That’s Entertainment -The Jam : Iconic Songs & the story behind them

The Jam That’s Entertainment

January 1981

The Jam : Iconic Songs & the story behind them

That’s Entertainment” is a 1980 song by British punkmod 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 No. 8 as an import in 1982.

“That’s Entertainment” has been listed by BBC Radio 2 as the 43rd best song ever released by any artist.

The Jam – That’s Entertainment (Official Video)

Song profile

“That’s Entertainment” is the group’s lone entry, at No.306, on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list released in 2004. It consistently makes similar British lists of all-time great songs, such as BBC Radio 2‘s “Sold on Song” 2004 Top 100, at No.43.

The song uses an almost entirely acoustic arrangement with only very light percussion. Like much of Sound Affects, the song has strong undercurrents of pop-psychedelia. The only electric guitar part in the song is played backwards over one of the verses, a hallmark of psychedelia.

The minimalist, slice-of-life lyrics list various conditions of British working-class life. The first verse:

A police car and a screaming siren
Pneumatic drill and ripped-up concrete
A baby wailing, stray dog howling
The screech of brakes and lamp light blinking

culminating in the laconic and ironic refrain of “That’s entertainment, That’s entertainment”

“I was in London by the time I wrote ‘That’s Entertainment’,” said Weller, “writing it was easy in a sense because all those images were at hand, around me.”

In an interview with Absolute Radio he said:

“I wrote it in 10 mins flat, whilst under the influence, I’d had a few but some songs just write themselves. It was easy to write, I drew on everything around me.

Lyrics

“That’s Entertainment”

A police car and a screaming siren
Pneumatic drill and ripped-up concrete
A baby wailing, a stray dog howling
The screech of brakes and lamplight blinking

That’s entertainment
That’s entertainment

A smash of glass and the rumble of boots
An electric train and a ripped-up phone booth
Paint-splattered walls and the cry of a tomcat
Lights going out and a kick in the balls

I say that’s entertainment
That’s entertainment
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah

Days of speed and slow-time Mondays
Pissing down with rain on a boring Wednesday
Watching the news and not eating your tea
A freezing cold flat with damp on the walls

I say that’s entertainment
That’s entertainment
La la la la la
La la la la la

Waking up at 6 A.M. on a cool warm morning
Opening the windows and breathing in petrol
An amateur band rehearsing in a nearby yard
Watching the telly and thinking ’bout your holidays

That’s entertainment
That’s entertainment
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la

Waking up from bad dreams and smoking cigarettes
Cuddling a warm girl and smelling stale perfume
A hot summer’s day and sticky black tarmac
Feeding ducks in the park and wishing you were far away

That’s entertainment
That’s entertainment

Two lovers kissing masks a scream of midnight
Two lovers missing the tranquility of solitude
Getting a cab and traveling on buses
Reading the graffiti about slashed-seat affairs

I say that’s entertainment
That’s entertainment
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah

See: Thats Entertainment chords

Morrissey – That’s Entertainment ( rare version, The Jam cover)

Main Source: Wikipedia , That’s Entertainment

See below for some stories during my crazy mod days ,

I write about these in my book

See: Mod Days & Getting Stoned with Paul Weller

noddy funeral

See: The Loyalist Mod: Death of a fellow Mod & A catholic friend! Noddy Clarke R.I.P

My book is published on the 8th September , see pinned tweet for more details

See: below for other Iconic songs and the story behind them .

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