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Friday, 29 April 2016

45RPM: #84 In The City - The Jam (1977)

I can remember the moment as if it were yesterday, running from school during lunchtime to Treble Clef record shop on Sydenham High Street, handing over 75p and being given a copy of the debut single by The Jam in a nice picture sleeve. The playing of it would have to wait until home time (though if I remember correctly we did manage to get the kids in the sixth form common room - who actually had a record player on the premises - to play it at lease twice later in the day).

The debut album (also titled In The City) wouldn't be out for another month but it was a good taster for what was to follow.

Where the Punks were being considered a bit of a scruffy bunch of urchins here was a power trio all dressed in suits! What the heck was that all about we wondered!

A few days after the release of the single they were featured in the NME and here's a little taster from the introduction to the piece by Steve Clarke:

"By now only the staunchest reactionaries among the nation's rock people can be of the opinion that the much-touted new wave, despite its several less than endearing facets, isn't a good thing. But, just in case you still had any doubts, get a load of The Jam.

You'll doubt no more. For The Jam, while eulogising the nation's youth - and, come to that, the nation itself - with total commitment, remain the scene's renegades.

"We're the black sheep of the new wave", says lynchpin Paul Weller.

The Jam most certainly do not toe the Punk Party Line. Why, they've even been known to commit such sacrilegious acts as burning onstage the Blank Generation's mouthpiece Sniffin' Glue after the said journal had complained of The Jam  being "laidback" and "lacking direction" - not to mention"spending too much time tuning up on stage". Aggro!

With an image straight out of the Scene Club 1964, The Jam wouldn't know one end of a safety pin from another. Unlike the new wave elite (Damned, Stranglers, Clash and Pistols), they are, satorially speaking, three very sharp young men - the proud owners of customised mohair suits of the kind (say) The Yardbirds wore when they were an R 'n' B band. And, unlike adherents of the new wave dogma, The Jam don't go for wholesale rejection of their predecessors."  - NME 07/05/77

In the City borrowed its title from an old B-Side by The Who but with an energy that was a chief characteristic of the times it is vastly different to The Who's song! It was an anthem for the Youth of the day and about the world of possibilities - ie The Young Idea - and how people were trying to take those ideas and bring fear instead of embracing that change was coming. It was a plea for people to listen "because the kids know where it's at" - thus showing Mark Perry (editor of Sniffin' Glue) that The Jam did have a sense of direction and as for being laidback, well try telling me if the urgency of the 2mins and 16secs of the A-Side give any hint of a band who want to come off as being that!

The Jam would go on to release a bucket load of great records after this debut, some probably better than it, but it still holds a lot of love for me, and I'm pretty sure it always will.

 In The City / Takin' My Love
Produced by Vic Smith and Chris Parry
Released 29th April 1977
UK Chart #40 
(in 2002 it was reissued at reached as a Limited Edition 7" Single at the 1977 price of 75p it entered the chart again this time peaking a little higher at #36)

A-Side: In The City

In The City
(Paul Weller)
In the city there's a thousand things I want to say to you
But whenever I approach you, you make me look a fool
I wanna say, I wanna tell you
About the young ideas
But you turn them into fears
In the city there's a thousand faces all shining bright
And those golden faces are under 25
They wanna say, they gonna tell ya
About the young idea
You better listen now you've said your bit

And I know what you're thinking
You're sick of that kind of crap
But you'd better listen man
Because the kids know where it's at

In the city there's a thousand men in uniforms
And I've heard they now have the right to kill a man
We wanna say, we gonna tell ya
About the young idea
And if it don't work, at least we still tried

In the city, in the city
In the city there's a thousand things I want to say to you

B-Side Takin' My Love

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