The Story Behind The Jam’s ‘Down In The Tube Station At Midnight’ Cover Photo.
Above Photo: The single cover photo, shot in Bond Street tube station, London.
The Jam, consisting of Paul Weller on vocals and guitar, Bruce Foxton on bass and Rick Buckler on drums, formed a few years before the Punk explosion that brought them to a wider audience and which also propelled them into the charts.
They receive a couple of mentions in my Punk and New Wave Memoir, Bombed Out! for successful singles in the early 1980s too, and I even got to see them play in Liverpool in November 1977, a fact I had forgotten when writing the book.
Released in October 1978, Down in the Tube Station at Midnight was the second single taken from All Mod Cons, which was (already) their third studio album.
The cover photo for the single was shot by Martyn Goddard who said in a recent interview:
“Most of my sessions with the Jam were in my London studio, but on 12 September 1978 we broke with tradition and decided to shoot the “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight” single cover on location. We chose Bond Street tube station on the Central line… We waited until late evening before our raid on the station, as this was going to be a quick shoot. In other words, we didn’t have permission.”
I used a 35mm Nikon camera with fast black and white film pushed to the limit to take the photographs without a tripod, hence the resulting grainy images. The band pitched themselves at the end of the platform and I waited until a speeding train emerged out of the tunnel before pressing the shutter. We only shot with about five trains before making an exit to street level.”
The B side included a Who cover, “So Sad About Us” And the back sleeve of the single displayed a photograph of the recently deceased Who drummer, Keith Moon.
Incredibly, Down In The Tube Station At Midnight was banned by the BBC. I still can’t work out why that was. Those idiots were ban-crazy back then, unable to work out what was acceptable and what wasn’t in their institutionalised tunnel vision approach to Punk and New Wave music.
Paul Weller was – and still is – a great songwriter, although Bruce Foxton’s distinctive bass playing on the single (and many other Jam tracks) is outstanding too.
Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php
This is a You tube link to Down In The Tube Station At Midnight: