The Jam were a British punk rock band formed in Woking, Surrey in 1972. Comprising of Paul Weller on vocals and guitar, Bruce Foxton on bass, and Rick Buckler on drums, the band is widely regarded as one of the most influential British groups of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
They were known for their energetic live performances, politically charged lyrics, and a sound that combined punk rock with elements of mod, soul, and R&B. During their career, they released six studio albums and a number of hit singles that showcased their unique sound and critical songwriting.
In this list, we will take a look at the 10 best The Jam songs of all time, highlighting their most iconic tracks that have become classics of British punk and rock music.
1. A Town Called Malice
“A Town Called Malice” is a lively and energetic song by The Jam, a British punk and new wave band. Released in 1982, the song features an infectious rhythm section and a catchy melody that instantly gets listeners tapping their feet. The lyrics describe the monotony and frustration of living in a small town where nothing ever seems to happen, with lead singer Paul Weller lamenting the lack of opportunities and excitement. Despite the negative themes, the song’s upbeat tempo and lively instrumentation make it a fan favorite and a classic example of The Jam’s unique sound.
2. Going Underground
Going Underground” is a classic punk rock song by British band The Jam, released in 1980. The song became the band’s first UK number one hit and remains one of their most iconic tracks. The driving beat, sharp guitar riffs, and lyrics about social and political discontent capture the energy and spirit of the punk movement. Frontman Paul Weller’s distinctive voice delivers the powerful lyrics with urgency and passion, creating a sense of urgency that perfectly captures the rebellious spirit of the time.
3. That’s Entertainment
“That’s Entertainment” by The Jam is a timeless classic that is often regarded as one of the band’s greatest hits. The song is a testament to the power of simplicity, as it is driven by a simple acoustic guitar riff and features minimal percussion. Despite this, the track is full of energy and features a memorable melody that is sure to get stuck in your head. Lyrically, “That’s Entertainment” is a commentary on everyday life in England and the struggles faced by working-class people.
“Start!” is a lively and energetic song by the English punk rock band The Jam, released in 1980 as a single and included in their album “Sound Affects.” The song is characterized by its catchy and upbeat guitar riff and punchy drums, with frontman Paul Weller’s distinctive vocals delivering the lyrics of youthful rebellion and seizing the moment. The song’s lyrics reflect the band’s political and social commentary, calling for a new beginning and a break from the monotony of everyday life.
5. The Eton Rifles
“The Eton Rifles” is a song by The Jam, released in 1979 as a single and later featured on the album “Setting Sons”. The song was written by Paul Weller, the band’s frontman, and was inspired by an incident in 1978 when he and a friend encountered a group of upper-class students from Eton College at a Right to Work march. The song’s lyrics are a commentary on class privilege and the youth culture of the time.
6. Beat Surrender
“Beat Surrender” is a lively and energetic song by British band The Jam, released as their final single in 1982 before they disbanded. The song features a catchy chorus and driving rhythm, with lead singer Paul Weller’s impassioned vocals urging listeners to surrender to the beat and forget their troubles. The lyrics also touch on the power of music to bring people together and lift their spirits.
7. In the City
“In the City” is the debut single by the British band The Jam. Released in 1977, it became an instant hit, peaking at number 40 on the UK Singles Chart. The song’s fast-paced, punk-influenced sound and catchy guitar riffs are emblematic of the energy and rebellion of the late 1970s British music scene. The lyrics, which reference the excitement and freedom of youth in the city, add to the song’s sense of urgency and youthful exuberance.
8. Down in the Tube Station at Midnight
“Down in the Tube Station at Midnight” is a song by The Jam that tells a story of a man who is violently mugged in the London Underground. The song features a mix of punk and new wave influences, with driving guitar riffs and catchy hooks. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of the man’s experience, from the eeriness of the deserted station to the brutal attack itself. The song also touches on themes of fear, isolation, and the danger that can lurk beneath the surface of everyday life.
9. The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had to Swallow)
“The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had to Swallow)” is a song by The Jam, released in 1982. It was one of the last singles the band released before their split the following year. The song is a power-pop ballad, with a catchy chorus and introspective lyrics about heartbreak and the difficulty of letting go of someone you love. Lead singer and songwriter Paul Weller’s distinctive vocals are complemented by a strong bassline and melodic guitar riffs.
10. Pretty Green
“Pretty Green” is a song by British punk rock band The Jam, released in 1980. The song was written by the band’s lead singer, Paul Weller, and features his distinctive and energetic guitar playing style. The lyrics describe the narrator’s admiration for a sharply dressed, stylishly cool and confident man, who stands out from the crowd. The song is a celebration of individuality and self-expression, as the narrator contrasts this charismatic figure with the conformity of those around him.