Work Rest and Play is an EP by British ska/pop band Madness. The EP was headlined by the song "Night Boat to Cairo", from the band's debut album One Step Beyond.... It entered the UK Singles Chart on 5 April 1980, reached a high of number 6.
After the release of "My Girl", the band felt that they had exhausted the material from One Step Beyond..., and did not want to release any more singles from the album. However, Dave Robinson, head of Stiff Records, disagreed.Eventually, a compromise was made, and the band decided to release an EP featuring one album track and three new tracks. The "Work Rest and Play" EP was the result.
The EP's success was largely down to "Night Boat to Cairo", which headlined the set and had an accompanying music video. The fourth song, "Don't Quote Me On That", was a commentary on press coverage which had tried to paint the band as racists who supported the National Front. Some of the band's shows had been disrupted by skinhead violence and, in a 1979 NME interview, Madness member Chas Smash was quoted as saying "We don't care if people are in theNF as long as they're having a good time." This was quoted to add to the speculation that Madness was a racist band supporting the National Front, although the band members denied those allegations.
A promotional 12" single was issued in the UK featuring Don't Quote Me On That backed with Swan Lake from the One Step Beyond... album. The version of Don't Quote Me On That is a different mix from the one used on the EP, and can be heard during the opening titles of the Madness film 'Take It Or Leave it'.
Releases varied. Some countries opted to issue Night Boat To Cairo as a two-track 45rpm single, containing different b-sides: in France Swan Lake; in Belgium The Young & The Old and in Germany the alternative mix of Don't Quote Me On That. In the Netherlands Night Boat To Cairo was the b-side and Tarzan's Nuts from One Step Beyond was the a-side of the 45rpm single, this is in addition to the 33rpm EP which was also issued there. In the UK 45rpm DJ and jukebox editions were printed up with Deceives The Eye as the b-side. In Italy a 33rpm 12" single was released with Un Passo Avanti (One Step Beyond sung in Italian) and Night Boat To Cairo on the one-side and The Young & The Old and Don't Quote Me On That on the other.
When Japan released the Grey Day lead 6-track 12" EP in 1981 it contained the three 1980-recorded Work Rest & Play EP tracks, two of which were alternate mixes: the already mentioned Don't Quote Me On That, plus Deceives The Eye which ends cleanly without Suggs' echoing, fading vocal.
The 2010 re-release of the band's first studio album One Step Beyond... includes the three original songs from the Work Rest and Play EP as bonus tracks on a second CD.Lee Thompson plays saxophone.
After the decision to issue the EP, a promotional music video was needed. However, there was a lack of time before the release, and not enough to make an effective one. As "Night Boat to Cairo" was the leading track from the EP, a music video of the song was created to represent the EP as a whole.
Madness filmed a karaoke type video in front of a blatantly chroma keyed backdrop of an Egyptian pyramid, with the lyrics appearing on screen in "bouncing ball" style as Suggs sang them. During the long instrumental sections of the song, the band often run around the set, marching and performing their signature "Nutty Train".
Despite the video's poor effects and unprofessional feel, it became very popular amongst fans. This is possibly due to the carefree nature and fooling around of the band, probably down to the large amount of alcohol drunk while filming.
- "The Young and the Old" (McPherson/Barson) - 2:03
- "Don't Quote Me on That" (Tosh/Smyth)- 4:31