This should be an easy year to cover for “Tracks of my years”, I figured - I have a whole chapter for my as yet unfinished, unedited book that I was working on called “1982 and all that”. I’m sure my first draft closed with some words about Beat Surrender.
Well, almost. Here’s the unabridged text from the Beat Surrender section:
CHECK I just remember the intro for some reason - be-eat surrenderrrrr blam!
Not all that much of a leg-up, then. You can’t rely on anyone to help you out these days.
Except in its own useless-looking way it does sum up the Beat Surrender vibe. This is Paul Weller somehow absent mindedly scraping the side of the jar (check out his less than committed attempt at lip-syncing, in contrast to Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler’s performances), marking time until he can become a member of his next project, the smooth soul-pop Style Council, while simultaneously knocking out one last belter of a tune.
It picks up where The Jam’s last #1 single before it left off. Town Called Malice took the bassline from You Can’t Hurry Love and used as the bedrock for a Northern Soul and Motown tribute; Beat Surrender replaces that song’s organ with a piano and throws an enormous pile of horns on top. It’s one last hurrah for a band departing, many felt, prematurely, and even if it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Town Called Malice, it provides bombastic sweetness for the Jam legacy. Better this than to have gone out on previous single The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow), or A Solid Bond in Your Heart, which was passed over in favour of Beat Surrender, and which was released as a Style Council single twelve months later (when it reached #11).
Beat Surrender was a new entry at #1 on its release in December for 1982. It managed two weeks there before being replaced, just in time for Christmas, by a pairing that was authentically Italian. As authentically Italian as the Gino Ginelli ice-cream you enjoyed later in the decade, in fact.