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News Of The World: Polydor’s Jammy Deal

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Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton, Rick Buckler

When The Jam released their debut album, In The City, on 20 May 1977, they appeared perfectly formed: a half-hour blast of punk-tinged mod revival social commentary; a handful of early classics; the sharp suits and skinny ties they wore on the album cover. This wasn’t a band going places – this band was already there.

In The CityBut they’d cut their teeth for five years, initially making a name for themselves at local Woking venues before becoming fixtures on the London punk scene. In this time, Weller and co had cycled through early rock’n’roll influences the likes of Chuck Berry and Little Richard, before falling for The Who’s raucous debut album, My Generation. By the time they caught punk’s wave, in early 1977, they were ready to present themselves as young firebrands full of youthful fury, but with an erudite songwriter and collective sartorial nous that stood in stark contrast to the Day-Glo mohawks and ripped T-shirts of their peers.

Indeed, a little over six months after Sex Pistols had staged a typically confrontational residency at London punk mecca The 100 Club, The Jam were at the same venue, on 11 January 1977, as support act to performance-/art-rockers Clayson And The Argonauts. Rebellious in their own way, the bookish Clayson and co were in no danger of burning down the establishment, and the pairing almost now seems calculated to set The Jam apart from the norm.

22 Jan 1977

The 22 January 1977 edition of the ‘NME’ carried a live review of The Jam the same night the band played The Marquee

Eleven nights later, on the same day that the NME published a live review of the band, Weller, Foxton and Buckler were on stage at The Marquee. During the gig, Weller set fire to a copy of influential punk fanzine Sniffin’ Glue; though unrelated to the NME review, the act now seems heavily symbolic: The Jam were fearlessly making their move on the mainstream.

In attendance that night was Polydor’s Chris Parry, who wasted no time in getting the group to demo for the label. On 9 February, they recorded four songs at London’s Anemone Studios: ‘Sounds From The Street’, ‘I’ve Changed My Address’, ‘Time For Truth’ and the eventual title track for their debut album; six days later, they signed with Polydor for £6,000.

It wasn’t until 25 February 1977, however, that the label announced the deal: The Jam were theirs for one single and one album. That night, the group headlined The Fulham Greyhound. Less than a week later they were at Polydor Studios, capturing In The City in a mere 11 days. Such a quick work rate would be a hallmark of the group’s career: in the five years they spent together since signing to the label, The Jam notched up six albums and 18 singles. In the event, all were recorded for Polydor, making the initial deal some of the best six grand the label ever spent.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Carmen Migoya San Miguel

    February 25, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    MOD mode.
    The JAM best band ever

  2. Adrian

    February 25, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Simply the best

    • Wilma TYlor

      February 27, 2016 at 3:41 am

      I tottaly agree, love the Jam, back in the day.
      Then came along the Style Council, wow loved them too.

      Maybe I am tottaly biased here…..Paul Weller, is an amazing artist.
      His wording of his songs is awesome.

      A few years ago went to see him at the Villa.

      OMG, when he started singing, “you do something to me” .

      I was again, utterly amazed that he had the ability, to make this song feel like he was singing, just for me.

      Please Paul, keep giving us, your music.

  3. Tania

    February 28, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    Growing up with TheJam how lucky am i …. Still playing their music it’s just class !! Long live TheJam ✌️

  4. Dave Pusey

    February 25, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Simply the best band ever so many memories growing up with this band & the style council,the when weller went solo he turned into God ,must of seen him at least 20 times never let me down once

  5. Julie Calderbank

    February 25, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Best band of all time. Weller is pure genius. Like a good whisky matures with age…..love him xx

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