Political Beats podcast

Episode 123: Dominic Green / The Jam

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Introducing the Band:
Your hosts Scot Bertram (@ScotBertram) and Jeff Blehar (@EsotericCD) are joined by guest Dominic Green. Dom is a historian and columnist, and he used to be a musician. He is a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and a columnist for the Washington Examiner and Jewish Chronicle. Check him out on Twitter at @DrDominicGreen.

Dominic’s Music Pick: The Jam
In some ways, this is one of the most necessary episodes of Political Beats ever. In other ways, this is one of the most obscure episodes of Political Beats ever. So come on in, Smithers-Jones, take a seat and a weight off your feet, because I've some news to tell you: The Jam is the most important and consequential British rock group that nobody outside of music nerds and record store clerks in America even knew existed. 

Paul Weller (guitar, vocals, primary songwriting), Bruce Foxton (bass, vocals, secondary songwriting), and Rick Buckler (drums) formed the late Seventies U.K. punk era's greatest power trio by explicitly patterning themselves off of the "straight lines" musical attack of mid Sixties mod-era Pete Townshend and The Who. They then almost immediately began to develop an approach that, by the time of All Mod Cons (1978), had evolved into a unique musical and lyrical response to the massive societal upheaval and displacement of the early Thatcher era. Even as The Jam sought and achieved universal critical acclaim and commercial success in Great Britain -- Paul Weller would later be dubbed "The Modfather" by '90s U.K. Britpop bands such as Oasis, Blur, and Teenage Fanclub -- their legacy failed to translate nearly anywhere else, and particularly to the United States. 

It's no mystery as to why: The Jam's lyrics and themes (driven by Weller) were uniquely British in a way few other top-tier rock artists' had been since the heyday of Ray and Dave Davies with the Kinks in the late Sixties. But these themes are nevertheless emotionally universal and humane, and the music? Oh, the music, my friends. If you are a Brit or a Jam fan of long-standing, then prepare for a delightful stroll through one mind-blowing punk, power-pop, or even string-laden art-rock memory after another. If you are new to The Jam -- and we must assume that many of you are -- prepare to be mowed down by a youth explosion as one pop masterpiece after another is brought to your attention for the first time. Some people might get some pleasure out of hate but you? You've enough already on your plate with this episode. Click play, and soon you'll be going underground.

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