To borrow one of their favourite band’s song titles, the end of The Jam in 1982 was the bitterest pill their fans ever had to swallow. The groundbreaking British trio split after a final No.1 single with “Beat Surrender” and a last tour, before Paul Weller regrouped to emerge with the fresh challenge of the Style Council.
But there was a consolation for Jam aficionados in the form of a live retrospective album that covered their five years as a performing force. Dig The New Breed, its title inspired by a line in James Brown’s “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag,” was released on December 10, 1982.
Listen to Dig The New Breed right now.
Coming nine months after the band’s final studio album (and only UK No.1 LP) The Gift, the live set offered a live overview that started with a performance of “In The City” at the 100 Club in 1977, then continued with three numbers from another seminal London show at the Rainbow in 1979. The album later jumped back to a Reading University performance the same year, but was otherwise chronological, drawing on four other Jam gigs in various UK settings.
One of the attractions of the set was that it didn’t attempt to be a “live greatest hits” release, instead spotlighting many of the album tracks, and one cover, that were also a key part of the band’s success. These included the title track of the All Mod Cons album, as well as “Ghosts,” “In The Crowd” and their cover of Eddie Floyd’s Stax Records favorite “Big Bird.” Their hit singles were represented by “Start!,” “Going Underground” and “That’s Entertainment.”
The album entered the UK chart at No.2, and would have made the top if not for EMI’s John Lennon Collection, which continued at No.1 that week and through Christmas.
The Jam’s 5CD 1977 box set can be bought here.
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