Shut Up – Long, Short & Single

by | Mar 2, 2022 - Shut Up
A single chord reminiscent of The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night’ and pursued by some evocative piano from Barson evolving into an East End pub pop-boogie, ‘Shut Up’ was inspired by the matter of petty crime. The song was initially 10 minutes long before being shortened to a single-friendly length. In turn, its lyrical theme informed the video (with the band dressed as ‘bobbies’ on the beat, an idea previously embraced by The Small Faces).
Back in the early ’80s, September 1981, the original 12″ of ‘Shut Up’ [BUYIT 126] was released; Stiff Records decided to press the 12″ with the mix of Shut Up off the album 7 [SEEZ 39]? Although strange, it was maybe the first time Stiff had landed a 12″ that was an extended version against the 45 release. Unannounced and never mentioned in the press and without any marketing materials at that time.
What was clear was that the whole notion of 12″ remixes or extended versions had not occurred to Dave Robinson; the idea did not find itself for another five or six months with Cardiac Arrest (Extended Version) [BUY-IT 140].
The album track is over a minute longer (4:06 compared to the single of 2:56), filled with a superb piano solo from Mike Barson. At that time, the extended version was only to make an outing from the album 7 [SEEZ 39] appearing on the UK 12″ [BUYIT 126], and the Netherlands 12″ Inch Maxi Single [BUY-IT 126] (again without mention) and remained this way for over a decade.
However, as 1984 came and left, the band departed from Stiff Records. The infamous Madness catalogue now sold off to Virgin Records; and in 1986, the nutty train pulled into terminal Madness and continuity left the stage

CHRISSY BOY: Many people say, “Why Shut Up, when “Shut Up’ is not in the verse or anywhere else, well, now I can tell. When Suggs originally wrote the lyrics, it was a ten-minute opus, and it had the words “Shut Up in the chorus; these were surgically removed to give the song three-minute classic value but kept as a title for sentimental reasons. OK, OK?”
~ Complete Madness (1982)

So let us cover Virgin’s ineptitude and lack of tribal knowledge with the blind benefit of the casual fan or more casual listener; they were all none the wiser. However, the hardcore fans and collectors noticed, but the money was in, and Virgin did not care!

1992: Divine Madness [CDV 2692] used the album versions of “The Prince”, “One Step Beyond…”, “The Return of the Los Palmas 7”, “Cardiac Arrest”, “Shut Up” and “Tomorrow’s Just Another Day”

1993: The Business Boxset [MADBOX 1] and still not learning, (is anyone talking?); again an incredible screw-up and out of context for the box set; used the album version, of course, they should have used the single 2:56 minute version.

1997: Yes, Geffen Records in America started to feel the action and now, for the first time, releases the conforming US (UK) hits album ‘Total Madness’ [GEFD-25145] but uses a 3:28 minute mix from the original 1983 Geffen Madness album [GHS 4003]. This album release was left-base, and nobody noticed; America lacks the nutty sounds of Madness, and by 1997 it was becoming harder to find anyone who knew who Madness were – no, not going to sing ‘Our House’ buy the album ole chap.

2000: Fast forward to the reissue of Divine Madness [CDV 2905], Virgin did correct the use of the album versions that appeared on both the original Divine and Business boxset. However, a heavily edited version of “Shut Up” was used, shorter than any other version fading out at 2:51, more than 30 seconds short of the actual single version.

2003: The year that brings the fans the CD Singles Box Vol. 1 [MADBOX 3]; the creators completely screwed this up too, neglecting that the CD for Shut Up should have had both the 12″ 4:06 minute version and the single version of 2:56 minutes, alongside” A Town With No Name” and “Never Ask Twice”.

Moreover, do not get this started; the whole box set reeks of mistakes (no, not the B side of OSB) screw-ups! OK, since we are here:

Disc 1: ‘The Prince’ and ‘Madness’ are from the Stiff album One Step Beyond rather than the original recordings on Two-tone for the single- was not this corrected in 2000 for the reissue of 2000 Divine Madness [CDV 2905]? Did nobody know?

Disc 5: ‘Don’t Quote Me On That’ has the same standard version from the ‘Work Rest & Play’ EP used on the Hot Biscuit CD. This version is not the version or mix that appeared on the original 12″ vinyl promo.

SUGGS: This originally had a few more verses that explored the policeman’s perspective. Suggs told Daniel Rachel “[Petty crime] was a vaguely glamorous thing to be involved with as a kid. Then you thought of all the lives it affected and the coppers themselves. I thought about them chasing after petty criminals. It went on for a few more verses that never made it onto the finished record. I think they were about the policeman and his family and him running around after these burglars, and then at the end, they both meet up in the courtroom with this copper saying, ‘Shut up.'”
~ The Art of Noise: Conversations with Great Songwriters (2014)


The song ‘Shut Up’ tells a story of a criminal who, despite obvious evidence, tries to convince people he is not guilty. Even though the song is called “Shut Up”, the two words do not appear in the lyrics at all. However, they were the final words of an additional verse that was part of an early version.

The promotional video for the single released featured the band dressed as a group of criminals, then later as police officers, working for and later chasing lead singer Suggs. Suggs is presented as a used car salesman/criminal (with mask, bowler hat and black suit/vertical striped shirt). The video implies that Suggs’ character has his friends steal cars for his business, though at the start of the video it is implied that he has been caught for his crimes by the police (with the song being him pleading his innocence).

KIX: “One time we got our hands on authentic coppers’ uniforms, now, can you imagine the fun we had out on the streets in them, truncheons and everything? When we discovered the Clash were rehearsing around the corner … ‘Nobody move! It’s the police!’ Two of them run in the toilet. Just the sound of doors slamming and toilets flushing. They never spoke to us for five years. It must have been good gear, eh? The fun we had.”

~ The Guardian (2016)

In one sequence, the costumed band gather around as Chris Foreman (in police uniform) plays the song’s guitar solo on the “Super Yob” guitar, previously owned by Slade guitarist Dave Hill; the artefact had recently been purchased by ex-Adam & The Ants guitarist Marco Perroni

The sense of lawlessness portrayed in ‘Shut Up’ persisted with Foreman’s magnificent instrumental B-side, ‘A Town With No Name’, which was brazenly indebted to the Spaghetti Western film themes of Ennio Morricone. The 12-inch added ‘Never Ask Twice’, a fascinating account of worldly-wise exploits which substituted ‘Day On The Town’ on some foreign editions of the album 7 [SEEZ 39].

CHRISSY BOY: “‘Shut Up’ was a kitchen sink production. For my guitar I had Slade in mind; the Duane Eddy bit in the middle was from another song.” Foreman wrote the song with lead singer Suggs.

~ Uncut magazine (2008)

Work Rest And Play

Work Rest And Play

Following this recent discovery, here are the eight known key pressings of UK 1980 editions of Work, Rest and Play (in addition to the two main white versus blue picture sleeve variations).