Down in the Tube Station at Midnight

Summary

"Down in the Tube Station at Midnight" is a single by The Jam, and was the second single from their third album, All Mod Cons. Released in October 1978, it reached No. 15 in the UK Singles Chart.[1] The single was backed by a cover version of The Who's song "So Sad About Us", and the song "The Night", written by Bruce Foxton.

"Down in the Tube Station at Midnight"
DownInTheTubestationFront.jpg
Single by The Jam
from the album All Mod Cons
B-side"So Sad About Us / The Night"
Released13 October 1978
GenreMod revival
LabelPolydor (UK)
Songwriter(s)Paul Weller
Producer(s)Vic Coppersmith-Heaven
The Jam singles chronology
"David Watts" / ""A" Bomb in Wardour Street"
(1978)
"Down in the Tube Station at Midnight"
(1978)
"Strange Town"
(1979)
Back cover
Keith Moon, who died shortly before the single's release
Keith Moon, who died shortly before the single's release

ProductionEdit

Originally Paul Weller had wanted to exclude the song from the All Mod Cons album,[2] on the grounds that the arrangement had not sufficiently developed during the recording sessions.[3] He was persuaded to include it by the record's producer Vic Coppersmith-Heaven.[3][4]

Lyrical theme and musical compositionEdit

The song tells the story of an unnamed narrator travelling on his own who enters a London Underground tube station at midnight to get the last train home, where he is attacked by a gang of men who 'smell like pubs, and Wormwood Scrubs, and too many right-wing meetings' as he buys a ticket from an automated machine.[5] The song starts with the atmospheric sounds of a London Underground station, then a tense, syncopated beat carried by the bass guitar. The lyrics are sentimental, contrasting the warmth of home and domestic life with the dangers of 1970s London's urban decay and casual late-night violence. Tension is heightened by a heartbeat audio effect in the left stereo channel at points during the song.[6]

The sound of an Underground train at the beginning and end of the song was recorded at St John's Wood Station.[5]

Cover artEdit

The front cover photograph was taken at Bond Street tube station, on the westbound Central line. On the back cover was a portrait photograph of Keith Moon who had died a month prior to the single's release.[7] The Who's "So Sad About Us" was included as a tribute to Moon.[8]

Cover versionsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Artists - The Jam". Rolling Stone. 8 November 2001. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  2. ^ Alexander, Phil (12 August 2013). "The Jam: All Mod Cons Revisited". Mojo. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  3. ^ a b Buskin, Richard (1 March 2007). "Classic Tracks: The Jam 'The Eton Rifles'". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  4. ^ "How The Jam almost didn't record one of their biggest hits". Radio X. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight by The Jam". Songfacts. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  6. ^ Taysom, Joe Taysom·October 6, 2020 (6 October 2020). "The reason why the BBC banned The Jam's anti-racism song 'Down in the Tube Station at Midnight'". Far Out. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  7. ^ "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight". Snapgalleries.com. 19 April 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  8. ^ "The Jam - Down in the Tube Station at Midnight". Radio X. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  9. ^ "Yan, Tyan, Tethera, Methera!". The Bad Shepherds. 10 April 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2020.