Sound Affects

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Sound Affects
The Jam - Sound Effects.jpg
Studio album by
Released28 November 1980
Recorded15 June–22 October 1980 at The Town House, London[1]
The Jam chronology
Setting Sons
Sound Affects
The Gift
Singles from Sound Affects
  1. "Start!"
    Released: 15 August 1980
  2. "That's Entertainment"
    Released: January 1981

Sound Affects is the fifth studio album by British rock band the Jam. The cover art is a pastiche of the artwork used on various Sound Effects records produced by the BBC during the 1970s. It is their only album co-produced by the band, and contains the only album track co-written by the entire band, "Music for the Last Couple". The album was released on 28 November 1980.[2]

Paul Weller is known to have opined Sound Affects as the best album the Jam released throughout their career;[3] freely admitting the Beatles' Revolver had been a major influence upon much of the material from the album.[4]


Musical influences noted include post-punk groups such as Wire, Gang of Four, and Joy Division and, particularly evident in Rick Buckler's drumming, Michael Jackson's Off the Wall album. Frontman Paul Weller said at the time that he considered the album a cross between Off the Wall and Revolver. In BBC Radio 6 Music's documentary The Jam: Made in Britain, Weller cited it as his favourite Jam album.[5]


The album features the group's second UK number one single, "Start!", built around an almost exact copy of the bassline and a homage to the guitar solo from the Beatles' "Taxman", the first track on Revolver. Polydor pushed for "Pretty Green" to be the first single released, but Weller insisted on "Start!". This involved consulting a few of the band's friends as to what they thought the best release would be. Weller had Polydor A&R man Dennis Munday ask a small peer group of his friends who had been present throughout the recording sessions at the Town House and prior demo recordings at Polydor studios. Given the choice, they chose "Start!" as the best single release and the decision was made to release it. The decision was vindicated when "Start!" topped the British singles charts in its third week after entering at number 3.[6] "Pretty Green" includes a funk bassline and rhythm with melodic guitar breaks and psychedelic sound effects. "That's Entertainment" is an acoustic ballad. "Boy About Town" and "Dream Time" include horns.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[7]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[8]
Mojo5/5 stars[9]
Q4/5 stars[10]
Record Collector4/5 stars[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[12]
Spin4.5/5 stars[13]
Spin Alternative Record Guide10/10[14]
Uncut4/5 stars[15]

In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at No. 15 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".[16]

NME ranked Sound Affects as No. 487 on their list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[17]

Chart performance[edit]

Sound Affects spent 19 weeks on the UK album charts, rising to No. 2 in late 1980.[18] In the U.S., the album spent 11 weeks on the Billboard 200 album charts and reached its peak position of No. 72 in February 1981.[19]

The 2010 rerelease also charted in the UK, reaching No. 63 in November of that year.[18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Paul Weller except where noted.

Side one
1."Pretty Green"2:37
3."But I'm Different Now"1:52
4."Set the House Ablaze"5:03
6."That's Entertainment"3:38
Side two
1."Dream Time"3:54
2."Man in the Corner Shop"3:12
3."Music for the Last Couple" (Rick Buckler, Bruce Foxton, Paul Weller)3:45
4."Boy About Town"2:00
5."Scrape Away"3:59
  • "Start!" was the first track on Side one of the US issue. This issue also included the "Going Underground/"Dreams of Children" 7".

2010 2 CD Deluxe Edition[edit]

Sound Affects was re-issued on 8 November 2010 as a 2 CD Deluxe Edition to celebrate its 30th Anniversary.

CD1 – the original LP.
CD 2 – Demos, B-sides, alternative versions

All songs by Paul Weller except where stated

  1. "Start!" (Single version) – The Jam, Vic Coppersmith-Heaven
  2. "Liza Radley" – The Jam, Vic Coppersmith-Heaven
  3. "The Dreams of Children" – The Jam, Vic Coppersmith-Heaven
  4. "That's Entertainment" (alternative) – Peter Wilson, The Jam, Rick Buckler, Bruce Foxton, Paul Weller
  5. "Pretty Green" (demo) – The Jam ♠
  6. "Pop Art Poem" – Peter Wilson, The Jam
  7. "Rain" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) (demo) – Peter Wilson, The Jam, Rick Buckler, Bruce Foxton, Paul Weller
  8. "Boy About Town" (demo) – The Jam ♠
  9. "Dream Time" (demo) – Rick Buckler, Bruce Foxton, Paul Weller, The Jam, Vic Coppersmith-Heaven
  10. "Dead End Street" (Ray Davies) (demo) – Peter Wilson, The Jam, Rick Buckler, Bruce Foxton, Paul Weller
  11. "But I'm Different Now" (demo) – Peter Wilson, The Jam
  12. "Scrapeaway" (instrumental) – The Jam ♠
  13. "Start!" (demo) – The Jam
  14. "Liza Radley" (demo) – Peter Wilson, The Jam
  15. "And Your Bird Can Sing" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) (demo) - Peter Wilson, The Jam
  16. "Monday" (alternative) – The Jam ♠
  17. "Get Yourself Together" (Ronnie Lane, Steve Marriott) (demo) – Peter Wilson, The Jam
  18. "Set The House Ablaze" (alternative 'dub' ending) – The Jam ♠
  19. "Boy About Town" (alternative) – Peter Wilson, The Jam, Vic Coppersmith-Heaven
  20. "No One in the World" (demo) – Peter Wilson, The Jam
  21. "Instrumental" (demo) – The Jam ♠
  22. "Waterloo Sunset" (Ray Davies) (demo) – The Jam ♠

Note ♠ – Tracks previously unreleased


The Jam
  • Alan Douglas - Engineer
  • George Chambers - Assistant Engineer
  • Bill Smith, The Jam - sleeve design
  • Andrew Rosen, Martyn Goddard - front cover photography


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Sound Affects". 16 September 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  3. ^ "30 Years On: The Jam's Sound Affects Revisited". 8 November 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  4. ^ The Mojo Collection: 4th Edition ISBN 978-1-847-67643-6 p. 457
  5. ^ "30 Years On: The Jam's Sound Affects Revisited". 8 November 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  6. ^ "The Jam – Start The Official Charts Company". The Official Charts Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  7. ^ Woodstra, Chris. "Sound Affects – The Jam". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  8. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  9. ^ "The Jam: Sound Affects". Mojo (205): 114. December 2010.
  10. ^ "The Jam: Sound Affects". Q (293). December 2010.
  11. ^ Staunton, Terry (25 December 2010). "The Jam: Sound Affects". Record Collector (383): 89.
  12. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "The Jam". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 416–17. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  13. ^ Duerden, Nick (July 2008). "Discography: Paul Weller". Spin. 24 (7): 88. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  14. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  15. ^ Quantick, David (December 2010). "The Jam: Sound Affects Deluxe Reissue". Uncut (163): 99. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  16. ^ Q August 2006, Issue 241, list
  17. ^ "NME 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". 21 October 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  18. ^ a b "UK Official Charts: Sound Affects". Official Charts Company. 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  19. ^ "Billboard 200: The Jam". Billboard. 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  20. ^ "Sound Affects - The Jam | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 October 2019.

External links[edit]