The Jam were a British punk rock/new wave band active in the late 1970s and early ’80s. They were one of the most popular groups of the day, achieving eighteen straight Top 40 singles in the UK from their debut in 1977 to their swansong in 1982, including four #1 hits. Incredibly, two of these eighteen singles were available on an import-only basis; they remain the best-selling import singles of all time in the UK. They also released six albums in their day, the last of which (The Gift) hit #1 on the UK album charts. Massively popular in Britain, as well as much of the rest of Europe and beyond, they never gained much commercial success in North America, but they did retain a considerable cult following. They drew upon a variety of stylistic influences over the course of their career, including punk rock, British Invasion, American soul, mod music, and even British psychedelia. Even into the 1990s their music proved to be highly influential on many successful British guitar pop bands from The Smiths in the ’80s to Britpop groups Blur and Oasis more recently. Despite the group’s limited fame in the United States, they remain a major influence on popular American groups such as Green Day as well. To this day, they rank as one of the most highly successful British groups of all time.
Launching the career of singer, guitarist, and songwriter Paul Weller, who remains a successful solo artist to this day, the trio was known for its high-energy, hard-hitting pop songs, distinctly British flavour, and sharp mod image. All three members were skilled musicians and made critical contributions to the group’s sound. Weller wrote and sang virtually all of the group’s original compositions, and drove them with the chiming tones of a Rickenbacker guitar. Bassist Bruce Foxton made up for the group’s lack of a second guitarist by carrying much of the melody in his distinctive playing, a confluence of the power of John Entwistle with the speed and melodicism of Paul McCartney. His instantly memorable basslines were the foundation of many of the group’s songs, including the hits "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight", "The Eton Rifles", and "A Town Called Malice". Foxton’s sweet harmonies also gave the group another memorable cachet. Drummer Rick Buckler played with the full-on energy of Keith Moon, but dispensed with Moon’s flashiness in favour of steady but intricate beats and subtle, deft touches. Despite having only three members, The Jam are still regarded as one of the most powerful and fiery groups in British rock.