"Town Called Malice" is a song recorded by British band The Jam from the album The Gift. It reached number one in the UK Singles Chart in February 1982.
The title is a play on the 1950 Nevil Shute novel A Town Like Alice although Paul Weller says he had not read the book at the time. It was a double A-side single release featuring "Precious" as the flip side. A 12" version was also available with a live version of "Town Called Malice" backed by an extended version of "Precious".
Paul Weller has said that it was written about his hometown Woking as a result of his teenage experiences there.
Release Released as the first single from the album on 29 January 1982, it entered the chart at number one on the British music charts, staying at the top for three weeks, and preventing "Golden Brown" by The Stranglers from reaching number one. EMI, the Stranglers record company, objected to the sales of both formats of "Town Called Malice" being aggregated, arguing that Jam fans were buying both versions and thus preventing their band from reaching the top of the chart.
It was the band's third number-one single in the UK. It was the band's sole chart entry onto any American chart (although this single and "Start!" both appeared in the low-rungs of the Billboard Dance/Club Play charts) when it hit No. 31 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in 1982.
Music video A music video of the song was filmed and was in moderate rotation on MTV in 1982 and 1983.
Cover art The photograph on the front cover of the sleeve was taken by their drummer Rick Buckler.
Cultural references "Town Called Malice" was featured prominently in the 1985 comedy film National Lampoon's European Vacation, 2005 film The Matador and also appeared in the film Billy Elliot. The song was also featured several times in the play How to Be a Man in West Belfast, which premiered at Wesleyan University in April 2009. It is also on the soundtrack to FIFA Football 2004, as well as being featured in the video game Rock Band. The song featured at the beginning of episode 3.5 of the show Ashes to Ashes. It can also be heard in the first and last episodes of the first season of the BBC series Criminal Justice.
It is played before every Millwall F.C. home game and is also played before the second half of Woking F.C. games when they play at their home ground Kingfield Stadium.
Notable covers The song has been variously re-recorded as cover versions by four artists spanning a number of genres:
In September 2007, McFly recorded a cover version of the song as part of Radio 1 Established 1967 Kids in Glass Houses was included a cover on the CD release of their 2008 single "Saturday". It was also covered by Amy Macdonald for Simon Mayo on BBC Radio 2 and features on the album A Curious Thing. Olly Murs sung the song on his Right Place Right Time Tour in 2013. Sales chart performance Peak positions Chart (1982) Position Australian ARIA Charts 15 Canadian Singles Chart 19 UK Singles Chart 1 Recorded Music NZ 14