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Madness played set on palace roof because ‘Elton John and Paul McCartney would not share piano’

Madness performed some of their smash hits at a star-studded concert at Buckingham Palace to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee
Madness performed some of their smash hits at a star-studded concert at Buckingham Palace to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee - DAVID BEBBER/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Madness’s Buckingham Palace rooftop performance only happened because Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney weren’t prepared to share the same piano, Suggs has revealed.

The band performed at Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace in 2012, performing the smash hits Our House and It Must Be Love.

Suggs, the group’s lead singer, told the Rockonteurs podcast that when they arrived for a rehearsal, the band was told there was a “bit of a problem”.

Suggs, the Madness frontman, described the concert as one of the band’s greatest moments
Suggs, the Madness frontman, described the concert as one of the band’s greatest moments - ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

“Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney want to have their own pianos, so there ain’t no time for you to get on in between,” Suggs said he was told.

“And some geezer at the back goes, ‘I tell you what, why don’t we stick them on the roof’. And that’s as simple as it was,” he added.

“They built us a stage on the roof. I don’t know if it was to try and get us out of the way, but it couldn’t have been more iconic.”

Asked what would have happened if Sir Elton and Sir Paul had been prepared to share, Suggs added: “Exactly, then we wouldn’t have stolen all the limelight. They would have got a look-in.”

Sir Paul McCartney brought the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert to a close
Sir Paul McCartney brought the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert to a close - CHRIS HASTON/NBC UNIVERSAL

He added: “It just worked out, we performed good, it looked good, there we are on the roof of Buckingham Palace.”

Suggs, 62, said that although he wasn’t a “mad royalist”, he “loved” the late Queen and even changed the lyrics of Our House from “in the middle of our street” to “in the middle of one’s street”.

The artist, born Graham McPherson, admitted it was “definitely” one of the band’s greatest moments. “So, we got a letter from the Queen,” he told the Rockonteurs podcast.

Sir Elton John performed hits such as I'm Still Standing and Your Song at the concert
Sir Elton John performed hits such as I'm Still Standing and Your Song at the concert - OLI SCARFF/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

“And everyone’s going mad –‘It’s a letter from the Queen, what are we going to wear?’

“‘Dear Sir Madness of Walthamstow, would you like to attend’ – yeah, of course, lovely,” he added.

Suggs has previously said that he does not like heights, but that “the adrenaline on the night got me through it”.

The performance saw accompanying animations projected on to the front of the royal residenc.

The singer previously revealed that he had spilled a drink inside Buckingham Palace at the event and was scolded by Princess Beatrice.