"Embarrassment" is a song recorded by ska/pop band Madness, predominantly written by Lee Thompson, but partially credited to Mike Barson.[1][2] The band first began performing the song at live shows in April 1980,[3] and it was featured on their second studio album, Absolutely.

The song was released as a single on November 14, 1980, and spent 12 weeks in the UK singles chart and reached a high of number 4.[3] The song was remixed for issue as a single, which is different from the album version, although they both have the same running time.

Contents[edit | edit source]

 [hide*1 Lyrical content

Lyrical content[edit][edit | edit source]

The meaning behind the song was particularly dark, considering the band's previous material. Primarily written by Lee Thompson, the plot of the song reflected the unfolding turmoil following the news that his teenage sister, Tracy Thompson, had become pregnant and was carrying a black man's child. The subsequent rejection by her family, and the shame felt, was reflected in the song.[4]

As Thompson was on the road with the band, he only heard snippets of the story, through phone calls and letters, but this was enough for him to piece the story together. The song is a clear indication of changing attitudes (see miscegenation). The real-life story had a happy ending, however; Thompson later stated that when the child named "Hayley" was born, the antipathy of Tracy's relatives dissolved.[1]

Music video[edit][edit | edit source]


Suggs at the Embassy Club bar.

The music video for the single was filmed in Embassy Club, London, on 7 and 8 November 1980.[3] The music video was particularly dark for Madness, corresponding to the lyrical content of the song. The video mainly featuresSuggs at a gloomy bar, interspersed with shots of the band playing variousbrass instruments.

Appearances[edit][edit | edit source]

In addition to its single release and appearance on the album Absolutely, "Embarrassment" also appears on the Madness collections Divine Madness(a.k.a. The Heavy Heavy Hits), Complete MadnessIt's... MadnessThe BusinessOur House and the US compilation Ultimate Collection.

Track listing[edit][edit | edit source]

  1. "Embarrassment" (Barson/Thompson) - 3:10
  2. "Crying Shame" (Barson) - 2:36

Chart positions[edit][edit | edit source]

Chart Position
Dutch Singles Chart 2
UK Singles Chart 4


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