Mar 09

THE JAM – “A Town Called Malice”/”Precious”

FT + Popular56 comments • 6,355 views

#495, 13th February 1982

Almost everyone agrees that 60s Motown is good, but Motown-esque records are far from a stylistic sure thing. This is only partly because most bands don’t have the Funk Brothers as a rhythm section: despite the directness of their formula, Motown songs often come at you obliquely. They cover a hefty emotional punch in gloves of charm, sweetness, melodic nuance or wit. The elemental force of the mighty mid-60s Four Tops hits was so effective because it was an exception, a glimpse of the storm beneath the skin.

More recent imitations of Motown, though, often miss the way it counterbalanced the delicate and the immediate: they start in yer face and they stay there. It can be invigorating. It can be exhausting. “A Town Called Malice” just about stays on the former side, but it’s a close thing – Paul Weller’s determination to cram half a lyric book into one song pushes the record’s intensity needles too high into the red and by the second half I don’t care what he’s singing about. “Stop dreaming of the quiet life – it’s the one you’ll never know” is a great opening line that the rest of the song doesn’t really live up to. (Though “Malice” is far less of a mess than the sulky “Precious”, a B-Side given ideas well above its station).

Luckily, the “You Can’t Hurry Love” bass riff carries us through, and in the first verse or two Weller’s hectoring helps drive the record not stifle it. “A Town Called Malice” shows that even if you love soul music, it’s not always playing to your strengths to make some – an idea Paul Weller was to spend a long time testing.



  1. 1
    wichita lineman on 6 Mar 2009 #

    Was this the first time someone got to play both sides of their single on TOTP? Precious did just seem like showing off, though, and was never on equal ground with A Town Called Malice, which has some of Weller’s best monochrome suburban imagery. Housewives clutching milk bottles to their hearts, love letters hung out to dry… none of which makes an enormous amount of sense, but does sound like one of Shena Mackay’s early novellas set to Billy Ocean’s Love Really Hurts Without You – clearly a rather good notion. Even Foxton’s famously funkless fingers didn’t let the side down.

  2. 2
    Conrad on 6 Mar 2009 #

    You going to cut down on beer –
    Or the kids’ new gear?
    Its a big decision in a Town Called Malice…

    is a great line, one of my very favourite of Weller’s.

    As for the track itself, I think you are absolutely right Tom. It is very intense and very wearing. An arrangement and performance with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer cracking a nut. It’s also a pretty dull tune.

    A big part of that draining intensity is the drum part. The four-on-the-snare is not used that much in rock music, as it’s a bugger to work around – just when do you take your foot off the gas? Do you keep the four-on-the-snare running through the chorus? The Stone Roses’ “I Am The Resurrection” does a pretty fine job – although it’s helped by a great chord sequence which Malice doesn’t have, and it shifts gear half way through of course.

    “I Wanna Take You Higher” does it better still.

    5 at a push.

  3. 3
    Kat but logged out innit on 6 Mar 2009 #

    Yaaaaaaay I am BORN! Where’s that stork icon…

    (The song’s not bad either, but I decided that before I found out its personal relevance to me.)

  4. 4
    Billy Smart on 6 Mar 2009 #

    I think that a veil should be discreetly drawn over ‘Precious’ in discussions of this single…

    The only previous act to have played both sides of a single on TOTP before the Jam to my knowledge were The Beatles with Paperback Writer/ Rain. The BBC didn’t think to keep a copy.

  5. 5
    Billy Smart on 6 Mar 2009 #

    Number 2 watch. More 1977 veterans, with two weeks of The Stranglers’ ‘Golden Brown’.

  6. 6
    Tom on 7 Mar 2009 #

    Second best ever song about toast!

  7. 7
    peter goodlaws on 7 Mar 2009 #

    Shit! Pink!

    Unless I’m mistaken, this came straight in at the top, sending our Bosh friends flying in panic. For me, “Malice” was one of The Jam’s finest. I can’t agree with the point that Weller tries to do too much, but yes, Tom, “You Can’t Hurry Love”, I see that now. Ultimately, though, either one accepts that the track is in your face or you simply leave it alone. My own opinion is that you could not apply surgery to this without killing the patient. As Mozart was accused by his jealous critics of using too many notes, so the suggestion that Weller is cramming too many words into “Malice” is a curious stance to adopt. I personally think that it is great but would flinch at making the “geezer music” point again, as it is self-evident in the same way that “Catch 22” was always a geezer (well, guy) book. I can’t imagine girlies having much to do with either.

    5 + 6 – “When thing’s are down, That Scottish clown’s, Never around, Gordon Brown…”

  8. 8
    Tom on 7 Mar 2009 #

    The too many words point is also, as you’ll see with a later 1982 song, very much a double standard on my part.

  9. 9
    lonepilgrim on 7 Mar 2009 #

    the Motown rhythm combined with a very English, hectoring drabness means I find myself tapping my foot while feeling slightly irritated.
    there are hints here of what was to come with The Smiths – although Morrissey could usually be relied on for a more waspish wit than Weller’s kitchen sink grimness

  10. 10
    Adam 1.0 on 7 Mar 2009 #

    I can understand why people aren’t for it, but I quite like Precious.

  11. 11
    will on 7 Mar 2009 #

    Agreed. There’s a case to be argued that Precious is in fact the first baggy record. It certainly anticipates Fool’s Gold and that ’89-’91 era when white boys with guitars were trying to grapple with the funk.

    Both sides of this record were played endlessly at the church youth club I frequented around 1982-3. Time hasn’t withered either in my eyes. 9 from me.

  12. 12
    Tom on 7 Mar 2009 #

    #11 I see your point Will, unfortunately it sounds to me more like it anticipates “One Love” than “Fool’s Gold” ;)

  13. 13
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 7 Mar 2009 #

    nice photo for the sleeve but the typeface is weirdly awful

    i was in a brief phase of wanting to like the jam at this point and was baffled by this: weller’s passion probem is that (i) i have no doubt he feels it, and (ii) he is aware of work that has made him feel it in others, but (c) when he co-opts the techniques of that work he does it in a strangely blunt and feelingless way, like someone saying “happy valentine, take my buying you chocolates and flowers as read” — you know he knows what the thing is he’s meat to be doing, and you know he connects it with the intention, but he or some reason often skips a step or three in the execution

    (interestingly i seem currently to be ina phase where i want to like him: possibly because he’s as old as me and we giffers must stick together)

  14. 14
    Alan on 7 Mar 2009 #

    Catch 22 was (perhaps still is) my mum’s fave nov.

    Kat – type stork-girl inside square brackets!

  15. 15
    Kat but logged out innit on 7 Mar 2009 #

    Like this?

    Although I’ve known the song since, er, my birthday, I now strongly associate it with Billy Elliot tap dancing down a street somewhere in the Grim North while his dad’s crossing the miners’ picket line. The whole scene doesn’t seem quite right somehow?

    The combination of the Motown cheeriness and the bassline on the verse definitely bump it up to around the 7/10 mark for me.

  16. 16
    Kat but logged out innit on 7 Mar 2009 #

    #6 – is the first best song about toast by Des’ree by any chance?

  17. 17
    blameitontheboogie on 7 Mar 2009 #

    Surely it was “Toast” by the Street Band … ?

  18. 18
    Tom on 7 Mar 2009 #

    Yes, the record Kat is thinking of is in the Hauntology Top Ten instead.

  19. 19
    thevisitor on 7 Mar 2009 #

    I love that “too many words” thing more as the years go by. In his own way, Paul Weller between 79 and 81 reminds me of Bob Dylan in the mid-60s and Eminem on his first two albums. One day, you wake up and not only do you have something to say about everything, but you can word it effortlessly in pop lyrics that spew out at a greater velocity than even you can understand.

    As you get older, I don’t think it’s viable to sustain that feeling that you’ve got it All Worked Out – certainty is more the domain of youth anyway – but A Town Called Malice sounds to me like the work of someone who could zoom in on any part of his worldview like the way you might zoom in when you’re using Google Maps or Google Earth and know that there would be something there that he could turn into a song.

    At some point, of course, you realise that a worldview isn’t the same as having a view on the world based on prolonged exposure to it. It’s interesting that Paul Weller only got out of his post-Style Council slough by learning to express self-doubt as well as he once expressed absolute certainty.

    Btw I think Precious probably sounded far better in Weller’s head than it did on the record. Rick Buckler seems to have no understanding of what’s expected of him on it. It would have been enough to make anyone want to form The Style Council.

  20. 20
    Izzy on 7 Mar 2009 #

    #13 makes an excellent point. It reminds me of the 90s sneer about how ‘Americans don’t get irony’, thereby justifying any number of pedestrian records by britpop bands too scared to try for real feeling and risk embarrassment in the process

  21. 21
    Billy Smart on 7 Mar 2009 #

    Right, I think that Town Called Malice is a triumph. Let’s see if I can work out why!

    Taken as a double A-side, this is like an illustration of how white rock bands should and should not attempt to work from largely black source musics. The funk of Precious is a lumpen thing that seems to serve no purpose – it certainly doesn’t sound nimble or tense or sexual as funk generally does, but there doesn’t seem to be any point to the gap between the source music and the playing. To take a couple of contemporaneous examples of acts working from soul sources, as cover versions neither Robert Wyatt’s version of ‘At Last I Am Free’ nor Orange Juice’s version of ‘LOVE’ work in the same honeyed way as their divine sources, but a similar rapture is achieved through their patent sincerity and acknowledgement that the singers come from a different world.

    The relationship between ‘Town Called Malice’ and Northern Soul works in a similar way for me. God, that organ opens out the sound of The Jam. All of the musical virtues of the band are retained (the taughtness, concision and riffiness) but work when moved into a slightly different idiom, too. I find this as exciting as Northern Soul, but Weller’s customary Woking sound of the suburbs concerns added on top of it makes it feel compellingly disorientating, even though its a very familiar song. A hapless JoBoxers-style homage this mercifully isn’t.

    Its easy to laugh at the young Weller’s autodidact lyrics and imagary – and probably the correct response in his lesser songs (sometime Popular contributer Taylor Parkes has written hilarious close readings) – but the pell-mell and muffled delivery of this jumble really works in its favour here. When you really have to work to pick up stray phrases this song does convey backstreet suburban disapointment, especially as experienced in your early twenties. Set down as verse its not such an impressive experience, but then few experienced the song like that in 1982 (Smash Hits songwords notwithstanding). Although this is as stirring a call-arms as ‘Walls Come Tumbling Down’, something of the imageristic quality of this had got lost by that stage. Simon Reynolds’ dismissal of The Style Council as “soulcialism” doesn’t quite apply so well to the late Jam.

    DJ Taylor has spoken quite interestingly about Weller’s debt to Orwell in these songs, not the allegorical model, but the Clergyman’s Daughter/ Aspidistra/ Coming Up for Air version, in presenting songs about a landscape of English constraint realised through stray details (That’s Entertainment), and searched for glimpses of the pastoral (particularly pertinant to coming from the home counties) and memories of lost childhood (Tales From the Riverbank). It’s an exciting approach to pop music, I think, and more distictive to The Jam alone than you might initially think.

  22. 22
    Billy Smart on 7 Mar 2009 #

    Oh, my nine year old self liked this a lot more than any of The Jam’s 1981 singles, by the way, though Precious sounded as alien and tuneless to me as Funeral Pyre had.

  23. 23
    Doctor Casino on 8 Mar 2009 #

    Listening to this for the first time this week and I have no complaints! I guess if I was trying to notice it I’d admit it maybe goes on thirty seconds too long or so, but really, this is some basic ass-kicking rock and roll (arse-kicking to y’all), hitting on all four cylinders and always gearing up again for that rattling pile-on into the hook. Gives me the same kind of jolt as, I dunno, “Make Out Club” by Unrest although not as relentlessly. This must be great on the dancefloor!

  24. 24
    vinylscot on 8 Mar 2009 #

    Is this where they jumped the shark?

    I would say yes, if Weller wanted to do this sort of stuff at this point, he should have formed the Style Council a little earlier, and not sullied the Jam’s copybook with this and their future, currently bunny-embargoed #1.

    I absolutely agree with the “too many words” comments, and also that the track (Malice) was an obvious lads’ foot-stomper; but that doesn’t make it good. 5, should do better.

    Incidentally, in the olden days, before downloads counted (and made b-sides irrelevant), many double A-sides are released because “Someone” isn’t 100% confident with the natural A-side, and feel it may not do enough on its own. Even enough sales to get “Precious” to #10 or so would safeguard against the possibility of Malice only hitting #2 or #3. I believe that happened here.

  25. 25
    LondonLee on 8 Mar 2009 #

    Will at #11

    A lot of white boys were grappling with funk in the late 70s/early 80s – Gang of Four, A Certain Ratio, Pigbag etc. – I always thought of ‘Precious’ as Weller trying to jump on that wagon but Rick and Bruce were a bit too heavy-handed to really do it right. I wonder if this was the first time Paul thought to himself that they were holding him back.

  26. 26
    LondonLee on 8 Mar 2009 #

    I think this is the Jam song that has almost been killed by overexposure. I saw Weller play it in Boston a few years ago and the crowd went nuts and I groaned. But it’s still one of his best moments, and despite Rick and Bruce’s problems with ‘Precious’ they perform brilliantly, I especially love the drums which hammer rat-a-tat-tat with the same cracking pistol fire the lyrics have. I’m firmly down on the side of thinking the “too many words” lyric works very well (though I’d never thought of it as such before), it adds urgency as if the anger is just spilling out of Weller.

  27. 27
    Doctor Casino on 8 Mar 2009 #

    Also, have to say this makes a really interesting pair with “Ghost Town,” in which the good old days of the boom town are rotting on the vine in flashback – “Malice” sketches out a similar portrait of a run-down world, but much as Weller wallows in the details of misery he would “rather put some joy back” in the place. Presumably, they’ll dance and sing, and the music will play… and they’ll be no fighting on the dance floor.

    Another reference point: “My Little Town,” the reunion single by Simon & Garfunkel.

  28. 28
    peter goodlaws on 9 Mar 2009 #

    # 27 – I’m right with you, Doc. Nothing but the dead and dying…

  29. 29
    Billy Smart on 9 Mar 2009 #

    TOTPWatch: The Jam performed ‘Town Called Malice’ on Top of the Pops twice (on the second occasion, they also performed ‘Precious’);

    11 February 1982. Also in the studio that week were; The Fun Boy 3 & Bananarama, Bow Wow Wow, Adrian Gurvitz, Hall & Oates, Depeche Mode, Modern Romance, Elkie Brooks and Haircut 100. Tommy Vance was the host.

    18 February 1982. Also in the studio that week were; Madness, George Benson, UB40, ABC, The Jets, Robert Palmer, Tight Fit and Toni Basil. Mike Read was the host.

  30. 30
    John on 9 Mar 2009 #

    Superlative rousing Motown swansong, but, no, not their best. But about as good as you could hope for.

  31. 31
    SteveM on 9 Mar 2009 #

    I’ve always really loved this (without having to think much about it) – the uptempo rhythm and generally strong execution. Oh it’s about something? Yes, towns can be bad, sure… ‘Precious’ is also great but bladhy hell ‘Papa’s Got A Brand New Precious Pigbag’ more like.

  32. 32
    wichita lineman on 9 Mar 2009 #

    I’m wondering if the obvious Pigbag cop by Funkless Foxton led to Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag finally charting – a year after it first came out – in April, peaking at no.3. It had the chance of becoming the 1000th number one… but we’ll cross that peaceful bridge soon enough.

  33. 33
    LondonLee on 9 Mar 2009 #

    As no one else has I guess I should mention the title is a pun on the novel “A Town Called Alice” by Nevil Shute. Anyone ever read that? I read his “On The Beach” last year and wasn’t that impressed.

  34. 34
    Tom on 9 Mar 2009 #

    I only realised about 20 minutes before writing the entry that the title was a Carter-style pun.

    My Mum had the book on her shelves – I will ask if it was any good or not.

  35. 35
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 9 Mar 2009 #

    shute’s heyday was the late 50s, early 60s i think, but seems to have dated badly (not that i’ve read a page myself, i just mean no one talks about him these days) — my mum and dad had paperbacks of both the above (and something else, possibly with sky in the title), presumably because “everyone” was reading them at the time… “on the beach” is atomic-apocalypse-exploitation, isn’t it?

  36. 36
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 9 Mar 2009 #

    actually he died in 1960 so i guess the early 60s not so much a heyday for him :(

  37. 37
    Erithian on 9 Mar 2009 #

    I can confirm Doc C’s guess at #23 that this is great on the dancefloor – unless, like me , you go to your school reunion a couple of years later, give it some welly when this comes on and fail to notice the pool of spilt lager in the vicinity of a table of drinks…

    Strange to see people lukewarm about this, since it’s one of my very favourites. And I’m not alone. When I marked the 1000th number one by carrying out a poll amongst those of my colleagues who entered my Christmas music quizzes, “Town Called Malice” finished a surprising second behind “House of the Rising Sun” and ahead of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Granted, those polled were for the most part not unlike me – white, male, born in the 60s – but it was an impressive result. I love the energy, the pace, the fury with which the “too many words” are channelled.

    And yes you can hear its influences – the first review I ever read of the single dubbed it “Motown Called, Alice” by Martha and the Vanwellas – but it wears them lightly and uses them effectively. (Can anyone else hear “Judy In Disguise” by John Fred in the organ riff?) For me it’s the best of their number ones and gave 1982 a real kickstart. I don’t mind “Precious” either…

    I read “A Town Like Alice” at school – a fine romance between an English woman and an Australian soldier in Japanese PoW camps in Malaya. Worth a read, or look out for the Virginia McKenna/Peter Finch film.

    (BTW Wichita at #32, you mean the 500th number one, not the 1000th.)

  38. 38
    LondonLee on 9 Mar 2009 #

    ‘On The Beach’ is about nothing less than the slow extinction of the human race following a nuclear war. Problem with it is everyone insists on being frightfully proper and doing the decent thing all the time, even to the point of not having sex with each other because that would just be bad form. It’s like ‘Threads’ written by Noel Coward.

  39. 39
    peter goodlaws on 9 Mar 2009 #

    # 38 – I suppose, Lee, with no sex on the beach they were bloody thirsty too.

  40. 40
    Mark M on 9 Mar 2009 #

    My feeling is that this is The Jam’s biggest song on the other side of the Atlantic: from what I can discover, it got nowhere near the US charts, but I certainly remember seeing it on MTV quite a few times, something I couldn’t say for any other Jam song.

  41. 41
    Dan R on 9 Mar 2009 #

    I see what Tom and others mean in seeing something slightly meretricious in this song but I have to say honestly that I found it about as exciting a #1 as I can remember from my childhood. There’s a number one coming up at the end of the year by a British act that tries to ‘do’ Motown with lamentable results. This is faithful but the fidelity is a labour of love.

    I think Billy’s comparison of this with Orwell is very exact, and from there I think you can also trace a poetic fascination with ‘ordinary lives’ through Mass Observation, to the early cultural studies books like The Uses of Literacy and the amazing verite documentaries that Lindsay Anderson and others did in the 1960s with the BFI, on into the Angry Young Men novels and movies: Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, Room at the Top, Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner and the unbelievably gloomy A Kind of Loving. (Billy Elliott was going for some of that). The housewives clutching the milk bottles to their hearts could have been in any of those books and films.

    For me astonishing thing about this song is Paul Weller’s voice on it. It’s all antimonies: it’s both tightly focused, angry and driving, but also wildly free. Listen to that ‘and’ that takes us into ‘stop apologising for the things you never done’. It’s a moment of almost yelping celebration crammed in the tiny gap between words. The hundreds of words that he crams into the song is part of the appeal; it’s the articulacy of someone bursting out of their constraints (‘I could go on for hours and I probably will’). The middle eight – well in fact only half the middle eight – gives us a moment of decline, regret and defeat before the battle is joined again. I also love what his accent sounds like: both strong London accent and vaguely transatlantic – and again I think that’s about the play between constraint and freedom. For all these reasons the song is just a sensational performance: moving and exhilarating and recklessly joyfully articulate. It never fails to make me feel happy, despite the despair in the lyrics. It’s a profoundly generous record.

  42. 42
    Dan R on 9 Mar 2009 #

    Oh and I find I have a cover of this on my iPod by McFly. (Honestly officer, I have no idea how that got there.) It’s a very very straight and unexciting copy, but where they just sound like they’re copying Weller, Weller sounds like he’s singing new words. Which confirms my sense that the original may be the work of a Motown devotee but he’s using the form to do his own thing.

  43. 43
    Tom on 9 Mar 2009 #

    I remember rather enjoying the McFly copy, partly because they sounded like they hadn’t thought for two seconds what the words might have meant and just played it as an out and out party song.

  44. 44
    LondonLee on 9 Mar 2009 #

    ‘That’s Entertainment!’ has the same impressionistic, snapshot-taking lyrics but Weller really trips up with the “two lovers kissing amongst the scream of midnight” line on that one, almost destroys the whole song for me. But on this he doesn’t put a foot wrong, sometimes I think he threw in “I could go on for hours and I probably will” as a last-minute edit for something equally bad.

  45. 45
    wichita lineman on 10 Mar 2009 #

    Re 41: Really good call on Weller’s performance. His uptight, Surrey terrier bark on most Jam records – think of Start – is what has always stopped me loving The Jam. Vocally, this is a perfect midpoint between his first two groups; it never spills into the creamy (“no matter what i do”) or growly (“WOWLS!!!”) pastiches of the Style Council, and sounds – for once – like he’s undone his top button. I’d like to think he came out of the studio and thought ‘I’ve done my best’.

    In spite of their barren 1981, this sounded like a dead cert no.1 on first listen.

    Re 37: 500th, yes, of course… I’m so very old.

  46. 46
    Anticomplacencyleaguebaby on 11 Mar 2009 #

    I don’t see how it gets tired after the second verse, this song is all youth, energy, fire and skill. I love Motown, I love soul and I love this derivative. I’m still clicking my fingers in the break and then that ghost of a steam train echoes round my track. The juxtapositions throughout the record that Dan R has outlined are nailed on. I will be out in my own Town called Malice again this Friday night and grooving to this satirical masterpiece once more. Its a song to dance to, you pick up choice lines in the maelstrom and it no doubt becomes ‘impressionistic’ but that’s all it needs, its about the moment, the will to change – the joyous impetus of early life. Lost laughter on the breeze, housewives hanging out their old love letters? They’re as lost and forlorn as some of you lot, escape the rut while you can or be doomed forever.

  47. 47
    Snif on 12 Mar 2009 #

    Neville Shute’s “On The Beach” was filmed in Melbourne in 1959, and achieved some small notoriety when Ava Gardner was quoted as saying “If they’re going to make a film about the end of the world, Melbourne is the ideal place to do it.”

    (and if anyone sees the film, please note that Australians never, to my knowledge, indulge in rousing singalongs of “Waltzing Matilda” at social functions)

  48. 48
    MikeMCSG on 17 Jul 2009 #

    37 – Erithian, the review you recall was from Record Mirror an ultra-rare witticism (perhaps a colleague suggested it) from the tiresome and opinionated Sunie who was given the Singles page for a whole year in 1981-2. Her biases became so obvious it prompted a great letter along the lines of
    “We’re a young Scottish band playing pop-funk with acoustic guitars on Ze records produced by Trevor Horn. Do you think Sunie will give us Single of The Week ?”

    For all the snipes at Bruce on Precious earlier on the thread were any of Weller’s subsequent attempts at funk more successful ? Is Money Go Round a better song than Precious ? Clue: the answer isn’t yes.

  49. 49
    Malice Cooper on 17 Jul 2009 #

    Of course any song that includes the world “Malice” is going to appeal to me. I always thought Paul Weller was at his best in the Jam before he started nicking 70s novelty tunes for the Style Council. These 2 are clearly the same song !



  50. 50
    LondonLee on 17 Jul 2009 #

    I can’t even remember who played bass on that, but I guess Steve White was a more ‘nimble’ drummer than Buckler.

  51. 51
    wichita lineman on 17 Jul 2009 #

    Re 48: Money-Go-Round was to Rick Dees & His Cast Of Idiots what Precious was to Pigbag – it sounds so much like Disco Duck it’s beyond a coincidence. I’m guessing it wasn’t a conscious steal.

    Always liked Sunie, who helped me form my ideas on the borders of New Pop – she was big on the Nolans for starters.

  52. 52
    thefatgit on 13 Nov 2009 #

    Re;”On The Beach” Last night, I saw a clip of that on The Culture Show, where Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode analyse various movie genres. I was curious to notice Fred Astaire starred in it. Not having seen the film, I now need to find a copy. Then I can say I’ve seen “The 3 Ages of Fred Astaire”.

    1, Top Hat- Debonair, stick-thin hoofer
    2, On The Beach- World-weary, stick-thin curmudgeon
    3, The Towering Inferno- Befuddled, stick-thin dinosaur

    Well…it keeps me off the streets!

  53. 53
    Nick on 17 Mar 2010 #

    Although there are elements of “You Can’t Hurry Love,” the main bass riff is a straight nick from Martha & The Vandellas “Ready For Love.”

    “It worked with ‘Start’, why not do it again?” thinks our Paul.

  54. 54
    seekenee on 25 Sep 2011 #

    I believe Weller changed some lines in recent(ish) renditons to “Wanna cut down on gear or the kids’new beer” re: alcopops etc .

    At the time this was exciting, straight in at number one and somewhat unexpected and not like 81’s Funeral Pyre or Riverbank, both of which are my most-played Jam songs since 1982.
    I wouldn’t put on TCM but it does wear well in its Peter Wilson and Weller’s new clothes production, v evocative of pool halls, space invader machines, misty factory yellow lamp dark streets, takes me right back. I’d give it 8.

  55. 55
    punctum on 10 Jul 2013 #

    Emotionally this was a difficult TPL piece for me to write, but I have to he honest: http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/the-jam-gift.html

  56. 56
    hectorthebat on 21 Oct 2014 #

    Critic watch:


    1,001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010) 1002
    Michaelangelo Matos (USA) – Top 100 Singles of the 1980s (2001) 101
    Pause & Play (USA) – Songs Inducted into a Time Capsule, One Track at Each Week
    Pitchfork (USA) – The Pitchfork 500 (2008)
    Treble (USA) – The Top 200 Songs of the 80s (2011) 116
    Woxy.com (USA) – Modern Rock 500 Songs of All Time (combined rank 1989-2009) 137
    2FM (Ireland) – Top 100 Singles of All Time (2003) 100
    BBC (UK) – Pop on Trial, Top 50 Songs from the 1980s (2008)
    Mojo (UK) – The Ultimate Jukebox: 100 Singles You Must Own (2003) 86
    NME (UK) – The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (2014) 453
    Q (UK) – 50 Years of Great British Music, 10 Tracks per Decade (2008)
    XFM (UK) – The Top 1000 Songs of All Time (2010)
    Panorama (Norway) – The 30 Best Singles of the Year 1970-98 (1999) 3
    Theater van het Sentiment, Radio 2 (NL) – Top 40 Songs by Year 1969-2000 (2013) 8
    Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé (France) – 3000 Rock Classics (2009)
    New Musical Express (UK) – Singles of the Year 4
    Sounds (UK) – Singles of the Year 13
    Schlager (Sweden) – Singles of the Year 4

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If this was number 1 when you were born paste [stork-boy] or [stork-girl] into the start of your comment :)


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