The Jam

Formed 1976. Disbanded 1982.
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The Jam - a portrait

Johnnie Walker introduces a portrait of The Jam, drawn entirely from the BBC archives.

Featured in BBC Music Clips


The Jam were an English punk rock/new wave/mod revival band active during the late 1970s and early 1980s. They were formed in Woking, Surrey. While they shared the "angry young men" outlook and fast tempos of their punk rock contemporaries, The Jam wore smartly tailored suits rather than ripped clothes, and they incorporated a number of mainstream 1960s rock and R&B influences rather than rejecting them, placing The Jam at the forefront of the mod revival movement.

They had 18 consecutive Top 40 singles in the United Kingdom, from their debut in 1977 to their break-up in December 1982, including four number one hits. As of 2007, "That's Entertainment" and "Just Who Is the 5 O'Clock Hero?" remained the best-selling import singles of all time in the UK. They released one live album and six studio albums, the last of which, The Gift, hit number one on the UK album charts. When the group split up, their first 15 singles were re-released and all placed within the top 100.

The band drew upon a variety of stylistic influences over the course of their career, including 1960s beat music, soul, rhythm and blues and psychedelic rock, as well as 1970s punk and new wave. The trio was known for its melodic pop songs, its distinctly English flavour and its mod image. The band launched the career of Paul Weller, who went on to form The Style Council and later had a successful solo career. Weller wrote and sang most of The Jam's original compositions, and he played lead guitar, using a Rickenbacker. Bruce Foxton provided backing vocals and prominent basslines, which were the foundation of many of the band's songs, including the hits "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight", "The Eton Rifles", "Going Underground" and "Town Called Malice".

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Links & Information

BBC Reviews

  1. Review of The Gift: Deluxe Edition

    The Gift: Deluxe Edition 2012

    Reviewed by Sean Egan
    A sad album finale for a remarkable band.
  2. Review of Sound Affects: Deluxe Edition

    Sound Affects: Deluxe Edition 2010

    Reviewed by Lou Thomas
    The best Jam album ever according to Weller celebrates its 30th.
  3. Review of All Mod Cons - Deluxe Edition

    All Mod Cons - Deluxe Edition 2006

    Reviewed by Ethan Kennedy
    The album was the sound of an English youth movement.
  4. Review of Sound Affects

    Sound Affects 1980

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    Ultimately Sound Affects shows a band that was being pushed by its leader slightly...
  5. Review of The Jam At The BBC

    The Jam At The BBC

    Reviewed by Greg Boraman
    The Jam At The BBC allows those too young at the time to appreciate the fire and skill...
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