Monday, November 12, 2018

Musical Monday - Start! by the Jam

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: The week of September 6, 1980.

Few things really hammer home how different the U.S. and the U.K. are culturally than the music of the early 1980s. While the U.S. was making soft rock songs like Sailing and Motowned-up disco songs like Upside Down into the top hit in the U.S., the U.K. was following up Bowie's Ashes to Ashes with a Beatles-inspired song by a punk band fronted by a guy who looks like he really wanted to be John Lennon. Both sets of songs have their merits, but it is interesting that the U.S. was far less receptive to punk than the U.K., and far more enthusiastic about highly polished and produced material.

Like most punk bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Jam has an almost garage band feel. This song almost sounds like someone set a tape deck to record during a rehearsal session. The song has a very Beatles-esque feel, which isn't all that surprising since the guitar and bass riffs were more or less lifted from the Beatles song Taxman. This song was the Jam's second number one single in the U.K. I don't think any punk band other than Blondie ever got to number one in the U.S., and Blondie had to do it by essentially abandoning their punk roots and making disco, reggae, and rap songs.

Previous Musical Monday: Sailing by Christopher Cross
Subsequent Musical Monday: Upside Down by Diana Ross

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Feels Like I'm in Love by Kelly Marie

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

The Jam     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

No comments:

Post a Comment