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The Jam: About the Young Idea arrives at @SomersetHouse this summer @A__B_I

April 29, 2015

The Jam- About the Young Idea, somerset house

This summer, Somerset House, in collaboration with Nice Time Inc Productions, is proud to present The Jam: About the Young Idea. With unprecedented access to The Jam’s archive, Somerset House will curate the first comprehensive exhibition about the extraordinary bandwhose music immortalised life for Britain’s disenchanted youth during the late 70s and early 80s. Through unseen material and fan memorabilia, The Jam: About the Young Idea will chart the trio’s journey from Sheerwater Secondary Modern in Woking to superstardom, kick-started by the release of their debut hit single ‘In The City’, whose lyrics are referenced in the exhibition’s title, and ended six years later with 18 consecutive UK top 40 singles and over 14 million global album sales.

For the very first time, all three members of the band – Paul Weller, Rick Buckler and Bruce Foxton – the Weller family and music archivist Den Davis have opened up their archives, especially for the Somerset House show. The collection, which is curated by frontman Paul’s sister and former head of The Jam’s fan club Nicky Weller, Tory Turk and Russell Reader with additional advice from DJ Gary Crowley, includes hand written lyrics, original stage outfits, personal photographs and footage, unreleased music videos, early scrapbooks, letters and postcards, posters and fanzines, and the band’s instruments. The exhibition, designed in reference to album artworks and featuring original graphics from celebrated artist Anthony Burrill, will provide a unique and personal insight into the band’s trailblazing life and the retrospect legacy The Jam left on music, style, politics and culture. All three members of The Jam have endorsed the exhibition:

“When we were in the band, I would never have thought that some 35-odd years later, there would be an exhibition in our name at Somerset House. How incredible it is to think of all the memorabilia from the band, our families and fans together in one place. What an honour.” Paul Weller

“There’s been talk for a very long time about some form of exhibition that celebrates The Jam, and now it’s finally happening, I’m pleased. I’m pleased for the fans and pleased that The Jam continue to mean so much to so many people, and that by visiting the exhibition The Jam can be remembered by lots of people from several generations.” Rick Buckler

“The Jam’s music still sounds contemporary today, some 35 years on. That is a real testament to
the quality of the songwriting and the musicianship. I am extremely proud of having been a part of The Jam and the friendship the three of us enjoyed during that period and still do. This exhibition enables the fans to get more of an insight into the band. Somerset House, who’d have thought? Enjoy!” Bruce Foxton

The Jam- About the Young Idea, somerset house 2

Exhibition overview

Visitors will be welcomed to the exhibition by footage of John Weller, Paul’s father and The Jam manager, whose belief in the band was unfaltering. John secured gigs for the teenage trio and negotiated their first record deal before managing the rest of their career. For the band and the fans, he was the fourth member of The Jam – a constant and hands-on presence on the road who would introduce them to the stage at their live shows.

The exhibition will then transport visitors back to the 1960s and 70s, evoking a typical family front room for a slice of suburban life. The decade in which they grew up was a vibrant and optimistic time bringing new music, fashions and political attitudes. From Mods to Motown, their early influences heavily inspired the sound, style and substance of the band. Objects from all three childhoods will be displayed, alongside the Weller family vinyl collection.

Each of the six next rooms will chronologically follow the six studio albums The Jam made in six years from 1977 – 1982, with each room designed in reference to album artwork. The Jam’s records responded to and reflected on the state of society, so as well as tracing the band’s own evolution, each room will explore the changing cultural and political scene of the late 70s and early 80s.

From the ‘front room’, there will be a view of the London punk scene for ‘In the City’. John Weller booked gigs at London venues, including The Marquee after which they were signed up to Polydor on a four album option, and the exposure to London’s alternative subculture at an impressible age left its mark indelibly – even when the sound became more pop than punk, they did not abandon the punk values of talking directly to the young and the working classes. There will be candid shots of these early London shows, original gig posters and personalised luggage. The exhibition will then move through the political and social discontent of the 1970s (This is the Modern World), The Jam’s style with original outfits on open display (All Mod Cons), fan souvenirs and stories (Setting Sons) and The Jam’s sound and legacy (Sound Affects) with
objects from their live shows, including instruments, set designs, tour budgets and riders, plus accounts from the stars they inspired, such as Noel Gallagher and Graham Coxon. The final room – ‘The Gift’ – will focus on The Jam’s last gig in Brighton. In 1982, Paul Weller shockingly split up the band at the height of their popularity to explore new creative avenues.
Brighton was an emotional farewell to the fans; The Jam had travelled the globe and artefacts from around the world will be exhibited here, but they brought it back to Britain and in particular Brighton, the spiritual home of the Mod, for the end. The Jam’s lyrics looked at the minutiae of British life, spanning from suburbia to Soho, from toffs to the Tube, and their constant commitment to represent their roots, right to the curtain call, will be celebrated.

To coincide with the exhibition, Universal Music is releasing a limited-edition CD entitled About The Young Idea – The Best of The Jam which also includes some previously unavailable recordings.

An exclusive package of exhibition tickets and the CD will be available at the special price of £17.50 (£15 concessions) from somersethouse.org.uk.

Courtesy of ‘Abi

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