Hoo-boy, where even to start with The Jam?
How about this: Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton & Rick Buckler were able to take their early love for the early Who, their mid-period love for the mid-period Beatles and their later love for late-60s soul and turn it into a nearly unparalleled discography.
A half-dozen albums and three times as many singles, and hardly a duff song to be found on any of them.
And it all happened in five years. That’s some serious kickassery right there.
So let’s start at the beginning, with their first single, “In The City,” which came roaring out of the gate full of piss and vinegar and overdriven Rickenbacker guitars, with a Paul Weller opening line that could be a mission statement for their entire career.
In the city there’s a thousand things I want to say to you
But whenever I approach you, you make me look a fool
I wanna say, I wanna tell you
About the young ideas
But you turn them into fears
And of course right there with Weller is Bruce Foxton, harmonizing with both his bass and his vocals, and underpinning it all, Rick Buckler crashing and building and rolling every which way on his drums.
While In The City was the second Jam album I ever bought, after This is The Modern World, they both were among the very first punk rock albums I ever owned, and I played the holy living fuck out of both of them.
And while while I guess there was always some kind of punk dissing of The Jam because they were all wrapped up in the Mod revival — and were a pretty successful singles band from the start! — none of that mattered to me when I listened to a song like “In The City”
What mattered to me was the transcendent power chords from Weller’s guitar after he sang “I wanna tell you,” what mattered to me was Buckler’s drum rolls linking the the song together, what mattered was when they finished with the first of the thousand things they wanted to say I wanted hear the other 999 straight away.
“In The City”
“In The City” performed live in 1977
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