vocalist of Madness, also appeared in the movie whilst singing this song. The single was reissued to tie in with the film but was not a hit on that occasion.


 [hide*1 Labi Siffre original

Labi Siffre original[edit]Edit

The original Labi Siffre recording was released as a single in 1971, and reached number 14 in the UK singles chart.[2] It also appeared on his 1972 album Crying Laughing Loving Lying.

In 1994, a version of Siffre's original, with altered lyrics, was featured in an advertisement for Midland Bank.[3] In 2007, it was featured in a UK TV advertisement for Vodafone.[4]

Labi Siffre track listing[edit]Edit

  1. "It Must Be Love" - 3:42
  2. "To Find Love" - 1:57

Madness cover[edit]Edit

Madness' version was originally issued as a standalone single in late-1981 and appeared on their UK number one compilation album Complete Madness the following year, and on many other Madness compilations since. In 1983, it peaked in the US Billboard chart at #33.

In 2009, Madness' cover was featured in an advertisement for LoveFilm. In 2012, it was featured in an US advertisement for Volkswagen Passat.

In 2012 Madness performed the song with Olly Murs at V Festival.

Music video[edit]Edit

The video mostly shows band members playing in a white room and standing over a grave. It also features guitarist Chris Foreman and saxophonist Lee Thompsonplaying their instruments underwater. Foreman appears at the start of the video warning viewers not to attempt the "very dangerous stunt" they are about to see, presumably referring to the swimming pool sequence. Labi Siffre makes a cameo appearance as a violin player.

Madness' recording was reissued in 1992, and this time reached #6 in the UK charts. A slightly remixed version with a definite ending instead of the original fade-out, appeared on the 2002 compilation Our House: the Original Songs.

More recently, in 2007, a remixed version of the Madness cover appeared in the German Edgar Wallace spoof movie Neues vom Wixxer, along with a new recording called "NW5".[5] As well as the remix to the song, a new video was filmed, including three members of the band (SuggsChas Smash, and Daniel Woodgate) along with members of the cast.

Madness cover track listing[edit]Edit

1981 original issue[edit]Edit

  1. "It Must Be Love" - 3:19
  2. "Shadow on the House" - 3:20

1981 Dutch issue[edit]Edit

  1. "It Must Be Love"
  2. "Mrs. Hutchinson"

1992 reissue[edit]Edit

  1. "It Must Be Love" - 3:19
  2. "Bed and Breakfast Man" - 2:33

Two other UK issues of the Madness version appeared but did not chart. In 1987, "It Must Be Love" was released on the re-issue label Old Gold Records, backed with "My Girl"; and, in 1988 Virgin, Madness released a 7" to coincide with the song's appearance in The Tall Guy, backed with "Return of the Los Palmas 7".

Chart performance[edit]Edit

Chart Peak




1981 UK Singles Chart[6] 4 12
1992 UK Singles Chart[7] 6 9

Other versions[edit]Edit

In 2004, Jasper Steverlinck, the singer of the Belgian group Arid, released a cover of the song for his debut album, Songs of Innocence.[8]

In 2007 Kate Ceberano recorded a version for her Nine Lime Avenue album.

In 2007, Paolo Nutini also released a cover of the song for BBC Radio 1's cover compilation album Radio 1 Established 1967.

In popular culture[edit]Edit

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