The Jam : Sounds from the Street
On October 23, 1976 The Jam, a trio of "angry young men" led by an 18 year old Paul Weller, played a surprise sidewalk gig in London's Soho market. They were hoping for some free press and they got it. A dismissal from Mark Perry's Sniffin Glue fanzine who called the band "Sixties revivalists" but from Sounds writer John Ingham something much more thoughtful:
With bands far exceeding the number of London clubs sometimes you really have to take it to the streets. Last Saturday The Jam did just that. Setting up on the pavement outside Soho market about 12.30, they ripped it up for almost an hour. The firemen at the nearby station watched from the roof. The Clash enjoyed their breakfast to the rocking strains. Natives of deepest Surrey, The Jam looked as though they had just been released from school, though their black suits, white shirt, black tie combination could be to invoke the mid-Sixties. Beat Boom correctness. Guitarist Paul Weller must be the quietest guitarist in rock, quite Wilko Johnson ( Dr Feelgood) influenced, but capable of providing some real excitement. The rhythm section ( Rick Butler drums and Bruce Foxton bass) was solid, but could use less cabaret. Their songs also invoke mid sixties beat boom and could do with a bit more musical originality. There're some good things in there, especially In The City I've a Thousand Things I Want to Tell You. The sun shone, no police came by and the last three songs were hot stuff. Judge for yourself, November 9, at the 100 Club.
The band would be signed by Polydor Records early in 1977. Their first single "In The City" was released on April 29, 1977. It was the first of 18 straight singles to go Top 40 in the UK, including four #1 hits.