Watch The Jam’s electric performance of ‘Going Underground’ in 1980
At a time when live music remains somewhat of a distant memory amid the health crisis, we’re making a socially distanced looked back at The Jam and their now-anthemic single ‘Going Underground’, unearthing an absolute gem of a performance from the year of its release in 1980.
The footage, taken from Newcastle City Hall in October 1980, shows just how mesmerising, electric and ferocious Paul Weller and Co. were in their prime. The band show off their powerful and idiosyncratic songwriting complimented so easily with their charged performance.
The iconic song, which was originally released in 1980 and shot to the top of the charts, propelled The Who to new levels of fame. In what was the first of three chart-topping hits for the group, ‘Going Underground’ signified core elements of who The Jam and Weller were, tackling important social issues with an uncompromising attitude. Discussing themes of social and political corruption, Thatcherism and more, The Jam were shouting their message from the rooftops for anybody who would listen.
From this video, however, it’s very easy to see not only The Jam‘s ability to turn a venue into a recreation of a Beatles gig with fans simply losing their shit—but also the career trajectory of Weller rolling out in front of him. “Everyone gets frustrated and aggressive, and I’d sooner take my aggression out on a guitar than on a person,” the lead singer once said…and that is exactly how he earned his trade.
Weller commands the stage with simple and effective movement, his vocals are succinct and authentic and his guitar playing is like the underground itself, pulsating, electrified and ultimately very dangerous.