This song was Paul Weller's angry outcry against the British Conservative government. In particular it was an indictment of the government's policy on arms in which they seemed to be keener on spending taxpayers money on a nuclear arsenal rather than beneficial government programs.
The Jam were touring the States when this became their first UK #1. In an interview with Positive Energy of Madness, Jam drummer Rick Buckler said: "It was a shock when we got to #1, otherwise we wouldn't have been in the States. We knew 'Going Underground' would do well. We had a good drink that night. However, everyone wanted to be back in Britain. We made out we had all come down with a virus. We canceled the rest of the tour of the States. We flew back to Britain on Concorde, to record 'Going Underground' on Top of The Pops for the following week."
Mark from Cromer, Norfolk, UkInitial copies of the single came with a 3-track live EP recorded at The Rainbow in London in 1979 - which could partially explain how it entered the UK singles chart at number 1.
Ross from Leicester, United KingdomI think Weller's quote at the time (1977) was something like "Anarchy's getting a bit trendy - we'll be voting Conservative" - a sarcastic dig at the fact that many in the punk scene were claiming to be into "anarchy" because it was expected of them. Around the same time Weller claimed his heroes included Joe Strummer and George Orwell - both associated with left wing politics. By the 80s it was clear what side of he political diide Weller stood on.
Mudassir from Bolton, EnglandPaul Weller did say he was going to vote Conservative, then retracted it a few years later. He said he only said it to shock people, and reminds us he was only 18 at the time. For a period, he did campaign for the Labour Party - these days he has no time for any political party or politician - as witnessed in his recent song 'A Bullet for Everyone'
Terry from Ottawa, CanadaIt's odd that this obivious indictment of the Conservative Gov't is one of the Jam's most beloved songs. Paul had been accused of being a tory supporter around All Mod Cons (cons being interpreted as conservatives) I have no idea if this truth or legend. Terry, Ottawa, Canada
Jeff from Liverpool, Englandthis song was originally a 'b' side to dreams of children but due to a mistake at polydors french pressing plant it ended up as a double a side