This highly successful late 70s and early 80s UK band comprised Paul Weller (vocals/guitar), Bruce Foxton (bass/vocals) and Rick Buckler (drums). After gigging consistently throughout 1976, the band signed to Polydor Records early the following year. Although emerging at the peak of punk, the Jam seemed oddly divorced from the movement. Their leader, Paul Weller, professed to voting Conservative (although he would later switch dramatically to support the Labour Party), and the band's musical influences were firmly entrenched in the early Who-influenced mod style. Their debut, 'In The City', was a high energy outing, with Weller displaying his Rickenbacker guitar to the fore. With their next record, 'All Around The World' they infiltrated the UK Top 20 for the first time. For the next year, they registered only minor hits, including 'News Of The World' (their only single written by Foxton) and a cover version of the Kinks' obscurity 'David Watts'.
A turning point in the Jam's critical fortunes occurred towards the end of 1978 with the release of 'Down In The Tube Station At Midnight'. This taut, dramatic anti-racist song saw them emerge as social commentators par excellence. All Mod Cons was widely acclaimed and thereafter the group rose to extraordinary heights. With Setting Sons, a quasi-concept album, Weller fused visions of British colonialism with urban decay and a satirical thrust at suburban life. The tone and execution of the work recalled the style of the Kinks' Ray Davies, whose class-conscious vignettes of the 60s had clearly influenced Weller. The superbly constructed 'The Eton Rifles', lifted from the album, gave the Jam their first UK Top 10 single in late 1979. Early the following year, they secured their first UK number 1 with 'Going Underground', indicating the enormous strength of the band's fanbase. By now they were on their way to topping music paper polls with increasing regularity. Throughout 1982, the Jam were streets ahead of their nearest rivals but their parochial charm could not be translated into international success. While they continued to log number 1 hits with 'Start' and 'Town Called Malice', the US market remained untapped. In late 1982, the Jam's recent run of UK chart-toppers was interrupted by 'The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)', which peaked at number 2. Weller then announced that the band was to break up, and that he intended to form a new group, the Style Council.
It was a shock decision, as they were still releasing some of the best music to come out of Britain and most certainly were at their peak. Their final single, the exuberant 'Beat Surrender' entered the UK chart at number 1, an extraordinary conclusion to a remarkable but brief career. After the mixed fortunes of the Style Council Weller embarked on a solo career, a move Foxton made immediately after the Jam's dissolution. Buckler and Foxton worked together briefly in Time U.K., with Foxton then joining Stiff Little Fingers and Buckler retiring from the music industry as a furniture restorer. The latter two sued Weller for alleged unpaid royalties. This was resolved in 1996 when Weller purchased all remaining interests from Foxton and Buckler.
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