The History Of: The Jam

author: Crash91 date: 07/10/2006 category: the history of
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1977 - Early Jam

The Jam formed back in 1973 at Sheerwater Secondary School in Woking, but they didn't become serious until 1975. Before 1977, there was success in punk scenes and major record companies were desperate to sign a new band that were involved in the 'new wave'. Polydor made attempts to sign The Sex Pistols and The Clash, but instead, they were third time lucky. They signed The Jam for 6,000, and what a success it turned out to be! They were influenced by many 60's rock bands, including The Who, The Beatles and The Kinks. On 7 May 1977, they released their first single named 'In The City'. Despite it only reached no.40 in the UK charts, it was major success for the band. Three weeks later, they released their first studio album 'In The City' which included The Jam's debut hit and 11 other punk-rock songs. Apart from 'In The City', the best highlight of this album was the sensational 'Away From The Numbers'. At the time, Paul Weller was only 18, and yet he was writing three-minute youth anthems. It was incredible from the youngster. 'In The City' reached no.20 in the album charts, The Jam's remarkable career had just begun. On 23 July 1977, they released their second hit named 'All Around The World', which reached to an incredible no.13 in the UK charts. The 'b' side to this song was 'Carnaby Street', Bruce Foxton's first contribution that was particulary impressive. On 5 November 1977, they released their third hit named 'The Modern World', which was less prolific than 'All Around The World'. Despite it was a great punk-rock song, it reached no.36 in the UK charts, and the lyrics contained abusive language. When 'The Modern World' was played on radio stations, some of the lyrics were censored. Three weeks later, The Jam released their second studio album 'This Is The Modern World'. Although it included 'The Modern World', it turned out to be the worst Jam album in their whole career. Even the band themselves described this album as their poorest contribution. Their future was uncertain. There were suggestions that the band should do more acoustic and ballad songs.

1978-79 - Improved Jam

Despite releasing their poor album 'This Is The Modern World', the band promised to release better material. But on 11 March 1978, when they released 'News Of The World', not only the band were struggling but Paul Weller was struggling to write new material. 'News Of The World' reached no.27 in the UK charts, and was a Bruce Foxton contribution. On 26 August 1978, they released their fifth single, a double 'a' side single named 'David Watts' and 'A Bomb In Wardour Street'. The Jam liked both songs, and they were struggling to decide what song should've been the 'a' side. It reached no.25 in the UK charts, but The Jam had successfully improved, despite 'David Watts' was written by Ray Davies. On 21 October 1978, The Jam found themselves in the Top 20 of the UK charts, with their sixth single 'Down In The Tube Station At Midnight'. It contained a brilliant bass-line from Bruce Foxton and it reached no.15 in the charts. The Jam were now successfully improving time after time. Three weeks later, they released their third studio album 'All Mod Cons'. Previously, the album was turned down by Polydor and the band were sent away to 'try again'. These songs that were turned down can now be found on a 5-disc album named 'Direction, Reaction, Creation' which contains every single Jam song up to date. But after the band 'tried again', they released 'All Mod Cons', and it turned out to be a seminal album. 'All Mod Cons' included the double 'a' sided single and 'Down In The Tube Station At Midnight', plus nine other fantastic tracks. The Jam were climbing new heights and they never looked back. On 17 March and 25 Aug 1979, they released two more singles named 'Strange Town' and 'When You're Young'. They were great pop songs this time that reached no.15 and no.17 in the UK charts. On 3 November 1979, The Jam improved even more, releasing their ninth single 'The Eton Rifles'. It reached an incredible no.3 in the UK charts, The Jam's first Top Ten hit. Three weeks later, they released their fourth studio album named 'Setting Sons', which reached no.4 in the album charts. After releasing 'This Is The Modern World' in 1977, The Jam had successfully improved since then.

1980-81 - Pop Jam

On 22 March 1980, they released their tenth single, which was another double 'a' sided single named 'Going Underground' and 'The Dreams Of Children' which got The Jam their first no.1 single. It was The Jam's finest moment ever, and they were the first band to release a double 'a' side single that would debut at no.1. After years of hard work, they got what they deserved. Both tracks were extraordinary. On 23 August 1980, they released their eleventh single named 'Start!', another no.1 single for The Jam. The Jam had an argument with Polydor whether to release 'Pretty Green' or 'Start!'. The Jam wanted 'Start!', but Polydor wanted 'Pretty Green', because after the success of 'Going Underground', they felt it would play safe. Eventually, The Jam got their own way and released 'Start!'. It contained a great bass-line from Bruce Foxton. 1980 proved to be the greatest year for The Jam. On 24 November 1980, they released their fifth studio album 'Sound Affects'. It included 'Start!' and the acoustic 'That's Entertainment' which was released twice, on 7 February 1981 and 29 January 1983. Just like 'All Mod Cons', 'Sound Affects' was a phenomenal album from The Jam, but more pop music from The Jam. If it wasn't for Abba's 'Super Trouper' album, 'Sound Affects' would've reached the top of the album charts. The Jam had successfully turned from a punk-rock band into Britain's most popular pop group. On 6 June and 24 October 1981, they released two more singles named 'Funeral Pyre' and 'Absolute Beginners', both reaching, no.4 in the UK charts. 'Funeral Pyre' harked back to old school Jam, while 'Absolute Beginners' was voted The Jam's worst ever hit. Also, for the first time since singing to Polydor in 1977, The Jam decided that there will be no new album that year (1981). Instead, they worked on The Jam's sixth album 'The Gift'.

1982 - The End Of The Jam

On 13 Feb 1982, they released their fifteen single, another double 'a' side single named 'Town Called Malice' and 'Precious' which went straight to no.1 in the UK charts. It didn't contain much guitar, but it was an enjoyable song to listen to. 'Precious' was funkier than any of their previous work. On 20 March 1982, they released their sixth and last studio album 'The Gift', which was The Jam's only no.1 album. It included their third no.1 and 'Just Who Is The 5 O' Clock Hero?' which was released on 3 July 1982. After the success of 'The Gift', Paul Weller went on holiday in Italy. When he returned, he announced that he wanted to end The Jam. It was an incredibly brave for the 24-year old, The Jam were quitting on a high. On 11 October 1982, they released the long-titled 'The Bitterist Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)' which reached no.2 in the UK charts and it contained orchestral backing. On 4 Dec 1982, they released their last song 'Beat Surrender', which gave The Jam their fourth no.1 but sadly no more.

1983 - What Happened After The Jam Quit?

The Jam done a farewell tour in 1983, then The Jam quit. Paul Weller formed a new band named The Style Council, and they released many singles without getting a no.1 single. Bruce Foxton released three solo hits named 'Freak', 'This Is The Way' and 'It Makes Me Wonder' in 1983-84. Rick Buckler also formed a new band named Time UK, who only ever had one single named 'The Cabaret' that featured in the UK charts. After success with The Style Council, Paul Weller released many solo hits and achieved two no.1 albums, which are named 'Stanley Road' and 'Illumination'.

The Jam Singles

  • In The City (7 May 1977 - no.40)
  • All Around The World (23 Jul 1977 - no.13)
  • The Modern World (5 Nov 1977 - no.36)
  • News Of The World (11 Mar 1978 - no.27)
  • David Watts / 'A' Bomb In Wardour Street (26 Aug 1978 - no.25)
  • Down In The Tube Station At Midnight (21 Oct 1978 - no.15)
  • Strange Town (17 Mar 1979 - no.15)
  • When You're Young (25 Aug 1979 - no.17)
  • The Eton Rifles (3 Nov 1979 - no.3)
  • Going Underground / The Dreams Of Children (22 Mar 1980 - no.1)
  • Start! (23 Aug 1980 - no.1)
  • That's Entertainment (7 Feb 1981 - no.21, 29 Jan 1983 - no.60)
  • Funeral Pyre (6 Jun 1981 - no.4)
  • Absolute Beginners (24 Oct 1981 - no.4)
  • Town Called Malice / Precious (13 Feb 1982 - no.1)
  • Just Who Is The Five O' Clock Hero? (3 Jul 1982 - no.8)
  • The Bitterist Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow) (11 Oct 1982 - no.2)
  • Beat Surrender (4 Dec 1982 - no.1)

    The Jam Studio Albums

  • In The City (28 May 1977 - no.20)
  • This Is The Modern World (26 Nov 1977 - no.22)
  • All Mod Cons (11 Nov 1978 - no.6)
  • Setting Sons (24 Nov 1979 - no.4)
  • Sound Affects (6 Dec 1980 - no.2)
  • The Gift (20 Mar 1982 - no.1)
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