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‘Sound Affects’: The Jam Edge Closer To The Album Summit

The album entered the chart at No.2, second only to ABBA’s ‘Super Trouper.’

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The Jam artwork: UMG
The Jam artwork: UMG

Each new LP release by The Jam took them closer and closer to the holy grail of a No.1 album in their home country. From the fairly modest beginnings of In The City and This Is The Modern World, released within a few months of each other in 1977, they hit the album Top 10 for the first time with 1978’s All Mod Cons, at No.6, and No.4 with the following year’s Setting Sons.

On December 6, 1980, the trio made their chart debut with their fifth album Sound Affects, and very nearly made the top. It entered the chart at No.2, second only to ABBA’s Super Trouper. They finally hit the summit with their farewell album, The Gift, in 1982.

Buy or stream Sound Affects.

Sound Affects, produced by Chris Parry and Vic Coppersmith-Heaven, was especially anticipated because it was previewed by The Jam’s second UK No.1 single, “Start!” The media response was certainly favourable. “The album finds The Jam stretching out, once again successfully staying off the (seemingly) inherent limitations of a three-piece lineup,” wrote Don Snowden in New York Rocker.

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“Their fifth record is every bit as far removed from the densely textured Setting Sons as that last one was from the clean precision of All Mod Cons,” he continued. “And Cons signalled the maturation of the Jam from the adrenalin rush of their first two albums.”

Listen to the best of The Jam on Apple Music and Spotify.

In 1981, Paul Weller told Creem magazine about the band’s domestic audience. “That English following’s taken four years to get that large,” he said. “We’ve been building it since 1977. Recently it has suddenly got a lot bigger and more fanatical – probably because of the No.1s – but really it’s the result of a slow build-up over the years. Mind you, we’ve always had a really strong following: even when it was only 400 people those 400 were a really powerful force.”

Buy The Jam’s 5CD 1977 box set.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. John Torma

    December 9, 2014 at 1:05 am

    I saw The Jam in Detroit at The Motor City Roller Rink in 1979 on the Setting Sons tour. Bought a jersey that I wore to death. Yes it was a skating rink and there were only about 50 people attending but the band rocked a full set. Love this band.

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