Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Jam hits #1 with one of the greatest double A sides in history

The Jam : Going Underground


On March 14, 1980 The Jam released "Going Underground" b/w "Dreams of Children", the first of three singles to make its UK chart debut at #1. The band, who had been playing together since they were 15,  got the news in the midst of their American tour.

"It was a shock when we got to #1, otherwise we wouldn't have been in the States," says drummer Rick Buckler."We knew 'Going Underground' would do well. We had a good drink that night. However, everyone wanted to be back in Britain. We made out we had all come down with a virus. We canceled the rest of the tour of the States. We flew back to Britain on Concorde, to record 'Going Underground' on Top of The Pops for the following week." 

Weller had returned to the music of The Kinks, The Who and The Beatles for inspiration and though Weller usually abstained from politics, the video for "Going Underground" references war and patriotism, Thatcher and other Tory politicians and exploding atom bombs. 

"Maybe I'm only an armchair radical", Paul Weller told Smash Hits the same month. "But every night I watch the news and I get so frustrated. I write it all down then in the morning throw it away because it's rubbish, just paranoid rantings and ravings."

The song would top the UK charts for three weeks and finish the year with the NME readers pick for Best Single while its own critics ranked the song at #2 behind Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart".

Maybe even better is "Dreams of Children" with its backwards guitar lines and Beatlesque harmonies.

1 comment:

  1. The band wanted Dreams Of Children as the A side, Polydor wanted Going Underground.
    The double A single was the compromise. They went to America and got the phone call from Polydor: "Sorry, the printers have put Going Underground on the sleeve"