This is just about where I really picked up on The Jam.  It’s not that I wasn’t aware of the earlier singles and first two albums but I had reached that great age (I had turned 15 a couple of months earlier) where I could really begin to understand the wider impact of great music and to think beyond just how good something sounded on the radio.   It was a time where music overtook football as the singularly most important aspect of things in my life.  And more than any other, it was The Jam who stood head and shoulders above the rest.

Mind you, I thought at this point that Bruce Foxton was the main man.  I’d bought a copy of News of The World on which he was lead vocalist and then on the day of its release on 26 August 1978 I bought the band’s new single on which the bass player again took on the singing duties.  I had no idea however, who this Ray Davies was…maybe the band had taken on a fourth member and I hadn’t noticed..but that can’t be right as there’s still just the three-man line-up in the small photo adorning the sleeve and Bruce is standing at the front.  It was so easy to be confused….

I know I promised that I would simply use this series to feature the songs and nor ramble on aimlessly within the postings.  I just can’t help myself today.  I still get really excited thinking back to this particular time in my life…just about to start my fourth year at secondary school the end of which would see me sit exams that would hopefully get me on the right foot for university.  Growing more confident with each passing week in my abilities to fit in with the cool crowd at school and discovering that music was by far and the best way to do so. Falling in love with a band for the first time….and nobody ever forgets their first time.

mp3 : The Jam – David Watts

It was of course a double-A side but I can’t recall too many occasions when this was aired on Radio 1:-

mp3 : The Jam – ‘A’ Bomb In Wardour Street

The single reached #25 in the charts and It would go onto be re-released as a 7″ single by Polydor Records on two more occasions – in 1980 and 1983  hitting #54 and #50 respectively.

The Direction Reaction Creation box-set provided a demo version of the better known side:-

mp3 : The Jam – David Watts (demo)

The Paris Theatre in London gig on 1 June 1978 recorded for the BBC series Sight and Sound included this cracking version which at the time was a very new song as explained in the intro:-

mp3 : The Jam – ‘A’ Bomb In Wardour Street (live)


4 thoughts on “THE JAM SINGLES (5)

  1. Ramble away, JC. That’s why we are here. David Watts is such a great cover. There was a great section in Ray Davies’ biography X-Ray about DW that promises to make you enjoy the song even more. This demo is fantastic too. I especially love the rawer background vocals.

  2. I agree with Brian. I love to hear people’s stories about how they came to love songs/artists/types of music. It’s what makes this whole pop music thing such a worthwhile pasttime. And as a Ray Davies acolyte, I’m pleased the Jam did the song justice.

  3. I concur, context, personal or otherwise is greatly appreciated. It’s the best way for so many of us to draw those ley lines of our common experience and love of these musical eras.
    This is where Polydor decided that it would present the coming All Mod Cons in a different release order for the US, so David Watts was always just a great album track here. The running order of All Mod Cons released in the US would confuse things for years.

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