To mark the release of The Jam '1977', a box set collecting together classics, rarities and ephemera from the band's output of 1977, we take a look at some of the iconic band's best moments from that eventful year.
'In The City'
The Jam's debut single, for many an induction into a way of life. The Jam's appearance on Top Of The Pops was one of the defining moments of the mod revival and punk movement exploding in Britain in 1977. The energetic song captured the spirit of rebellion surging through the country's youth, commenting on the unrest that was grabbing headlines at the time, "In the city, there's a thousand men in uniform, And I hear they now have the right to kill a man".
“Who makes the rules that make people select, Who is to judge that your ways are correct, The media as watchdog is absolute shit, The TV telling you what to think”.
Another song that championed Paul Weller's young idea, the lyrics of 'Art School' read like a manifesto to mobilise the youth of 1977 Britain, and arguably more relevant than ever today.
'Away From The Numbers'
The Jam weren't just about the big bar chorded crowd pleaser songs. With one foot in British punk but another in the world of The Who, Motown and '60s mod culture, The Jam set themselves apart from contemporaries such as the Sex Pistols, while managing to be just as much a part of the punk movement, and stirring rebellion in a style all their own. 'Away From The Numbers' displayed Paul Weller's considered approach to challenging the accepted norm. "I was the type who knocked at old men, (History's easy), Who together at tables sit and drink beer, (Somewhere is really), Then I saw that I was really the same, So this link's breaking away from the chain".
'All Around The World'
The stand-alone single released between The Jam's first two albums. This notable TV appearance shows the band appearing on Marc Bolan's short-lived TV show in 1977. Bolan recognised and embraced the inevitable relevance of punk (the inspiration for his own song 'Teen Riot Structure'). The Jam were one of the emerging punk bands that Bolan showcased on his show along with Generation X and Boomtown Rats and appeared on its first episode on the same bill as somewhat the less illustrious Showaddywaddy.
'This Is The Modern World' (Live at The 100 Club, London 1977)
It's worth remembering in an age of re-releases, re-issues and re-packaging that The Jam were a phenomenon live, as well as recorded. 'The Modern World' and its single of the same name followed 'In The City' quickly in the same year. 1977 was also the year that The Jam made a big impression on audiences at London's 100 Club. Weller, Foxton and Buckler joined the list of bands that made the iconic club one of the main centres for British punk, 2 Tone ska, mod revival and all the subcultures that came to thrive in that year and the years that immediately followed.
'This Is The Modern World' album track 'The Combine' is often cited as the song that hints at the direction that The Jam would go on to take with 'All Mod Cons', 'Setting Sons', 'Sound Affects' and ultimately 'The Gift'. Lyrically Weller's lyrics remain reflectively commentative on the blinkered British status quo of 1977, referring to institutions such as Coronation Street and The Sun newspaper.
"When the combine's the only star - Sunday papers, And the dailies, Ena Sharples, Page 3 girls, News at ten, War in Rhodesia, Far away".
To celebrate the 40th-anniversary of The Jam's first two LPs USM-Polydor release a five-disc box set featuring both albums re-mastered as well as unreleased demos and live recordings. The first two discs contain the original remastered albums. Discs three and four contain demos of 1977 Jam material and John Peel sessions. Finally, disc five is a DVD featuring Polydor promos and TV appearances from the year.
To find out more about the release click here.