The Jam was an English trio that was active as a recording unit during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Led by the outspoken, musically eclectic, and lyrically exploratory vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Paul Weller, the band scored eleven UK Top 20 singles between 1978 and 1982, including four chart-toppers. Over the course of six albums, the band evolved from a traditional power-trio sound to embrace album-length conceptual themes, state-of-the-art production techniques, and a plethora of cross-cultural idiomatic elements.
Members: Paul Weller (guitar, vocals, bass), Rick Buckler (drums), Steve Brookes (guitar, 1972-76), Dave Waller (guitar, 1972-73), Bruce Foxton (bass, vocals, guitar, 1973-82)
The Jam’s origins date back to 1972, when Woking youths Paul Weller and Steve Brookes held jam sessions after school — a practice from which the budding unit would soon derive its name. By late 1973, Foxton and Buckler — both three years older than the founding pair — had entered the fold and the band started gigging local venues.
In 1974, 16-year-old Weller became fascinated with the period in UK pop that immediately predated his own awakening. After close study of the mid-1960s mod aesthetic and beat-combo sound, he adopted these traits into his music and presentation. This somewhat iconoclastic approach would help set The Jam apart as the band made inroads on the London club scene during the mid-1970s. Amidst these developments, Brookes departed and the band opted to carry on as a trio.
In the City
“All Around the World”
This Is the Modern World
The album’s semi-title track, “The Modern World,” appeared in late October as an advance single, backed with the sixties R&B covers “Sweet Soul Music,” “Back In My Arms Again,” and a partial rendition of “Bricks and Mortar.”
“News of the World”
On February 24, 1978, The Jam released “News of the World,” Foxton’s broadside against the slanted, sensationalized corporate news media. It’s backed with Weller’s “Aunties and Uncles (Impulsive Youths)” and another Foxton exclusive, “Innocent Man.”
All Mod Cons
The Jam released their third album, All Mod Cons, on November 3, 1978, on Polydor.
On March 9, 1979, The Jam released “Strange Town,” a modulating rocker about foreign shock. The b-side, “The Butterfly Collector,” is a slow, danceable mood rocker with a staccato guitar pattern over a stark sonic backdrop.
“When You’re Young”
The Jam released their fourth album, Setting Sons, on November 16, 1979, on Polydor.
The Jam released their fifth album, Sound Affects, on November 28, 1980, on Polydor.
In late June, Dutch Polydor lifted “Just Who Is The 5 O’Clock Hero,” backed with two exclusive cuts: Weller’s “The Great Depression” and the Motown classic “War,” a 1970 hit for Edwin Starr.
“The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had to Swallow)”
In December 1982, Polydor issued Dig the New Breed, a collection of fourteen Jam live numbers recorded between September 1977 and the April 1982 Scottish tour.
- In the City (1977)
- This Is the Modern World (1977)
- All Mod Cons (1978)
- Setting Sons (1979)
- Sound Affects (1980)
- The Gift (1982)
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