23 March 2012

Retro Video Unit (3/23/12)

Digging through the dusty basement of YouTube can sometimes be frustrating. There are songs that I'm certain have official videos, but if I can't find them anywhere I can't feature them. Sometimes the only version of a song is a live performance, but that can sometimes turn out to be just as good.

And sometimes I find exactly what I'm looking for. I've always liked The Jam and think they were criminally overlooked during the late 1970s new wave period. I once read that someone believed they didn't catch on in America because their British accents could still be heard when they sang. I have no idea if that's true, and it would be terribly arbitrary if it was.

Their music had clear 1960s influences at a time when many other punk and new wave musicians were trying to distance themselves from that era, so perhaps that contributed to their lack of popularity. They also made overtly political music, they dressed rather well for musicians (for me that was just one more reason to like them), and they did things like release singles that were not later included on albums, which may have confused some of their more casual fans. This is one of those singles, "Going Underground." In the US it was packaged as a bonus with early pressings of the album Sound Affects, and I still have my copies.

This is about as simple as a music video can get, but it allows the song to stand on its own. Paul Weller and Bruce Foxton are playing Rickenbacker instruments, which were (and still are) among the coolest-looking guitars and basses.

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