It Must Be Love

7" Vinyl (45 RPM)

Stiff Records

BUY 140

United Kingdom


It Must Be Love was released as a standalone single on November 23, 1981. It reached #4 on the UK singles chart and appeared on their UK number one compilation album Complete Madness the following year and on many other Madness compilations since. In 1983, it peaked on the US Billboard chart at #33. Labi Siffre wrote the song and initially recorded it in 1971. However, Madness’s rendition propelled it to international fame and made it a classic.

The video primarily shows band members playing in a white room and standing over a grave. It also features guitarist Chris Foreman and saxophonist Lee Thompson playing their instruments underwater. A killer whale is also seen. Foreman appears at the start of the video, warning viewers not to attempt the “very dangerous stunt” they are about to see. Labi Siffre makes a cameo appearance as a violin player.

Beyond its chart success, “It Must Be Love” has endured as a timeless classic. It has been frequently covered by various artists and featured in numerous films, television shows, and commercials. Its universal themes of love and devotion, coupled with Madness’ distinctive sound, have ensured its lasting legacy in popular culture.

Bedders: On a cold October Sunday, the Madness Touring Party – fresh from a gig in Bridlington – pulled up outside a small terraced house in the back streets of Durham. We met Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley standing outside and, expecting the unexpected, we ventured in. We found a tiny living room with some microphones scattered around the floor. My God! It was a recording studio. Nine hours later, the backing tracks for ‘It Must Be Love’ were finished. Originally, the band were going to record the song for a Richard Skinner Show session, but we didn’t have time to work it out. So we decided to play the song on the tour and it became a firm favourite. We finally finished ‘It Must Be Love’ in London on odd days off.


Territory: United Kingdom

Release Date: November 27, 1981
Format: 7" Vinyl (45 RPM)
Limited Edition: No

Label: Stiff Records

Catalogue Number: BUY 140

Manufactured: United Kingdom

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


Peak Position: 4
First Chart Date: 05/12/1981
Weeks in Chart: 12
Position DatePosition
05/12/1981 24
12/12/1981 7
19/12/1981 5
26/12/1981 6
02/01/1982 6
09/01/1982 4
16/01/1982 9
23/01/1982 12
30/01/1982 18
06/02/1982 28



1 A1 It Must Be Love 3:17
1 B1 Shadow on the House 3:20


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.
Publisher MAM (Music Publishing) 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
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