Title: The Eton Rifles

Artist: The Jam

Album: Setting Sons

Year Released: 1979

What It Is: One of the strongest tracks from their somewhat uneven fourth album (which was a half-concept album that Paul Weller couldn’t finish, but kept the tracks), the Jam is still true to the sound of the early Who on this one. At the same time they vary it up (like the subtle organ embellishments and solo during the bridge and  the long outro that bring in a bit of Weller’s Motown fetish) so it’s sounds fresh. This song was a powerful one live.

Riffage / Hookage: The chorus is hooky with the gang “Hooray!” and the interesting cadence on “The Eton Rifles”.

Cowbell?: No. Rick Buckler tended to play it straight and powerful.

Words Of Wisdom: “Sup up your beer and collect your fags,
Theres a row going on down near Slough”

That means – “Drink up. Get your cigs (or friends, either), because there’s gonna be a fight near Slough!

I also loved this part:

“We came out of it naturally the worst,
Beaten and bloody and I was sick down my shirt,
We were no match for their untamed wit,
Though some of the lads said theyll be back next week.”

The phrase “we were no match for their untamed wit” as describing a street fight with Eton students is clever!

Mixology Report:It’s a good rockin’ tune and makes you think!

For The Good Of The Order:This was the only single taken from “Setting Sons”. The Jam usually released singles apart from albums (like the good ol’ days) which was good for fresh content and the band’s coffers.

Here’s a live shot of them pounding out the song on the tee-vee!