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"Baggy Trousers" is a song by English ska/pop band Madness from their 1980 album Absolutely. It was written by lead singer Graham "Suggs" McPherson and guitarist Chris Foreman, and reminisces about school days. (Mike Barson also received a writing credit in error, the correct McPherson/Foreman credit being used for subsequent releases). The band first began performing the song at live shows in April 1980.
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McPherson later recalled in an interview that "I was very specifically trying to write a song in the style of Ian Dury, especially the songs he was writing then, which [were] often sort of catalogues of phrases in a constant stream." He contrasted "Baggy Trousers" with Pink Floyd's hit Another Brick in the Wall: "I was writing about my time at school. Pink Floyd had that big hit with 'teacher, leave those kids alone'. It didn't really relate to me, because I hadn't been to a public school where I was bossed about and told to sing 'Rule Britannia!' and all that", having instead attended acomprehensive school with much less strictly enforced discipline.Lee Thompson flying through the air.
The music video of this song was shot in a school and park of Kentish Town. The band's saxophone player, Lee Thompson decided he wanted to fly through the air for his solo, with the use of wires hanging from a crane. The resulting shot is one of the most popular of any Madness music videos. Thompson recreated the moment live at the band's reunion concert in 1992, Madstock!, during the band's 2007 Christmas tour, the 2009 Glastonbury Festival as well as at a 2011 TV advert forKronenbourg 1664 in which Madness plays a slow version of "Baggy Trousers". The slow version was later released on the box set compilation A Guided Tour of Madness with the song title Le Grand Pantalon.
The video was met with a great critical response from the public, and was particularly important as it now allowed television shows such as Top of the Pops to show the band's music video, taking strain off the band. Following the release of "Baggy Trousers", the public began to anticipate future Madness music videos.
In addition to its single release and appearance on the album Absolutely, "Baggy Trousers" also appears on the Madness collections Divine Madness (a.k.a. The Heavy Heavy Hits), Complete Madness, It's... Madness, Total Madness, The Business and Our House: the Best of Madness. Its only appearance on a US Madness compilation is on Ultimate Collection.
In 2011 the song was slowed down to half its normal speed and was used for an advert for the Kronenbourg 1664 'Slow' campaign (see above).
In 1986, Colgate used the song's melody in a television advertisement in which a group of kids sings newly written lyrics about Colgate Pump toothpaste.