Big Audio Dynamite: “Just Play Music!” (1988)

One of the cuter songs over their career, and one more bands should take to heart.

Kronomyth 3.01: I sing the song, you sell ’em.

“That’s all I ever wanted, was to not do a proper job. I’m the luckiest guy in the world.” – Mick Jones, in a 2011 interview with GQ Magazine.

The advance single from Tighten Up, Vol. ’88 featured a really cute video of the band on tour and at repose, which made it seem like Mick Jones was having the time of his life being B.A.D. And yet (wrote the gray, unhappy and envious little man), it always seemed to me that Jones and his badmates were living on the equity earned by The Clash. You could argue that B.A.D. was blazing trails, only you could arrive at the same destination by listening to Malcolm McLaren’s “Buffalo Gals,” like, once. (That video had better hats, too.) “Just Play Music!” isn’t a bad song (“The Other 99” is better), and the nonalbum B side, “Much Worse,” is appreciably funny. Various singles included extended mixes of those tracks, which are just longer versions with more drumbeats, in case you didn’t figure that out already.

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Original 7-inch single version

A1. Just Play Music! (Mick Jones/Don Letts/Greg Roberts) (3:54)
B1. Much Worse (Mick Jones/Don Letts/Dan Donovan) (2:47)

Original 12-inch single (UK, etc.)
A1. Just Play Music! (extended mix)
B1. Much Worse (extended mix)

Original 12-inch single (US)
A1. Just Play Music! (Extended Mix) (8:47)
B1. Just Play Music! (Remix) (6:50)

Original CD single (UK)
1. Just Play Music! (extended mix)
2. Much Worse (extended mix)
3. The Bottom Line (Mick Jones)

Promotional CD single
1. Just Play Music! (3:57)
2. Just Play Music! (4:11)
3. Just Play Music! (extended mix) (8:08)

The Players

Dan Donovan, Mick Jones, Don Letts, Greg Roberts, Leo “E-Zee-Kill” Williams. Produced by Mick Jones; engineered and mixed by Paul “Groucho” Smykle; remixed by Greg Roberts.

The Pictures

Illustrations by Kiely Jenkins. Design by Josh Cheuse & Eric Liebert. Layout by Haze Productions & Designlines.

The Plastic

Released on 7-inch, 12-inch and CD single in May 1988 in the UK (CBS, BAAD/BAADT/CD BAAD 4), the US and Canada (Columbia, 38-07955/44-07851), Australia, Germany and the Netherlands (CBS, 651621-7/6) and the Philippines (CBS, QCL45-10255) with picture sleeve; reached #51 on the UK charts. Regional versions feature different picture sleeves. Also released as three-track promotional CD single in 1988 in the US (Columbia, CSK 1232).

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