The first of the singles to have its lyrics altered to enable radio play (not that we knew that until we heard the album version!!).
Released on 15 October 1977, the first single to be lifted from the as yet unreleased second album stumbled a bit in that its peak of #36 was a long way removed from the near Top Ten achievement of the previous 45.
mp3 : The Jam – The Modern World
The b-sides were taken from a gig at the 100 Club in London on 11 September 1977 and featured two cover versions as well as one original:-
mp3 : The Jam – Sweet Soul Music/Back In My Arms Again/Bricks and Mortar (live)
The first of the covers was originally released in 1967 by Arthur Conley, hitting #7 in the UK charts, and with its lyrics mentioning other well-known songs from the genre it is regarded as an homage to soul music. The second had been a #1 hit in the USA for The Supremes back in 1965 but it had been a flop in the UK only reaching #40 which in those days was regarded as not actually reaching the charts. The third of the tracks, from the In The City LP wasn’t listed on the record sleeve which is no real surprise as the recording on the record fades out very quickly even though it obvious the band were playing the song to its natural conclusion. Very peculiar.
The Modern World would go onto be re-released as a 7″ single by Polydor Records on two more occasions – in 1980 and 1983 hitting #52 and #51 respectively.
Three additional recordings on offer today. The first is from the band’s second session for John Peel recorded on 19 July 1977 and broadcast six days later:-
mp3 : The Jam – The Modern World (Peel Session)
The date of the session predates the single release by three months and you’ll note the band, in accordance with what was expected during Peel Sessions, refrained from recording the sweary version.
The song was also aired at the Paris Theatre in London gig on 1 June 1978 recorded for the BBC series Sight and Sound:-
mp3 : The Jam – The Modern World (live, 1978)
Again, you’ll note that the BBC used technology to blank out the word ‘fuck’ when they broadcast the show.
The song was also included as one of the tracks on the bonus 7″ offered up with the initial 100,000 copies of Going Underground from a gig at the Rainbow Theatre in London on 3 November 1979:-
mp3 : The Jam – The Modern World (live, 1979)
Paul Weller doesn’t hold back with his vocal delivery on this occasion.