“The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had to Swallow)” is a single that was released by The Jam in 1982. It made its UK chart debut in the week of 18 September in the No. 5 position, and it peaked at No. 2. Issued after the success of the album The Gift, the song did not appear on any of the band’s studio albums. The B-side to the single was a medley of the Paul Weller-penned “Pity Poor Alfie” and “Fever”. In the USA, the song appeared on a five-track EP, The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had to Swallow) (Polydor 506), which peaked at No. 135 on the Billboard 200 album chart. “The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had to Swallow)” was re-issued as a single in 1997, peaking at No. 30.
“Town Called Malice” is a song recorded by British band The Jam from the album The Gift. It reached number one in the UK Singles Chart in February 1982. The title is a play on the 1950 Nevil Shute novel A Town Like Alice although Paul Weller says he had not read the book at the time. It was a double A-side single release featuring “Precious” as the flip side. A 12″ version was also available with a live version of “Town Called Malice” backed by an extended version of “Precious”. Paul Weller has said that it was written about his hometown Woking as a result of his teenage experiences there.
“That’s Entertainment” is a 1980 song by British punk-mod revivalist group The Jam from their fifth album, Sound Affects.
Although never released as a domestic single in the UK during the band’s lifetime, “That’s Entertainment” nonetheless charted as an import single (backed by a live version of “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight”), peaking at No. 21. It was given its first full UK release in 1983 and peaked at No. 60. A second reissue in 1991 also made the top 50.
The song remains one of the two all-time biggest selling import singles in the UK, alongside The Jam’s “Just Who Is the 5 O’Clock Hero?”, which hit the charts at number eight as an import in 1982.
“Going Underground” is the first British number-one chart single by The Jam, released in March 1980. It went straight in at number one in the UK Singles Chart, a rare feat at the time, and spent three weeks at the top. It was the first of three instant chart-toppers for the group.
“The Eton Rifles” was the only single to be released from the album Setting Sons by The Jam. Recorded at Townhouse studios and released on 3 November 1979, it became the band’s first top ten hit in the United Kingdom, peaking at No. 3. It is also the only official Jam single for which a video was not recorded.
The song was produced by Vic Coppersmith-Heaven and The Jam, and was backed by the B-side “See-Saw”.
In May 2008, Conservative leader and Old Etonian David Cameron named “The Eton Rifles” as one of his favourite songs. Cameron is reported to have said “I was one, in the corps. It meant a lot, some of those early Jam albums we used to listen to. I don’t see why the left should be the only ones allowed to listen to protest songs.”
Cameron’s praise for the song earned a scathing rejection from Paul Weller, who said, “Which part of it didn’t he get? It wasn’t intended as a jolly drinking song for the cadet corps.”
In November 2011 Guardian music critic, Alexis Petridis, questioned Cameron further; “You said the Jam’s song Eton Rifles was important to you when you were at Eton. Paul Weller, who wrote the song, was pretty incredulous to hear this, and claimed you couldn’t have understood the lyrics. What did you think that song was about at the time? Be honest.’ To which Cameron replied; “I went to Eton in 1979, which was the time when the Jam, the Clash, the Sex Pistols were producing some amazing music and everyone liked the song because of the title. But of course I understood what it was about. It was taking the mick out of people running around the cadet force. And he was poking a stick at us. But it was a great song with brilliant lyrics. I’ve always thought that if you can only like music if you agree with the political views of the person who wrote it, well, it’d be rather limiting.”
“Down in the Tube Station at Midnight” was the second single taken from the album All Mod Cons by The Jam. Released on 21 October 1978, it charted at number 15 and was backed by a cover of the Who song “So Sad About Us”, and “The Night”, written by Bruce Foxton. The back of the record jacket displayed a photo of Keith Moon, former drummer of The Who, who had died the month prior to the single’s release.
Saturns Pattern, the new album by Paul Weller, is out now.