“In The City”

THE JAM – “In The City” / “Takin’ My Love” (Polydor 2058 866) April 1977

The Jam “In The City – Originally titled ‘In The City There’s A Thousand Things I Want To Say To You’, The Jam’s debut single acts as a compact manifesto.

Characterised by Weller’s London-crazed emphasis on what Julie Birchill called Capitalism, and its advocacy of “the young idea” – in verse two, with the scythe-like certainty of late adolescence, a line of generational conflict is drawn at 25.

‘In The City’ is so perfectly arranged as to be little short of dizzying from Weller’s ragged guitar intro, through that glorious bass line, to the main body of the song, it vibrates with the same righteousness as the lyric.

Indeed, so convinced was its author of its brilliance that he made a badge featuring the opening line and wore it to his local pub.

As far more inspirational sources are concerned, as with much early Jam music one can easily discern the imprint of The Who (the title, in fact, is shared with the B-side of 1966’s ‘I’m A Boy’).

The song’s central riff, however, seems to be copped from The Clash’s ‘White Riot’, following the melody of the “they don’t mind throwing a brick” / “teach you how to be thick” lines.

Whatever, ‘In The City’ managed to teleport Weller out of suburbia and place him squarely in the midst of capital-centered developments. Instant proof came in October ’77, when the riff baton was passed on yet again and ‘In The City’s intro was stolen by Steve Jones for the Pistols’ ‘Holiday’s In The Sun’. (Mojo)

First release from the New Wave’s finest band. The Jam, and the title cut from their soon to be released album. ‘In The City’ is the most convincing British penned teenage anthem I’ve heard in a Very Long Time – perhaps since the halcyon days of the ’60s.

The song shows The Jam to have been influenced by The Who, and the Townshendesque power chords Paul Weller wrenches from his Rickenbacker back up the impression. But that’s like saying The Beatles were never influenced by Motown. – everyone has to start somewhere – and The Who never played with the same urgency as this.

A huge hit and a record those narrow minded reactionaries who control our radio will have to play.
(NME, 23/04/77)

Debut 45 by Woking’s finest is a Who influenced celebration of British life and in particular the growing punk movement in London during 1976. Paul Weller was still a teenager when this single was released and the energetic gig performances probably propelled the record to #40 in the Charts.

’In The City’ has instant appeal with it’s opening three chord guitar riff and the descending bass runs from Bruce Foxton. Now that guy doesn’t get enough credit for his inventive bass playing. Rick Buckler adds to the sheer energy and attitude of the song with his opening snare drum roll and his aggressive punk drums throughout. (EXPO67)

Sure proof that high energy doesn’t mean low mentality. Surging 1977 metropolitan blues with rumbling bass, shuffling skins, tough licks and quick-speak chorus. Be there or be square. (Record Mirror)

Categories: Jam

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