Madness pay tribute to ska legend Prince Buster at Radio 2 festival – BBC News

<figure class=”media-landscape” has-caption full-width lead”> Image copyright BBC / Sarah Jeynes

Image caption Madness shared the bill with Elton John, LeAnn Rimes, Travis and Status Quo

Madness have paid tribute to ska legend Prince Buster as they played Radio 2’s Festival in a Day at Hyde Park.

Suggs dedicated The Prince, their first single, to the Jamaican musician, who died on Thursday.

“It’s a tragedy,” he told BBC News. “He was enormously important.”

“The fact he came from the streets and he had a terrific sense of humour and energy – it really appealed to us and it had a huge impact on everything we did, really.”

He died at home in Miami at 07:20 local time (11:20 GMT) on Thursday.

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The band took their name from a Prince Buster song, and later covered one his greatest tracks, One Step Beyond.

“It’s like the Monty Python thing about the Romans,” joked Suggs. “What did Prince Buster ever do for us? A great deal indeed.”

<figure class=”media-landscape” has-caption full-width”> Image copyright BBC / Sarah Jeynes

Image caption Sir Elton John: “I’m very happy and very blessed to do what I do”

Madness went on to perform an invigorating set of crowd-pleasers, including Wings of a Dove, Baggy Trousers and House of Fun.

Introducing Our House, Suggs noted that the band had previously played the song on the roof of Buckingham Palace, just a stone’s throw away from the Hyde Park stage.

“But I remember when we got chased down Oxford Street,” he joked. “We weren’t even allowed in this part of London.”

Sir Elton sparkles

The band were one of many highlights in a day that spanned every genre of music, from jazz to folk and country to pop.

Sir Elton John topped the bill, playing an 80-minute set bursting with hits, including Tiny Dancer, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, I’m Still Standing and Crocodile Road.

“This is a blast,” he told the audience, and dedicated his performance to Radio 2 “for being so kind and playing my records, which nobody else does.”

The star also played a blistering, extended piano solo on the lesser-known 1971 track Levon, and played Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me for George Michael, who he called “one of the greatest talents that I ever met out of Great Britain”.

Media captionRadio 2’s festival in a day also included this tribute to Sir Terry Wogan

Earlier, Radio 2 paid tribute to its former breakfast show host, and broadcasting legend, Terry Wogan with a compilation of his bon mots and words of wisdom.

The video, which had also been played at the previous night’s Proms In The Park, received a warm and sustained round of applause in Hyde Park.

Earlier, Travis opened the show with a good-natured singalong to tracks like Sing, Driftwood and Why Does It Always Rain On Me.

Tenor Alfie Boe joined them onstage to duet on Paralysed, a song from their current album Everything At Once. Singer Fran Healey confessed they had only spent five minutes practicing the song in advance.

“Rehearsal’s over-rated,” he joked. “No-one rehearses at this level. You just have it in you.”

Media captionTravis and Alfie Boe duet on Paralysed

Singer-songwriter Jamie Lawson had slightly longer – an hour – to rehearse his duet with folk legend Cara Dillon; while country star LeAnn Rimes introduced David Gray to play their 2015 single Snow In Vegas.

The star, who has just signed a new record contract in the UK, said she had been overwhelmed by the 60,000-strong audience.

“No-one could prepare you for that,” she said. “I feel like I’ve had an out-of-body experience.”

Other acts on the bill included jazz star Gregory Porter and Radio 2 mainstays Status Quo, who played an acoustic (“a-Quostic”) set backed by a 16-piece orchestra.

“The idea is really to expose the vast range of music that Radio 2 plays,” said Jeff Smith, Radio 2’s head of music.

Media captionLeAnn Rimes plays How Do I Live at Radio 2 in Hyde Park

Radio is now the UK’s most-listened to network, largely shedding its image as the dumping ground for “oldies” and burnt-out rockers.

Smith pointed out how Gregory Porter had graduated from Jamie Cullum’s jazz programme to mainstream success, and noted the success of UK country duo Ward Thomas, whose second album, Cartwheels, hit number one last week.

“I guess we kind of created the concept of UK country,” said the executive, who steers Radio 2’s playlist.

“Our support for things like Ward Thomas and The Shires is proving fruitful for everybody – from the point of view of the listeners but also from the point of view of the music industry.”

He added that 2017’s “festival in a day” was already being planned.

“With Elton John, I really started talking to him about 15 months beforehand. That’s the trick. You’ve really got to start early.”

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