Based loosely on Prince Busters 'Earthquake'* this track was taken from a session recorded at the tiny Pathway Studios in Highbury, London. The other 2 tracks recorded were the b side, Madness, and a version of My Girl (with Barso on vocals) which was to remain under wraps until later in the bands career. Although Barso was less than impressed with the final mix of 'Madness', recording in his diary 'Madness mix shit', the track is a great example of early Madness charm.
The Prince was one of the four tracks record during a session for The John Peel Show (broadcast 27 August 1979), which also included a version of Bed and Breakfast Man, with Chrissy boy, and not Barso as originally thought, on vocals. There were three versions of The Prince in recorded in 1979; the single version, the album version and a third version for The John Peel Show. Mike Barson has stated that the Peel Session recording is his favourite
Jerry Dammers first became aware of the band via graffiti sprayed on walls in North London referring to "Chalky Suggs". They handed Jerry Dammers a demo tape and although he was impressed he said it "was a mess and that no other label would have signed them". Dammers, who affectionately called them a "bunch of chancers" gladly offered them a deal with the label for a one off single.
*Although 'Earthquake' is credited as a Prince Buster original it borrows very heavily from 'Blues In The Night' by Johnnie Taylor.
Thanks to Andrew Clayden.