The Jam released three cracking singles in 1979 - Strange Town, When You're Young and The Eton Rifles.
Personally, I thought the last of them was the weakest of the three, but it did give the band their first Top 10 single at the ninth attempt. Oh and every single afterwards (with the exception of the import-only That's Entertainment) would also go Top 10.
And it was the NME Single Of The Year for 1979.
mp3 : The Jam - The Eton Rifles
mp3 : The Jam - See-Saw
Paul Weller was only 21 years of age when he wrote this song, and contrary to popular belief, it isn't based on anything that happened to him.
It was inspired by newspaper story that concerning elements of a Right To Work march going through Slough in 1978 breaking off to attack pupils from Eton College who were jeering them. However, the marchers got a bit of a kicking for their troubles as the posh boys tuned out to be younger, fitter and more than capable of looking after themselves.
Much of the trouble was blamed on marchers from a far-left political party, with some first-hand reports claiming that they instigated the fight and then fled the scene when they realised they were going to get a hiding - thus Weller's scathing lines
" What a catalyst you turned out to be
Loaded the guns then you run off home for your tea
Left me standing like a guilty schoolboy."
Here's a clip from a BBC2 programme called 'Something Else' back in the days.
Oh and here's wee bonus of a demo version (although its actually a solo Weller recording):-
mp3 : The Jam - The Eton Rifles (demo version)