The Jam

This post is about the Jam.Not Weller individually.It's about the band. Please feel free to add your own thoughts, opinions & memories.The first time I heard the Jam was when a friend who was a couple of years older than me played me This Is A Modern World - I was about 14. Modern World wasn't one of their best albums on reflection, but it was the 1st Jam album I heard. I wasn't a Mod at the time. I was nothing.Then a bit later I found In the City - I wish I had had the balls to be a punk but I was still too young to really understand it all.I came home to Glasgow from boarding school in West Yorkshire about 1980. Prior to coming home, I had been staying at a friend's home in Newcastle & we had gone into town one Saturday to buy ourselves a copy each of the Jam's Going Underground which had just been released on the Monday of that week. By now I was a mod - though somewhat plastic.We all have to start somewhere.My friend and I were in the record shop looking at the new 'charts' - We couldn't see the Jam anywhere on the chart. Some of you will remember that the weekly charts were printed and distributed among chart shops of the time. In the chart shops they often stuck that week's chart to the counter for customers to read.Then I looked at the number one spot - And could hardly believe my eyes! Going Underground was number one in the charts!We were jumping up & down with pure joy in the shop. We bought the singles. Yes, there were two of them. I've lost them now. But anyway, shortly after wards as we were walking through the shopping centre, the Granada TV shop was playing the GU video, probably Tizwaz on ITV. Obviously we couldn't hear anything, we were outside the shop, but boy did we sing & play air guitars! Both Bass & Lead.& drums too.We were so happy!The Best Band in the World. Ever.

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  • The vid to LHS was definitely cringeworthy, but the one thing I think it has over The Bitterest Pill is that it was a good song. Well to me anyway, some people may think it was as bad as the vid I suppose.
  • I have erased all memory (well most) of the song from my brain Andrew. Its one of the few post 1978 Jam songs that I am not familiar with the words to and I thankfully never will.
  • I first heard a crackly, oscillating and over modulated medium wave version of “In The City” on Radio Luxembourg late one night in April 1977 whilst supposedly doing some homework in my bedroom. I was getting into the punk scene at the time but this sound was instantly different from the other music around then - angrier and sharper; better, with fire and skill in abundance.
    I bought The Jam’s debut album (£2.99 from Virgin, in Leeds) on release and played it non stop (dancing). To this day tracks like “Away From The Numbers”, “Art School” and “Bricks and Mortar” often reverberate round my brain and I am constantly astounded by their pure power, passion and poetry.
    My first Jam gig was at the claustrophobic Outlook club in Doncaster in June 1977. The place was so small that Foxton kept putting his machine heads through the ceiling every time he and Weller did their trademark "Jam jumps" on stage. I wish I had some photos from the night, but I haven’t.
    I was disappointed by some parts of the “This is the Modern World” album and the infamous “we’re voting Conservative” quote haunted me for a while, but then, as I was becoming cynical towards the trio, I heard “Down In The Tubestation At Midnight” for the first time. Again I was stopped in my tracks. What stunning musicianship, song writing and production; perfect pop music. To this day “All Mod Cons” remains my favourite album, not just by The Jam, but by any artist; stunning. The artwork on the vinyl LP was simply beautiful.
    To my mind it’s almost a relief that The Jam never reformed properly. And if you ever read Weller’s bitter-sweet 50th birthday interview in Uncut magazine 2008 you’d see that the animosity between him and Buckler (“the drummer” as he is referred to) remains unresolved. Clearly the deaths of John Weller and Pat Foxton brought Paul and Bruce back into each other’s orbit and those lucky enough to see Foxton join Weller on stage earlier this year at the Royal Albert Hall to do “Eton Rifles” and “Butterfly Collector” have probably witnessed the closest there will ever be to a Jam reunion.
    I saw From the Jam in December 2008 at the Academy in Newcastle with both Buckler and Foxton in the line up. It wasn’t, as Weller stated in Uncut; “cabaret”. No, it was a very valid chapter in The Jam’s biography. The pair got a standing ovation at the end of the night which was a response to a fine gig but also a kind of valediction on the one hand and a celebration on the other. It was also a fitting acknowledgement, I think, of Foxton and Buckler’s contribution to The Jam; a band which meant and continues to mean so much to so many people. Like Andrew Harris, I too am a Jam fan for life.
  • Do you remember the shock we all felt when we heard that PW was pulling the plug on the Jam. I remember the last gig at the Apollo was announced, and I went into the office at the Volunteer Centre looking for a sub. They wouldn't give me one and said that I should be at work. I told them that I was going home as I needed to get a ticket for the concert. I went up the road, but my mum was skint, so no joy there. I eventually got a loan of a fiver from a friend of my mum's and took my place in the queue to get that vital brief. That last gig was, in many ways, like the last night of the Scene Club. It was a great night, but we knew for sure that it was the end of something special, and that nothing was going to be there to take its place.
    • What a band. its all been said already.
      But my fav album has to be "Setting Sons" particulary the track "Thick as thieves".

      I feel like I've grown up with Weller as a kind of big brother and I love most of what he's done.
      But the "Jam" is his finest hour and just cant be topped
    • totally agree with you john everything that has to be said has been said
      fav song of many is down the tube station am sure most people living in a big city can relate to the song because most of us have probably experienced a similar situation
      my other fav is mr clean never did like cunts that looked down on me
    • Nice to see this post ressurected. The Jam always will be my own top band. I think that is why I have always went to see the bands such as The Gift (Rick Buckler) and From the Jam in recent times. They are certainly not anywhere near as good as the real deal but they have been a good second place. Its just a pity that Mr Weller is more stubborn (and not as mercenary maybe) as some of the others who have done tours recently with bands that we never thought would get back together again.
    • I do remember the time as well. All their singles were re-released at the time. I think they had about 5-6 in the charts at the same time.
  • As far as I can recall the B side 'Pity Poor Alfie' was also not quite up to previous Jam standards. They made a video for it too, and it was absolute garbage. I quite liked all the other Jam video's, from simple one's such as 'That's Entertainment' (what an amazing song) to one's that were quite well made like 'Funeral Pyre.' The Video for 'Absolute Beginners' was funny trying to see the guys run. Due to their smoking habits, both Paul and Rick were garbage runners.
    • Well, I think & it's easy with hindsight to say so, but the Bitterest Pill was the Beginning of the End.

      The next single was of course, Beat Surrender - there's a title that says it all ... 'We're finished'. The next album was Snap which I think most fans don't think of as an official album because it's just someone elses choice of greatest hits.

      One of the best quotes I've ever read about the Jam came from another fan, they said,

      'Thank you for being our Beatles & not our Rolling stones'
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