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The Jam

From Academic Kids

The Jam was an early british Punk band, a band which created the foundation for the success of britpop during the 1990's in the U.K. A British punk band primarily active in the late 1970s. The band originally consisted of bassist Bruce Foxton, guitarist Steve Brookes, drummer Rick Buckler, and guitarist and vocalist Paul Weller.

After forming the Jam in 1975 and 1976, Brookes left the band, which soon began playing in and around London. He was not replaced, leaving the band as a trio. In 1977, the Jam signed a contract with Polydor Records and released "In the City", a moderate hit. This was followed by the band's debut album, In the City. The sound was early punk and pub rock with strong mod influences, with Weller compositions and R&B covers. After another successful single, "All Around the World", the Jam toured the country and recorded This Is the Modern World (1977); the titular track was a minor hit and the band left to tour the United States. The tour was a disaster. The next tour, in Britain, ended when the band brawled with some rugby players in Leeds. Weller was charged with assault, though he would eventually be acquitted. In 1978, the band left for another American tour, opening for Blue Öyster Cult.

The Jam was unable to gain a significant audience in the US, though they were rapidly becoming superstars in their homeland, especially after performing at the Reading Festival in 1978. All Mod Cons (1979) is usually considered the band's magnum opus, as well as the first album with truly great songwriting from Paul Weller occasionally eliciting comparison with The Kinks' Ray Davies. The album was a major success in the UK, as was Setting Sons (1979), which also charted in the US, a first for the band (it reached #137 in 1980). The album spawned the band's first UK top ten hit, The Eton Rifles, which rose to #3 in November 1979. The following March, Going Underground/Dreams of Children, became their first #1 UK single when it entered the chart at the top spot, the first record to do so for seven years.

Sound Affects, the Jam's fifth album, was a major success, as was the single "Start", which reached #1 in the UK singles chart. While recording the follow-up, Weller had a nervous breakdown; he quit drinking. The Gift (1982) was another successful album, reaching #1 in the UK, and showing the band moving towards an exploration of American soul and R&B.

Paul Weller broke up the group at the height of their popularity at the end of 1982 as they celebrated a final #1 single with "Beat Surrender". The band's sixteen singles were consequently re-released at the beginning of 1983, and all sixteen re-charted simultaneously.

Rick Buckler played with Time UK and Bruce Foxton released a solo effort, Touch Sensitive. Both went on to write autobiographies that severely criticized Weller, and the band have never reformed, with Weller always claiming that they were never friends who socialised, even at the band's height, but merely colleagues who worked together. Rick Buckler is currently working as a furniture restorer while Bruce Foxton is now the bass player for Stiff Little Fingers.

Weller formed the Style Council with ex-Merton Parkas keyboard player Mick Talbot and developed a softer, jazzier sound, though lyrically he remained politically motivated. At the time, the band was seen as a climbdown by Weller, though retrospective has seen their music hold up just as well as the Jam, despite fewer Top 10 hits and none reaching #1.

Weller began a solo career in the 1990s which was a success; nicknamed the 'Modfather', he is cited as a hero and father figure to many of the rock bands and Britpop acts which emerged in the UK in the 90s. A box set of the Jam was released to huge acclaim in 2002 to mark 20 years since their split.

Quotations

Two lovers kissing amongst the scream of midnight,
Two lovers missing the tranquillity of solitude.
Getting a cab and travelling on buses,
Reading the graffiti about slashed seat affairs:
That's entertainment.
--Paul Weller, 'That's Entertainment' (1980)

Saturdays kids play one arm bandits,
They never win but that's not the point is it?
--Paul Weller, 'Saturdays Kids' (1979)

I first felt a fist, and then a kick
I could now smell their breath
They smelt of pubs and Wormwood Scrubs
And too many right wing meetings
--Paul Weller, 'Down in the Tube Station at Midnight' (1978)

Awards

They were listed in Channel 4's 100 Greatest album programme.

Songs

Down in the Tube Station at Midnight

de:The Jam it:The Jam pt:The Jam

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