From 1977 to 1982 there was no better band in the world and since then many have tried and most have failed to become the band that inspired their own generation and so in the words of Mr John Weller I give you “The best f**king band in the world. The Jam!”.
Formed properly in Woking 1974 originally as a four piece (with Steve Brookes on guitar) was Paul Weller, Rick Buckler, and Bruce Foxton. They played working mens clubs, covering Beatles and Rock and Roll standards.
Brookes left, and the remainder signed to Polydor and released their first album and single (In the City), in 1977. From the off, the influences were obvious. The street smart mod look of The Who, the power of the punk movement, and the musical knowhow of Motown.
The next 5 years were a whirlwind of fire and skill, as the singles and albums kept coming. The Albums: This is the Modern World, All Mod Cons, Setting Sons, Sound Affects and The Gift. The singles are 18 in number, and contain the stone wall classics of Town Called Malice, Going Underground, and Eton Rifles.
Album, tour , single, tour, album, etc. The pace was relentless, and in late 82 Weller called time on what most would admit was his best band. And although the rest of his career continues to have extreme highs, these days would never been seen again.
November sees the 30th Anniversary of the release of the The Gift Album ,and Polydor have celebrated this by re-releasing this very underrated (in my opinion) album. There will some special versions containing extra tracks (mainly unreleased) ,and some demos, etc. And one bad boy super bundle, with all sorts (DVD’s etc). This is on my list and already ordered here:
This album is straight up class from start to finish. The title track alone could of been another number one if released as a single. Ghosts showed a more mature Weller, and Trans-Global-Express, although ripping off a Northern Soul classic with no remorse, is a foot stomping masterclass in rebel rousing.
If the Jam are new to you, or you just know a few singles try these for size: If nothing else, it shows the high standard of nearly all of the band’s tracks.
The live shows were always where The Jam excelled, from the 100 club in 1977, to Wembley and Brighton in 82 (was at both !). If you can get a copy of the Trans-Global-Express DVD, then do. Its short, but shows just how well 3 people can make so much noise, and be so close to the crowd in a way, that only maybe Green Day have come close to since.
With rather fortuitous timing, Bruce Foxton is releasing his first album for nearly 30 years as well this week. He is in another 3 piece, and this is being hailed as being what the Jam could of become. I’ve only heard the single, and it is a great track, albeit helped by Russel Hastings, the vocalist. This guys sounds a lot like Weller, which is no surprise as he is also the lead singer for Foxtons “From the Jam” combo. Also on the album are Steve Cropper from the great Stax House Band (and Blues Brothers), and one Paul Weller who plays glockenspiel on the first single.
The album has been funded in an interesting manner using pledgemusic, which for 3.5k will send the band round to your next BBQ.
The single is called Number 6, and can be found here
So that’s the Jam, there are about 100 other great tracks, but no point banging on . Get downloading, and feel like Gary Crowley !