The JamThe Complete Jam (Universal Chronicles/Interscope)
It's been said that the Jam was too quintessentially British for American audiences. Another explanation is that U.S. audiences didn't "get" them because they never saw the power-pop trio play live (they only performed three times on U.S. television). These theorems are supported by the fact that when MTV began in late 1981, the Jam scored three back-to-back heavy rotation videos and were verging on becoming massive stars stateside when guitarist/songwriter/ singer Paul Weller broke up the band. This much-delayed 2-DVD set can't rewrite pop music history, but it's still one of the classiest home-video collections yet released. It contains all 16 of the Jam's epochal UK hit videos, in vastly improved 5.1 sound, but the really exemplary thing is that they included the majority of the live television performances from British and European television -- excluding all the Top of the Pops
performances, which weren't live. It's a godsend for fans, and for newcomers, well, just put in disc two and play the stunning 1980 Newcastle City Hall performance, which tells you everything you need to know about why the Jam are so beloved as one of England's all-time best bands. It's all here, from their 1977 punk debut to their emotional farewell appearance on the debut episode of The Tube
in 1982. Six years of fury, fire, and passion, as good as guitar-based rock gets.