That's Entertainment (The Jam song)
|Single by The Jam|
|from the album Sound Affects|
|B-side||Down in the Tube Station at Midnight (Live)|
|Released||7 February 1981|
|Recorded||December 1980 – January 1981|
|Producer(s)||Vic Coppersmith-Heaven and The Jam|
|The Jam singles chronology|
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.
"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.
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." 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."
The song appeared in the unveiling of the new unified on-screen identity for ITV1 (now ITV) in October 27, 2002. It also appeared in the 2006 film Stranger than Fiction starring Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Queen Latifah and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
- "That's Entertainment" – Song and discussion at BBC
- Paul Weller Official site
- That's Entertainment (The Jam song) at AllMusic