The debut album by British ska-pop group Madness was released by Stiff Records in October 1979. The image shows the US pressing by Sire Records, with identical cover art. The cover was designed by “Eddie and Jules + Stiff”, with a photograph shot by Cameron McVey. Singer and songwriter Suggs recalls:
Because there were so many of us, it was hard to get us in the photograph for the album cover. We had to get really close together. [Paul Tonkin, the roadie of] Ian Dury’s old band Kilburn and the High Roads did the duck walk on the back of their album [Handsome, 1975]. So we did the same for a laugh – and it became iconic. —
The single of the same name shows another photo from the same shooting, with different poses and in color. Like the follow-up, “My Girl”, it also uses Orator for the typography. This face was first issued by the Amsterdam Type Foundry in 1962 as a bold companion to Promotor. In 1979, it was available as dry-transfer type from Mecanorma.