Faithful readers will be aware that I simply love The Jam viz. Paul Weller (vocals, guitar), Bruce Foxton (bass, vocals) and Rick Buckler (drums). The trio had a relatively short recording/performing career – around 5 years – but in that time, The Jam established themselves as one of the top bands in the UK.
Paul Weller disbanded The Jam in 1982 and would go on to more success with The Style Council and as a solo artist. The Jam will always be one of the Best Bands of All Time, in my humble opinion. Here is my PoP10 list, an introduction to the fire and skill of The Jam, in alphabetical order.
A Town Called Malice (The Gift, 1982)
Probably The Jam’s best known song. A UK #1 in the final year of the band. Clearly inspired by Weller’s love for 60s Motown.
Absolute Beginners (single, 1981)
One of the two singles The Jam released in the lean year that was 1981. The horns-laden arrangement would pre-figure the direction of The Gift. The b-side “Tales From the Riverbank” also notable for being one of the most haunting Weller compositions.
But I’m Different Now (Sound Affects, 1980)
One of the shortest Jam songs (1:52) but deliciously effective. Based very much on mid-60s Beatlesque power pop, it is melodic propulsion defined.
Down in the Tube Station at Midnight (All Mod Cons, 1978)
This masterpiece comes at the end of All Mod Cons – a story song about a man who gets mugged at the London Underground. A wonderful slice-of-life vignette that Ray Davies would have been chuffed to have written.
Going Underground (single, 1978)
Weller was never shy about expressing his political views in his music. Going Underground is a sharp observation of the state of affairs back in the day. Still relevant today.
In the City (In the City, 1977)
The one that started it all. Weller never ever thought of The Jam as a punk band. But clearly, the Sex Pistols believed that this song was good enough to rip off for “Holidays in the Sun”!
Little Boy Soldiers (Setting Sons, 1979)
Another piece of incisive political commentary from Weller.
That’s Entertainment (Sound Affects, 1980)
A day in the life of Paul Weller. Expressing the mundanity of life in mock poetic manner. A modern classic!
To be Someone (All Mod Cons, 1978)
Subtitled “Didn’t We Have a Nice Time” – Weller’s little dig at rock stardom seems to somehow foreshadow the existence of Oasis about 15 years later!
When You’re Young (single, 1979)
Push comes to shove, might just be my favourite of them all, as incredible as that seems. Captures the raw energy of youth so perfectly.
Like I said earlier, treat this list as a primer for closer examination of The Jam’s amazing back catalogue. Comments please at the Power of Pop Facebook page.
… still there’s more …