From Woking to the World: The Jam exhibition to be co-curated by Paul Weller's sister at Somerset House

By Culture24 Reporter | 13 April 2015

Weller, Foxton and Buckler support exhibition telling story of trio's rise this summer

A black and white photo of three young men in a band in suits looking surly
© Ray Stevenson
Paul Weller’s sister will co-curate a comprehensive exhibition about The Jam at Somerset House this summer, endorsed by all three members of the hugely influential trio, who have allowed “unprecedented access” to their collections of lyrics, stage outfits, photos, footage, instruments and unreleased music videos.

Themed around album artworks and graphics by artist Anthony Burrill, Nicky Weller – who once led the band’s fan club – will aim to transport fans to the suburban Woking homes where it all began, set against the music, fashions and political attitudes of the 1960s and 1970s and including the Weller family’s vinyl collection.

A photo of three young men in suits sitting at a cafe table drinking cups of tea
Frank's Cafe, Beak St (1978)© Martyn Goddard
Six subsequent rooms will follow the sextet of studio albums which sent The Jam’s star skyrocketing between 1977 and 1982. A “front room” will be based around the London punk scene which inspired the band’s debut record, In the City, and the early bookings made by John Weller, their manager and Weller’s father.

Tour budgets and riders will be presented for dissection among galleries including This is the Modern World, All Mod Cons, Setting Sons and Sound Affects, as well as the thoughts of Noel Gallagher, Graham Coxon and fellow musicians who took inspiration from a band who scored 18 consecutive top 40 singles during their brief united existence.

A black and white photo of a punk band in suits playing guitars and drums under lights
Marquee Club (1978)© Jill Furmanovsky
Named after their closing album, final room The Gift will recall their last gig, in 1982, when they played out an emotional farewell to their fans in Brighton.

"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,” said Weller, calling the prospect “an honour”.

A colour photo of three young men wearing suit jackets looking surly during the 1970s
Cleveland, Ohio (1979)© Janet Macoska
“How incredible it is to think of all the memorabilia from the band, our families and fans together in one place.”

Rick Buckler, the band’s drummer, admitted that the exhibition had been mooted for years.

“Now it’s finally happening, I'm pleased,” he said.

A black and white photo of three young men in suits and sunglasses
Modern World photo shoot (1977)© Martyn Goddard
“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.”

Bruce Foxton, the bassist and vocalist who has since played with Stiff Little Fingers and perennial tourers From the Jam, also professed his pleasure at the prestige of the exhibition venue. A limited edition CD, About the Young Idea – the Best of the Jam, will be released to coincide with the display.

  • The Jam: About the Young Idea is at East Wing Galleries, Somerset House from June 26 – August 31 2015. Open 10am-6pm (9pm Thursday on July 2, 23 and 30, August 20 and 27). Tickets £9.50/£7 (free for under-12s, £17.50/£15 with CD package).

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What a wonderful and fitting tribute to a well loved band. Never saw them live but loved their music. Have since seen "Mr Weller" since many times, Brilliant, but would love to see this exhibition. is there any chance it could "tour" as we live in Manchester and they have many fans here too!
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