That's Entertainment (The Jam song)

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For the 1952 song featured in musical film The Band Wagon, see That's Entertainment! (song).
"That's Entertainment"
Single by The Jam
from the album Sound Affects
B-side "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight" (live)
Released 1980
Format 7-inch single
Length 3:38
Writer(s) Paul Weller
ISWC T-010.182.160-6
The Jam singles chronology
"That's Entertainment"
"Funeral Pyre"

"That's Entertainment" is a 1980 song by British punk-mod revivalist group The Jam from their fifth album, Sound Affects.

Although never released as a domestic single in the UK during the band's lifetime, "That's Entertainment" nonetheless charted as an import single (backed by a live version of "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight"), peaking at No. 21. It was given its first full UK release in 1983 and peaked at No. 60. A second reissue in 1991 also made the top 50.

The song remains one of the two all-time biggest selling import singles in the UK, alongside The Jam's "Just Who Is the 5 O'Clock Hero?", which hit the charts at number eight as an import in 1982.

Song profile[edit]

"That's Entertainment" is the group's lone entry, at No.306, on the list of the 500 greatest songs of all time released by Rolling Stone in 2004. It consistently makes similar British lists of all-time great songs, such as BBC Radio 2's Sold on Song 2004 Top 100, at No.43.[1]

The song uses an almost entirely acoustic arrangement with only very light percussion. Like much of Sound Affects, the song has strong undercurrents of pop-psychedelia. The only electric guitar part in the song is played backwards over one of the verses, a hallmark of psychedelia.

The minimalist, slice-of-life lyrics list various conditions of British working class life. The first verse:

"A police car and a screaming siren"
"Pneumatic drill and ripped-up concrete"
"A baby wailing, stray dog howling"
"The screech of brakes and lamp light blinking"

culminating in the laconic and ironic chorus of "That's entertainment, That's entertainment"

"I was in London by the time I wrote 'That's Entertainment'," said Weller, "writing it was easy in a sense because all those images were at hand, around me."[2] In an interview with Absolute Radio he said: "I wrote it in 10 mins flat, whilst under the influence, I'd had a few but some songs just write themselves. It was easy to write, I drew on everything around me."[3]

The song appeared in the unveiling of the new unified on-screen identity for ITV1 (now ITV) in October 27, 2002.[4] It also appeared in the 2006 film Stranger than Fiction starring Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Queen Latifah and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Cover versions[edit]

Morrissey covered the song. It appeared as the b-side for the Sing Your Life single and it also appears on the compilation album Suedehead: The Best of Morrissey

A version by Jade Williams under the name Whinnie Williams was used in an advertisement for the Renault Zoe.

In 2000 The Wonder Stuff re-released Never Loved Elvis with bonus tracks that included a cover of the song.

An instrumental version of the song was used on TV commercials for McDonalds in the UK in 2016.


  1. ^ "Radio 2 Sold on Song homepage". BBC. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  2. ^ The Guardian, 16 March 2009
  3. ^ Absolute Radio, 30 June 2013
  4. ^ "ITV1 2002 First Promo". YouTube. 19 August 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 

External links[edit]