The final single by The Jam, one of those rare cases where a band really did quit at the top, made its UK chart debut 34 years ago. ‘Beat Surrender’ debuted at No. 1 to give the band their fourth and final bestseller, and within a few days The Jam were effectively no more.
The Paul Weller composition had a distinct soul flavour which, with hindsight, can be seen as a preview of the direction he would take with his new band, the Style Council. The horn-filled sound spoke of Weller’s love of classic R&B, on a high-energy swansong to The Jam’s five years of unbroken success.
‘Beat Surrender’ was not included on any original Jam studio album, as their sixth and final release, The Gift, had been released some eight months earlier, in March 1982. Polydor filled the Christmas void with a live Jam compilation covering their entire lifespan, Dig The New Breed, which hit No. 2. In the new year, the complete Jam singles catalogue was reissued and created chart history when, in the first week of February, all 13 singles were in the top 75.
The final single was, of course, on the two-CD retrospective Snap!, which the label released in October of the following year, to great success. ‘Beat Surrender’ had two weeks at No. 1 in the UK in December ’82, before giving way to Renée and Renato’s ‘Save Your Love.’ In the US, airplay was, as ever, hard to come by for the band, and the single failed to chart, just like all its predecessors.