Start! was not exactly what folk were expecting and it was an uneasy time for those of us who were fans and who didn’t hide their disdain for The Beatles as it was impossible to deny the tune was a rip-off of Taxman. It didn’t go straight in at #1 but it did climb to the top of the pops some three weeks after its 15 August 1980 release. In 1983, upon its cash-in re-release by Polydor Records it reached #62.
mp3 : The Jam – Start!
mp3 : The Jam – Liza Radley
I don’t think I was alone in initially preferring the ballad that was released as the b-side although over the years I have grown to appreciate the a-side, thanks primarily to enjoying how it was performed in concert with the accompanying horns section that were a feature of the later tours.
The album version, released fully three months later, has an extra ten seconds or so tagged on at the end :-
mp3 : The Jam – Start! (album version)
The fact that many fans were bemused by the song can be evidenced by the lukewarm reception afforded it when it was introduced at a gig at Golders Green Hippodrome in London on 19 December 1981:-
mp3 : The Jam – Start! (live)
And finally for today here’s a demo version of the b-side, recorded in April 1980, in which Paul Weller sounds as if he is battling a bit of a cold judging by the occasional raspiness in his voice:-
mp3 : The Jam – Liza Radley (demo)