Mark William Bedford (born 24 August 1961),nicknamed “Bedders”, is an English musician, songwriter, and composer. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Bedford came to prominence in the late 1970s as the bass guitarist for the English ska band Madness.
Mark William Bedford was born on 24 August 1961, in Islington, London, England. He had started to buy records at the age of 11 or 12. Around this time he was listening to music in the charts and North American artists such as Neil Young. He began to play bass guitar to accompany friends who played the guitar when he was 13.
Bedford attended William Ellis School in Kentish Town and met members of the North London Invaders when they played a live gig there. He was asked along to a band rehearsal and found that the musicians could play quite well. Bedford was friends with Gary Dovey who was playing drums with the band, but after a confrontation with saxophonist Lee Thompson, Dovey left the band. Bedford knew a drummer, and Dan Woodgate was introduced as the final member of the then six-piece band which became Madness.
Although not a major songwriter in Madness, Bedford co-wrote one of the band’s more emotive songs “One Better Day” with Suggs. He was also responsible for co-writing “Not Home Today”, “Disappear”, “Return of the Los Palmas 7”, “Deceives The Eye”, “Stepping into Line” and “Maybe in Another Life”. The only song he ever wrote entirely on his own was “Mummy’s Boy”, which appeared on the band’s debut album One Step Beyond…
Bedford played double bass on Robert Wyatt’s recording of the Elvis Costello song “Shipbuilding” in 1982.
After Madness split up for the first time in 1986, Bedford played bass with Voice of the Beehive, and in 1991 played bass on Morrissey’s second studio album Kill Uncle. He played double bass on some tracks on the album.
He later teamed up with ex-Higsons brass supremo Terry Edwards, and they formed Butterfield 8 along with various strong members of the jazz scene at the time.They released a single “Watermelon Man” and an album called Blow!. This was re-released in 2001 on the Sartorial Records label.
Bedford’s stage performances with Madness became more sporadic after 2009; for instance, he did not tour with the band in Australia in the early part of that year, though he did feature as a full member of the band on their album The Liberty of Norton Folgate released that May. Commenting on this state of affairs Suggs stated: “It’s like the Eagles song [“Hotel California”]. ‘You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.’… But there’s a lot of flexibility, allowing people to be what they want to be, and do what they want.
He took no part in the recording of Oui Oui, Si Si, Ja Ja, Da Da but he appeared in a TV advert with the group, promoting a popular beer. He also performed with them both on the roof of Buckingham Palace in June 2012 as part of Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Concert and for the band’s appearance in August at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony. More recently, he appeared with the band on The Jonathan Ross Show on 19 January 2013 and again on 22 March 2013 when the group performed at the official closing ceremony of BBC Television Centre in London.
Since 2011, Bedford has been part of The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra, a band he put together with Madness saxophonist Lee Thompson. The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra released their debut album, The Benevolence of Sister Mary Ignatius, in 2013. They released a single “Fu Man Chu” featuring Bitty McLean from this album, and in February 2014, released a second single “Bangarang” featuring Dawn Penn and Sharon Shannon.
In 1987 Bedford started a relationship with Cress, his long-term partner. They have two daughters, Alice (born 1993) and Olivia (born 1997).