I didn’t quite understand at the time that it was impossible for any musician or and to maintain incredibly high standards in their career and that at some point in time there has to be a dip in quality. It would happen in due course with almost every other band that sustained any sort of lengthy career without a break but as this was the first time I’d seen it happen to one off mine I just didn’t get it….
In addition to fourteen singles The Jam had also released up to this point five studio LPs and all in a little over four years during which time they had toured almost non-stop on those occasions when they weren’t in the studio. And Paul Weller had barely passed his 23rd birthday….
mp3 : The Jam – Absolute Beginners
mp3 : The Jam – Tales From The Riverbank
I much preferred the b-side but still thought it inferior to many earlier b-sides and album tracks that were unknown to the wider public. Little did any of us know at the time that the band were going through a bit of a crisis at the time in terms of future musical directions that would only become apparent over the next twelve months….
The first alternative version today again comes from the Studio B15 live show on 25 October 1981. This time you have to tolerate 17 seconds of jingles and DJ waffle before the song kicks in
mp3 : The Jam – Absolute Beginners (BBC live version)
and then sadly, there’s more waffle from the DJ in the closing few seconds.
From the same show, and again spoiled somewhat by chat at the start and end:-
mp3 : The Jam – Tales From The Riverbank (BBC live version)
The band would play both songs at the Golders Green gig at the end of December 1981:-
mp3 : The Jam – Absolute Beginners (live)
mp3 : The Jam – Tales From The Riverbank (live)
And finally…..a version recorded in November 1981 and issued the following year as a flexidisc to fan club members (and no, I never did sign up and join….for some reason or other I never did that with any singer or band that I liked)
mp3 : The Jam – Tales From The Riverbank (flexidisc version)
Oh and I almost forgot to mention. The single did reach #4 on its original release and then #83 when it was part of the batch of 1983 re-releases.