[20] The Jam, ‘The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)’

1982. ‘A Little Peace’ taking the Eurovision crown, The Falklands “Conflict”, a harrowing single term at boarding school, the Kids from Fame, the Goombay Dance Band, the lion sleeps tonight, dropping out of the Cubs to practise being Zico in the back garden, spending £1.25 on my first 7” single. They’re cheaper NOW.

The Jam’s penultimate single, then. I felt the pain of their break-up keenly, I didn’t understand why they’d stop. Perhaps it was some kind of law. A law that should be enforced more often, come to think. ‘The Bitterest Pill’ has a beautifully succinct lyric, a string-soaked, white-boy soul tune and rousing choruses. Hindsight shows us the tension that was pulling Weller towards the more mannered stylings of his Council.

I’m worried that Junior’s dancing doesn’t discriminate. She rocked out to an arrhythmic beat I was tapping on her toy drum at the weekend, unable to help herself. For what it’s worth, she cut some rug to this song like she hasn’t for a while.

She thought it should be higher up this chart, but I said I had to put some space between the Jam singles.

2 thoughts on “[20] The Jam, ‘The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)’

  1. I got all the way to the bottom and – not that I’m quibbling with what you’ve included, apart from the irredeemable Haircut 100 and overrated Associates – where is “Hi Fidelity”? You tease with namechecks for The Kids and yet you don’t deliver

    I once went out with someone who looked like Doris, you know

  2. I’m so sorry about the Kids snub. I never owned any of their records, apart from a scratchy audio recording of a brief snatch of ‘Hi-Fidelity’ on Top Of The Pops – and this chart was made from the tape I compiled at the end of the year.

    Maybe Junior needs to be exposed to some ‘Starmaker’ one of these days, just to show Glee up for what it is.

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