Sound Affects

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Sound Affects
Studio album by
Released28 November 1980 (1980-11-28)
Recorded15 June – 22 October 1980
StudioThe Town House, London
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 English rock band the Jam. The album was released on 28 November 1980 by Polydor Records. It is the only Jam album to be co-produced by the band themselves, and contains the only album track co-written by the entire band, "Music for the Last Couple".[1]

The cover art is a pastiche of the artwork used on various Sound Effects records produced by the BBC during the 1970s.

Jam frontman Paul Weller has opined Sound Affects to be the Jam's best album.[2]


Noted musical influences on Sound Affects 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. Paul Weller has freely admitted that the Beatles' Revolver was a major influence on much of the material on Sound Affects.[3] At the time of its release, he said that he considered the album a cross between Off the Wall and Revolver.[2]

"Start!" is built around an almost exact copy of the bassline from the Beatles' "Taxman", the first track on Revolver, and includes a homage to its guitar solo. "Pretty Green" includes a funk bassline and rhythm with melodic guitar breaks and psychedelic sound effects. The song is also the only recording by the Jam to include sitar lines, which are buried in the mix, but are more prominent in the demo version. "That's Entertainment" is an acoustic ballad. "Boy About Town" and "Dream Time" include horns. "Music for the Last Couple” has similarities to the sound of David Bowie's Low album.

The back cover of the album features an excerpt from Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem The Masque of Anarchy.[4][5]


Sound Affects sold over 100,000 copies and spent 19 weeks on the UK Albums Chart, rising to number two in late 1980.[6][7][8] In the United States, the album spent 11 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart and reached its peak position of number 72 in February 1981.[9]

The album features the group's second UK number one single, "Start!". 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 selected "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 three.[7]

Sound Affects was reissued on 8 November 2010 as a two-CD deluxe edition to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The 2010 reissue also charted in the UK, reaching number 63 in November of that year.[7]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Classic Rock9/10[11]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[12]
Record Collector[15]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[16]
Spin Alternative Record Guide10/10[18]

Record Mirror ranked it the best album of 1980.[20]

In 2006, Q placed Sound Affects at number 15 on its list of the "40 Best Albums of the '80s".[21] In 2013, NME ranked Sound Affects at number 487 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[22] In 2020, Rolling Stone included Sound Affects in their "80 Greatest albums of 1980" list, praising the band for crafting their "finest album", while encapsulating "the classic English songcraft of the Kinks and the Small Faces, singing about working-class anger".[23] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[24]

In BBC Radio 6 Music's documentary The Jam: Made in Britain, Paul Weller cited Sound Affects as his favourite Jam album.[2]

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

Deluxe track listing[edit]

CD1 as per original release

Track listing CD2

  1. Start! (Single Version) – 2:20
  2. Liza Radley – 2:34
  3. Dreams Of Children – 2:59
  4. That's Entertainment (Alternative) – 3:24
  5. Pretty Green (Demo) – 2:38
  6. Pop Art Poem – 2:10
  7. Rain (Demo) written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney – 2:58
  8. Boy About Town (Demo) – 2:18
  9. Dream Time (Demo) – 1:52
  10. Dead End Street (Demo) written by Ray Davies – 3:15
  11. But I'm Different Now (Demo) – 1:57
  12. Scrape Away (Instrumental) – 3:59
  13. Start! (Demo) – 2:17
  14. Liza Radley (Demo) – 2:18
  15. And Your Bird Can Sing (Demo) written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney – 1:54
  16. Monday (Alternative) – 4:20
  17. Get Yourself Together (Demo) written by Ronnie Lane & Steve Marriott – 2:00
  18. Set the House Ablaze (Alternative) – 4:47
  19. Boy About Town (Alternative) – 2:14
  20. No One In The World (Demo) – 2:24
  21. 'Instrumental' (Demo) – 2:54
  22. Waterloo Sunset (Demo) written by Ray Davies – 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".
  • On the Canadian issue (Polydor PD-1-6315), "Start!" and "Pretty Green" were switched.
  • Pop Art Poem was first released on flexidisc free with Flexipop magazine


Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes[25] and AllMusic.[26]

The Jam


  • The Jam – production, sleeve design
  • Vic Coppersmith-Heaven – production
  • George Chambers – assistant engineering
  • Alan Douglas – engineering
  • Bill Smith – sleeve design
  • Andrew Douglas – photography
  • Martyn Goddard – photography
  • Andrew Rosen – photography
  • Pennie Smith – photography
  • Laurent Locher - French spoken vocals on 'Scrape Away'



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[33] Gold 100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "Sound Affects". Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Siebert, Valerie (8 November 2010). "30 Years On: The Jam's Sound Affects Revisited". The Quietus. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  3. ^ The Mojo Collection (4th ed.). Canongate Books. 2007. p. 457. ISBN 978-1-847-67643-6.
  4. ^ "From Paul Weller to Peterloo". People's History Museum. 1 March 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  5. ^ "The Masque of Anarchy". Leeds University Libraries. 8 April 2020. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  6. ^ a b "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "Jam". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  8. ^ "The Jam: Sound Affects". Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  9. ^ a b "The Jam Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  10. ^ Woodstra, Chris. "Sound Affects – The Jam". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  11. ^ Dee, Johnny (January 2011). "The Jam: Sound Affects". Classic Rock. No. 153. p. 112.
  12. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Jam". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  13. ^ "The Jam: Sound Affects". Mojo. No. 205. December 2010. p. 114.
  14. ^ "The Jam: Sound Affects". Q. No. 293. December 2010.
  15. ^ Staunton, Terry (Christmas 2010). "The Jam: Sound Affects". Record Collector. No. 383. p. 89.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Duerden, Nick (July 2008). "Discography: Paul Weller". Spin. Vol. 24, no. 7. p. 88. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  18. ^ Sheffield, Rob (1995). "Jam". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. pp. 195–96. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  19. ^ Quantick, David (December 2010). "The Jam: Sound Affects". Uncut. No. 163. p. 99.
  20. ^ "Poll 1980 Results" (PDF). Record Mirror. 10 January 1981. pp. 16–17. Retrieved 15 November 2022 – via
  21. ^ "40 Best Albums of the '80s". Q. No. 241. August 2006.
  22. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time: 500–401". NME. 21 October 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  23. ^ "The 80 Greatest Albums of 1980 What came out of all this was, arguably, the greatest year for great albums ever". Rolling Stone. 11 November 2020. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  24. ^ Sheridan, Tim (2006). "The Jam: Sound Affects". In Dimery, Robert (ed.). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Universe Publishing. p. 466. ISBN 978-0-7893-1371-3.
  25. ^ Sound Affects (liner notes). The Jam. Polydor Records. 1980. POLD 5035.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  26. ^ "Sound Affects – The Jam | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  27. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 153. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  28. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 0292". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  29. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. p. 221. ISBN 951-31-2503-3.
  30. ^ " – The Jam – Sound Affects". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  31. ^ " – The Jam – Sound Affects". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  32. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1981 — The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Recorded Music New Zealand. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  33. ^ "British album certifications – The Jam – Sound Affects". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 14 November 2020. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Sound Affects in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]