your top 20 favourite Jam songs

“My first love. My true love. He was only like 23 when he broke them up. Absolutely fucking incredible.”

The invitation was simple. Favourite Jam song. Two votes. One, an A-side or B-side. Two, a non-single track. Here are the results, collated – with a few choice comments and videos thrown in. The choices themselves ran to over 50 songs. I didn’t include all of them cos it was getting fucking ridiculous.

1. Man In The Corner Shop

2. When You’re Young 
“This is the one I directly refer to in my thesis.”
“‘When You’re Young’ just because it delivers so exquisitely on what its title promises. Lyrically and sonically it is the essence of the colliding, heightened emotions of the youthful state; specifically the youthful state in a period when one might say Pop culture was in, if not its pomp, then certainly a position of high value. It was always the most breathless and breathtaking of the Jam singles I think. Knowing but not ‘knowing’. Of course I came to The Jam through my brother and they were assuredly his band. As such I am ashamed of an episode where my friend and I concocted a fiendishly difficult ‘Jam Quiz’ full of obscure facts and figures just to prove we were ‘bigger’ fans than him. The fact that he scored lowly on this quiz is, in hindsight, proof of the fact that I had missed the point of Pop entirely.”
“I was literally just about to say “When You’re Young” and “Ghosts”. But the chap above me has just said exactly the same thing.”

3. Funeral Pyre
“This blew me away as a kid in the 90s and still does. how young was he to be writing such multilayered Reichian songs against fascism.”

4. Going Underground

5. The Bitterest Pill
“This one is still a grower.”

6. Down In The Tube Station At Midnight

7. Away From The Numbers
“…the greatest *early* non-single track they released (amid insanely fierce competition)…”

8. In The Crowd
“One of my absolute favorite footage is of this crowd bouncing as one in anticipation for the song to kick in, PW is all Marriott moves in his webbed belt and button-down Oxford shirt. ‘Everyone seems just like me…’ and it’s all over in 3 minutes.”

9. The Butterfly Collector
“I went to the UK in 79 and saw them at Gaumont, Southampton and a big place in Camden, after that incredible year they had with singles and Setting Sons coming out. Apart from John Weller, at side of stage, and Bruce and Rick, myself and my friend Colin seemed to be the oldest there. Incredible shows. I always remember Weller introducing ‘Butterfly Collector’ to the fans in their Fred Perry’s and parkas, ‘This is for all the individuals in the audience’.”
“‘Butterfly Collector’ always creeps me out.”

10. A Town Called Malice
“It’s not just my favourite Jam song but my favourite song ever.”
“Incredible structure. He’s the king of the middle eight. Hands down. Don’t even get me started about his lyrics.”
“How amazing is this?”

11. That’s Entertainment! (demo version)

12. Ghosts 
“Ghosts is never mentioned. That track gives me chills.”

13. Boy About Town (flexi version)

14. Start! 

15. Strange Town
“‘Strange Town’ for the single. Maybe ‘Scrape Away’, no ‘Thick As Thieves’ for the other. ‘Course it’ll be different when I wake up in the morning.”

16. Tales From The Riverbank 

17. English Rose

18. The Eton Rifles

19. The Beat Surrender
“Oh god yeah.”

20. Life From A Window

Honourable mentions (for a variety of reasons, not on strict voting order)

All Around The World
“Honourable mention for favourite moment: When Weller shouts ‘Youth Explosion’ in the middle of All Around The World’s guitar solo.”
“My first time ever seeing The Jam.”

In The City
“I love Paul Weller’s guitar nervousness on that album!! The fokin best!”

Liza Radley
“Some time after that came out, I broke up with a much older girlfriend with the same surname, and consequently played it to death while moping…”

No One In The World

Pop Art Poem

Running On The Spot
“‘Running on the Spot’ is the one I listen to the most as an adult.”

Saturday’s Kids
“I spent most of my musical career trying to reproduce the sound.”

Wasteland
“…And ‘Wasteland’ because it is the song that made me want to write. It’s the song I had running in my head when I sat my ‘O’ Grade English paper back in the mists of time and it fuelled the piece of creative writing I penned on that day. I got the highest level of ‘A’ grade pass in the exam, which was nice of course, but what I took from it most was the sheer THRILL of writing. It was the first time that really clicked.”

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2 Responses to your top 20 favourite Jam songs

  1. atelier88spain says:

    This is a great set in itself Jerry, I loved this sphincter tight threesome and saw them do Funeral Pyre at Bingley when I went back to see relatives that way north. I always found it difficult to say which one of the many brilliant songs and astounding writings I liked best. I suppose Town called Malice and then as I write this I think no ‘Eton Rifles’ then no ‘down in the …. and so on. Best Pete Nevin

  2. Alex says:

    Paul Weller is shit. Well dressed pretentious fuck. Full of disdain for others because he’s afraid others are just like him. An insicure prick with a little bit of talent in mixing others’ people ideas and giving a mediocre feel so others mediocre people can indulge in it.
    It takes no effort in liking a Paul Weller song, because they are all pretense. Yeah, he seems convinced in what he’s doing, and that’s where the clueless fall in. In fact, he’s just empty like a padded bra. Shit, shit, shit.

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