"Absolute Beginners" was a single released by The Jam on 24 October 1981. Although it did not appear on any of the band's studio albums, it reached number 4 in the UK Singles chart. The song was named after the Colin MacInnes novel of the same name.
This book was one of songwriter Paul Weller's favourites, being chosen by him when he appeared on Desert Island Discs. 
"Tales From The Riverbank" appeared as the B-side. The band's record company Polydor later stated that they thought "Tales From The Riverbank" should have been released as the A-side.