2016–present: Can’t Touch Us Now

The band announced their new album Can’t Touch Us Now in May 2016. In support of the album, the band played the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival in June.[61] The lead single “Mr Apples” was accompanied by a scripted video (first one since 2009) and A-listed by BBC Radio 2.[62] The song “Herbert” was released as a taster accompanied by an animation video.[63] Further singles “Can’t Touch Us Now” and “Another Version of Me” was also playlisted by BBC Radio 2. The album itself entered the UK Albums Chart at number 5 in November 2016.[64] The band finished the year on a UK arena tour in December.[65]

Throughout 2017, the band played at several festivals and concerts worldwide including mainland Europe, Asia, and Australia. In April their first Australian gig at the Fremantle Arts Centre in Western Australia sold out, necessitating a second gig the following night. In August, the band hosted their own “House of Common Festival” for the second year on Clapham Common. This was the band’s only London gig of the year.[66]

In 2018, the band embarked on a summer tour of stately homes in the UK before a Christmas arena tour in December.[67][68] Madness performed on New Year’s Eve through to New Year’s Day at “Madness Rocks Big Ben Live”. The entire performance was shown on BBC One before and after that year’s fireworks.[69]

In March 2019, Madness announced the release of their group autobiography, Before We Was We: Madness By Madness, to be released in hardback that October.[70] The book includes commentary from all seven members telling the story of their early days and childhoods up until their breakthrough as a group. In May 2021, the book was adapted as a three-part TV documentary on AMC, with the first part free on BT’s YouTube channel.[71]

The band celebrated 40 years since their first LP release with several special live appearances throughout 2019. The band performed at their own “House of Common” festival in August and held a special concert with a full orchestra at Kenwood House. In November they played at Electric Ballroom in Camden; forty years to the day since one of their first appearances there. The performance was broadcast on Sky Arts in 2020. The band saw the year out with three concerts at The Roundhouse.[72]

In December 2019, the band released a new single, “Bullingdon Boys (Don’t Get Bullied by the Bully Boys)”. The NME described the song as a ‘barbed swipe at Boris Johnson and his Eton cohorts’.[73]

In April 2021, following some special videos created during the COVID-19 pandemic, Madness announced their first global live stream, titled “The Get Up!”, to be held the next month. It featured live music and comedy from the group and Charlie Higson, pre-recorded at the London Palladium.[74] During the live stream, the band was accompanied by Roland Gift and Paul Weller and had a cameo by Queen Elizabeth II, played by Mike Barson.[75] They announced their 2021 tour, The Ladykillers Tour, the next day, to be held alongside Squeeze.