So there I was, on the back of Absolute Beginners full of fear for what the first single of 1982 might offer up. I was also bemused by the fact that it was to be released in two formats including the first ever 12″ single by The Jam. The music papers advised that the 7″ format would have two standard studio versions of what was officially a double-A side 45 while the 12″ would be a live version of one of the tracks and an extended version of the other.
It was a brave or perhaps foolish move to issue a live version of an as yet unreleased song wasn’t it?
mp3 : The Jam – Town Called Malice
mp3 : The Jam – Precious
mp3 : The Jam – Town Called Malice (live)
mp3 : The Jam – Precious (extended)
The single went straight in at #1 on its release on 29 January and caused a bit of a row with other record labels complaining that fans were buying both versions of the single and that it was this use of multi-formatting that had lifted to straight into the top slot. That argument might have held water if the single had immediately dropped down the following week but it stayed at #1 for three weeks, helped by the band being the first in something like 15 years to be asked to perform two songs on the same edition of Top of The Pops. And arguably, Malice remains the most instantly recognisable song by The Jam nowadays and is very much a staple of the golden oldies slots on UK radio.
All of which disguises that many fans were bemused and indeed some were appalled by Precious which was a straight-up funk/soul effort as far removed from In The City just five years earlier as can be imagined. It took me a while to get used to it, but I fell in love with Malice immediately
The live version had been recorded just a few weeks previously on 14 December 1981 at a gig at the Hammersmith Palais in London. Five days later it would also be captured in the live setting at the fanclub gig at Golders Green Hippodrome
mp3 : The Jam – Town Called Malice (live at Golders Green)
as indeed was the other side of the release:-
mp3 : The Jam – Precious (live at Golders Green)
And finally, from the Direction Reaction Creation boxset here’s a demo version:-
mp3 : The Jam – Precious (demo)
When the decision was taken in 1983 by Polydor to re-release all the old singles it was only the 7″ version that was made available. It reached #73.