THE 1000 BEST SONGS IN THE WORLD EVER.
670-The Jam-The Eton Rifles.
1979-Number 3 single.
Best Bit-At 2.57.A song about class war, from a class act.
The Jam (see also best songs 94 and 59) were formed as far back as 1972 at Sheerwater Secondary School, Woking, Surrey, England, by the classic lineup of Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton, and Rick Butler, along with Steve Brookes, and Dave Waller.Brookes and Waller would leave before the band found success, and were not replaced. The Jam were active until Weller left to form The Style Council in 1982, having recorded six studio Albums, and achieved 18 top 40 singles in the UK, including four Number 1’s.
‘The Eton Rifles’ is the only single released from The Jam’s fourth studio Album ‘Setting Sons,’ released in 1979, and gave then their first UK top 10 single.As with many songs written by Paul Weller when with The Jam, it is about the political happenings of that era.The lyrics recount the difficulties faced by the working class, in protesting against a system seen by them as being unjust.The song tells of a street battle Weller had read about in a newspaper concerning a ‘rights to march’ through Slough in 1978, breaking off to attack pupils from Eton College who had been jeering the lunchtime marchers. Weller has said,’There was a lot of class hatred in my songs at the time. Eton Rifles would be an obvious example of that, we used to go on Sunday drives with my uncle, and we’d drive through Eton, and I remember seeing the young chaps.’
‘Sup up your beer and collect your fags, there’s a row going on down near Slough.’