Five months after getting their first #1 single, The Jam hit the top spot with the follow-up to Going Underground.

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)



10 thoughts on “THE JAM SINGLES (11)

  1. The link to the single version which you posted first goes to the live version JC.

    I’m interested to know why the disdain for the Beatles? I ask because I used to get loads of stick for saying I thought they were over-rated and I was sick of people going on about them as if they were still going.

    In spite of any alleged similarities to Taxman and what I said about the Beatles, I still think Start was a worthy number 1. But it’s no Going Underground.

  2. Thanks Paul….link should be sorted now.

    I could try and be cool and say my disdain came from taking the mantra of ‘1977’ by The Clash to heart but I’d be kidding myself on. It’s more the fact that as I reached my late teens the energy and raw power of punk/new wave hit hard and made me think that the music of the 60s and early 70s was wholly irrelevant.

    I have of course, as my tastes and outlook to life have matured, recognised that what I was falling for was just a development of much of the music from earlier eras but it remains a fact that in a very extensive and broad music collection I do not own any records by the Beatles or indeed any of their solo material. I’ve just never ‘got’ them…..

    Don’t get me wrong, I may not initially have liked ‘Start!’ but I was delighted to see my favourite band dominate the charts.

  3. Same here, I own a lot of music but I don’t own a Beatles record (or cd or cassette). Although I’m pretty sure my mother named me after Mr McCartney!

  4. I’m with you there JC. The Beatles were just outside of my timeframe for popular music as a kid interested in music. My first real exposure to anything Beatles related was my dad bringing home Wings singles from his bar’s jukebox when they were cycled out. I had Uncle Albert, Band On The Run and Too Many People on Apple 7″ when I was a kid. But I also had Elton John and David Bowie which were much more interesting to me at the time.
    I was also a vocal Beatles denier as a teen who’s music was grounded in Talking Heads, Ramones, Clash and Jam and Bowie. They occupied the same space as The Stones, Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith…bands all the kids who didn’t know better were into.

  5. Ditto the Fireman album…there’s some sense to be made of the pairing of Youth and McCartney, and after all, it’s not really a far walk from Soho Square to Berwick Street…

  6. Ha ha. I too definitely fall into the Beatles are overrated camp. Not that they are no good but Some people would have you believe that nothing in the 50 odd years from Sergeant Pepper has bettered it which is pretty stupid. Even more than the Beatles being overrated in my humble or not so humble opinion Sergeant Peppers is the definitely most overrated album ever ! There is a strong argument for saying the whole thing actually sucks.The best song everyone thinks is on on the album isn’t actually on it, Strawberry Fields Forever. They had the good fortune of having a great producer.

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