May 20: The Jam released their debut album In The City in 1977

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May 20: The Jam released their debut album In The City in 1977

“…armed and extremely dangerous The Jam stalk the decrepit grooves. If you don’t like them, hard luck they’re gonna be around for a long time. It’s been a long time since albums actually reflected pre-20 delusions and this one does”.
– Barry Cain (Record Mirror)

In the City is the debut studio album of The Jam. It was released in 1977 by Polydor Records and featured the hit single and title track “In the City”. The album includes two cover songs, “Slow Down” and the theme to the 1960s television series, Batman, the latter of which had also been previously covered by The Who, The Kinks and Link Wray.

Paul Weller’s guitar style on the album is very much influenced by Wilko Johnson and Pete Townshend.

The Jam – In The City – Electric Circus, August 1977:

“Here we find an English hard-rock trio who wear short hair, narrow ties, dark suits, and dirty sneakers, and also say “fuck” a lot. But in addition they sound rather like The Who Sing My Generation, even mentioning James Brown in one song. They also claim a positive social attitude–no police state in the U.K., but no anarchy either. Is this some kind of put-up job, pseudo-punk with respect for the verities? Could be. When they complain that Uncle Jimmy the “red balloon” (or is it “reveloo”?) never walks home at night, they’ve got his number, but when they accuse him of sleeping between silk sheets they’re just blowing someone else’s hot air. In the end, they could go either way–or both. In the meantime, though, they blow me out. These boys can put a song together; they’re both powerful enough to subsume their sources and fresh enough to keep me coming back for more.”
 A-     Robert Christgau

Track listing:

Side one
  1. “Art School” (2:02)
  2. “I’ve Changed My Address” (3:31)
  3. “Slow Down” (2:39) (Larry Williams)
  4. “I Got By in Time” (2:07)
  5. “Away from the Numbers” (4:03)
  6. “Batman Theme” (1:31) (Neal Hefti)
Side two
  1. “In the City” (2:19)
  2. “Sounds from the Street” (3:14)
  3. “Non-Stop Dancing” (2:28)
  4. “Time for Truth” (3:10)
  5. “Takin’ My Love” (2:15)
  6. “Bricks and Mortar” (2:37)

 

The Jam – In The City (Spotify):

“In an era that preached attitude over musicianship, the Jam bettered the competition with good pop sense, strong melodies, and plenty of hooks that compromised none of punk’s ideals or energy, plus youth culture themes and an abrasive, ferocious attack. Even though the band would improve exponentially over the next couple of years, In the City is a remarkable debut and stands as one of the landmark punk albums.”
– Chris Woodstra (Allmusic)

 

– Hallgeir