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Thursday, 3 November 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 308 - All Mod Cons

All Mod Cons - The Jam
Produced by Vic Coppersmith-Heaven and Chris Parry
Released 3rd November 1978
UK Chart #6
US Chart #204

A1 All Mod Cons    
A2 To Be Someone (Didn't We Have A Nice Time)    
A3 Mr. Clean    
A4 David Watts    
A5 English Rose*    
A6 In The Crowd

B1 Billy Hunt**    
B2 It's Too Bad    
B3 Fly    
B4 The Place I Love    
B5 'A' Bomb In Wardour Street    
B6 Down In The Tube Station At Midnight

*Neither the title nor lyrics of "English Rose" were printed on the original artwork of All Mod Cons due to Weller's feeling that the song's lyrics didn't mean much without the music behind them

** In 1979 the album was reissued in the USA and Billy Hunt was replaced with The Butterfly Collector (Which had been the B-Side to Strange Town single that was released in March 1979). I have no idea why that decision was taken as when it was originally issued in the States the same track listing as the UK version was used.

The Jam
    Paul Weller - guitar, piano, harmonica, vocals
    Bruce Foxton - bass, vocals
    Rick Buckler - drums, percussion

Singles on All Mod Cons
 Double A-Side
David Watts / 'A' Bomb In Wardour Street
Produced by Vic Smith and Chris Parry
Released 26th August 1978
UK Chart #25

I posted about this single as part of the 45RPM series back in August.

A-Side: Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
B-Side: So Sad About Us / The Night
Polydor Records
Produced by Vic Coppersmith-Heaven
Released 21st October 1978
UK Chart #15
I posted about this as part of the 45RPM series last month.

US Release
May 1979

A rather interesting choice for Polydor to release this one as a single in the USA! Funny though that the Radio Promo they issued late 1978 had two songs that were not actually released as B-Sides on official singles (though as I mentioned below English Rose at one point was put forward as a possible B-Side of Billy Hunt but rejected by the label).

12" US Promo

In his review of All Mod Cons for NME, Charles Shaar Murray said that the album was "not only several light years ahead of anything they've done before but also the album that's going to catapult The Jam right into the front rank of international rock and roll; one of the handful of truly essential rock albums of the last few years."

NME ranked All Mod Cons as the second best album of 1978 in its end of year review.

Charlie Sharr Murray was totally correct in his assessment (he wasn't always wrong either!) but it's good to remember that the making of the album was not all plain sailing. An album of songs had been rejected as poor quality or as producer Chris Parry had called them "sub-standard" (many of the songs had been written by Bruce Foxton). Paul Weller was a bit disinterested at writing due to writers block, a bit of a carry over from the second album This Is The Modern World. The message from the label was that Weller had to get back writing. And he did just that, returning to Woking and coming up with The Classic Album!

Weller had been announcing as early as June 1978 that Billy Hunt was the new single during live shows (and at the start of their BBC In Concert show from 1st June 1978 it is introduced by the announcer as the single) but Polydor had rejected that (English Rose was considered for the B-Side along with The Night which did see the light of day on the B-Side of the second single from the album) and chose to go with the cover of David Watts and the amazing 'A' Bomb In Wardour Street that was eventually released as a Double A-Side in August. Whilst The Kinks cover might have been a cause for concern (taking into consideration Weller's writers block and all), turning the record over you heard Paul Weller was back to his best with what was one of his finest songs to date.

One of the songs that became a big hit and saw them back in Top 20 was Down In The Tube Station At Midnight. It almost never made it to the album as Paul Weller had binned it! Vic Coppersmith-Heaven though had a better sense of perception. Where Weller saw only that the song and its arrangement was undeveloped the Producer was able to convince him that it was good enough to be on the album - oh to have been a fly on the wall when that conversation took place! The B-Side contained a tribute to Keith Moon who had recently died - a good reading of The Who's So Sad About Us and the Foxton song The Night that had originally been planned as the B-Side to the rejected single Billy Hunt.

Where This Is The Modern World had been regarded by some as a major disappointment (probably having to churn out two albums a year at the start of their career was not the best way for them to develop creatively), the third Studio Album All Mod Cons has been regarded by many as possibly the greatest album by The Jam.

Standout tracks for me are: To Be Someone (Didn't We Have A Nice Time), Mr Clean, In The Crowd, 'A' Bomb In Wardour Street and of course Down In The Tube Station At Midnight.

Looking at the album as a whole I think it is a masterpiece. I actually sat and listened to the album afresh last night and followed it by listening to Setting Sons (1979), Sound Affects (1980) and The Gift (1982) and whilst those albums are good I think All Mod Cons towers above them all!

 Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!
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