Grey Day

7" Vinyl (45 RPM)

Stiff Records

BUY 112

United Kingdom


‘Grey Day,’ penned by Mike Barson, was the lead single from Madness‘ third studio album, ‘7.’ Released on April 17, 1981, the song significantly departed from the band’s early ska sound. It boldly explored darker themes with a more introspective tone, a musical journey that is sure to captivate fans and music enthusiasts. Despite not featuring the song’s title as a standalone phrase in the lyrics, a couplet in the chorus rhymes ‘grey’ with ‘day,’ encapsulating its melancholic essence. The song’s origins date back to 1978 when Madness, then known as “The North London Invaders,” first performed at Acklam Hall. However, it wasn’t until 1981 that “Grey Day” was officially recorded and released. Its release marked a significant moment in Madness’ musical evolution, showcasing their ability to delve into deeper emotional territory while maintaining their distinctive sound.

Lee: ‘Grey Day dated back to before we were Madness, when we were the North London Invaders… I was in and out of the band at the time, living up in Luton, but I do remember Mike writing the melody to that. And then it just disappeared for ages!

Mike: Lee had this echo machine – it had a tape that went around and around, like an analogue effect. In those days, it wasn’t easy to get equipment, so when he pulled it out at rehearsal we were all really excited, messing about with this echo box of his, and we did this early version of ‘Grey Day that was brilliant.But we didn’t tape it, and we could never remember how it went afterwards. When we finally got around to recording it we did something else instead, but still I think it turned out great. When I wrote lyrics in those days I’d just sit down and write and not really know what I was writing about, and the words would just come. People have said the song is about nuclear holocaust, and I’m like, “Yeah, that sounds good!” I wish it had been about that. What is it actually about? Like I said I don’t know! I was just trying to write something that was like the film Eraserhead. I loved that film, its weird atmosphere. I was just trying to capture that nightmarish feeling.


Territory: United Kingdom

Release Date: April 17, 1981
Format: 7" Vinyl (45 RPM)
Limited Edition: No

Label: Stiff Records

Catalogue Number: BUY 112

Manufactured: United Kingdom

Disc Colour: Black
Pressing: Original Pressing
Release Type: Official


Peak Position: 4
First Chart Date: 18/04/1981
Weeks in Chart: 10
Position DatePosition
18/04/1981 20
25/04/1981 5
02/05/1981 6
09/05/1981 4
16/05/1981 8
23/05/1981 15
30/05/1981 27
06/06/1981 42
13/06/1981 63
20/06/1981 65



1 A1 Grey Day 3:40
1 B1 Memories 2:25


Mike Barson Piano, Organ, Tubular Bells Band
Chris Foreman Guitar, Sitar Band
Lee Thompson Tenor Saxophone Band
Mark Bedford Bass Band
Daniel Woodgate Drums Band
Graham McPherson Vocals, Percussion Band
Cathal Smyth Trumpet Band


Producer Clive Langer
Producer Alan Winstanley


Copyright © Stiff Records
Phonographic Copyright ℗ Stiff Records


Record Label Stiff Records
Publisher Nutty Sounds Ltd.
Publisher Warner Chappell Music Ltd.


Extensive efforts have been made to gather factual information and knowledge on madness from various sources and document them. These sources include publicly accessible websites, books and publications, historical artefacts, and other pertinent materials. As a result, a comprehensive index of resources has been compiled and integrated into the website. These resources, if relevant to this article, are listed below.

ReferenceSource Website Website Website
Madzine Collection Series 3




Introducing Madzine Magazine, Album by Album, Single by Single, Collection Series Two – a 48-page paperback magazine is centred around Madness’ third album, released in 1981, and the singles released worldwide from 1981 through 1982 from Madness 7. The magazine covers every aspect of the album and single releases, making it a must-have for hardcore collectors and casual Madness fans who enjoy reading about the band’s history and catalogue.

Our Madzine Collection Series will meticulously document the Madness Discography as we curate an extensive and comprehensive collection of all things Madness. Using advanced AI search algorithms and an intuitive search function, navigating and discovering within our collection will be effortless and enjoyable. Join us on this exciting journey as we delve into the world of Madness and build the ultimate resource for fans and enthusiasts alike.