Going Underground

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"Going Underground"
Single by The Jam
A-side"Dreams of Children"
Released14 March 1980
Format7" vinyl
RecordedDecember 1979
Songwriter(s)Paul Weller
Producer(s)Vic Coppersmith-Heaven
The Jam singles chronology
"The Eton Rifles"
"Going Underground" / "Dreams of Children"

"Going Underground" is the first British #1 chart single by The Jam, released in March 1980. It went straight in at #1 in the UK Singles Chart,[2] spending three weeks at the top.[3] It was the first of three instant chart-toppers for the group.

Song profile[edit]

"Going Underground" was not released on any of the band's six studio albums, although it has appeared on many compilations and re-releases since then. The song was released as a double A-side with "Dreams of Children", which originally had been intended to be the sole A-side; following a mix-up at the pressing plant, the single became a double A-side, and DJs tended to choose the more melodic "Going Underground" to play on the radio.[4]

The song covered important social issues of the time such as political corruption, voter apathy and Thatcherism. [5]

The song was ranked at #2 among the "Tracks of the Year" for 1980 by NME.[6]In March 2005, Q magazine placed "Going Underground" at #73 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks, and in October 2006, placed it at #98 in its list of the 100 Greatest Songs Ever.

Covers and parodies[edit]

Ade Edmondson's folk punk band The Bad Shepherds covered it in 2013.

Welsh alternative metal band Lostprophets covered the song in 2007 as a B-side to their single 4:AM Forever.

The comedy band Amateur Transplants released a two-minute parody titled "London Underground" in 2005 in the light of the December strike. It became a popular download in the United Kingdom.

The song was covered by Buffalo Tom for the 1999 Jam tribute album Fire and Skill: The Songs of the Jam. This version also was released as part of a double A-side single with Liam Gallagher's and Steve Cradock's version of "Carnation" and reached #6 in the UK singles chart.[7]

Manfred Mann's Earth Band covered the song on their 1986 album "Criminal Tango".

Daryl Denham released a version of the song titled "Go England" in 2002 after Weller gave permission for it to be adapted as a football song.

Dreams of Children[edit]

"Going Underground" was coupled with "Dreams of Children" as a double A-side. It opens and is intermittently accentuated with a backmasked sample of the band's 1979 song "Thick as Thieves". In the US the backwards intro was edited out making the single 10 seconds shorter than the UK Version. This US edit is available on the best-of compilation Snap!.

The Jam released two other double A-side singles: "David Watts"/"'A' Bomb in Wardour Street" and "Town Called Malice"/"Precious".


  1. ^ Egan, Sean (6 November 2014). The Clash: The Only Band That Mattered. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 165. ISBN 0810888769, 9780810888760.
  2. ^ Jo Rice (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Guinness Superlatives Ltd. pp. 202–3. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
  3. ^ "1980 Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK Archive 22 March 1980". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  4. ^ David Lines (31 March 2012). The Modfather: My Life with Paul Weller. Random House. p. 103. ISBN 9781448149100.
  5. ^ Cairns, Dan (14 September 2008). "Song of the year: 1980 Going Underground by The Jam". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0956-1382. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year". NME. 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  7. ^ Nick Edwards (October 2003). "Buffalo Tom". In Peter Buckley (ed.). The Rough Guide to ROck (3rd ed.). Rough Guides. pp. 147–148. ISBN 9781843531050. Retrieved 24 February 2015.

External links[edit]