Influential British mod-punk pack The Jam was founded in Surrey in the early '70s by Paul Weller (guitar), Bruce Foxton (bass), and Rick Buckler (drums). Guitarist Steve Brookes was in its freshman lineup. In 1977, the rising tide of punk buoyed Weller & Co. to U.K. pop stardom, leading to six full lengths and more than a dozen top-charting singles for The Jam. In '83, Weller moved on to The Style Council and then went solo for good in '89. Foxton joined Still Little Fingers from 1990 till the mid-aughts and continues to collaborate with Buckler. Rediscover 1977's galvanic "The Modern World," from their 2002 anniversary collection The Sound of The Jam (U.S.).
Artist: The Jam
Song: The Modern World
Album: The Sound of The Jam (U.S.)
Afro-soul-funk muse Theophile Do Rego, a.k.a. El Rego, was born in Porto Novo, Benin, in 1938. Rego's family tree is rooted in West Africa's Atlantic coast. Nearing the age of 7, Theophile relocated to Dakar, and by his early teens he joined the school band on harmonica. After touring in various bands including L'Orchestre Voltaique throughout the region, Rego landed back in Benin, and by the early '60s he founded Daho Jazz, and then the Jets (later Los Paras and finally Los Commandos). El Rego's 1966 pièce de résistance ignited as El Rego et Ses Commandos, with singer Eddy Black Power at the helm. Definitely discover "E Nan Mian Nuku," from the Legends of Benin compilation.
Artist: El Rego
Song: E Nan Mian Nuku
Album: Legends of Benin
Post-punk cult ensemble Television Personalities was founded in England in 1977, captained by Daniel Treacy (songwriter, guitarist, percussion, keyboards). Texas Bob Juarez (guitars, electric sitar, E-bow, bass), Mike Stone (bass, keys, melodica, guitar), and Arnau Obiols (drums, percussion) fill out the current lineup. Television Personalities have released 10 full-lengths since their dawn. Discover this underground outfit with "World of Pauline Lewis," from 1979's And Don't the Kids Just Love It.
Artist: Television Personalities
Song: World of Pauline Lewis
Album: And Don't the Kids Just Love It
The Chemical Brothers
Electronica's super duo The Chemical Brothers are Tom Rowland and Ed Simmons. The two met at Manchester University in the late '80s, at the start of the DJ era. In 1991, after graduation, Rowland and Simmons hit the Manchester club scene as The Dust Brothers (a name they borrowed from the U.S. producers). By 1995, they became The Chemical Brothers, relocated to London, and their trajectory was set. Now nine albums later, TCB has collaborations that include Noel Gallagher, Q-Tip, The Klaxons, The Prodigy, and This Mortal Coil. Enjoy the ever-invigorating twang of "Marvo Ging," from their 2005 Push the Button.
Artist: The Chemical Brothers
Song: Marvo Ging
Album: Push the Button
The Dears are the Montreal-based indie ensemble founded in 1995. Current lineup includes Murray Lightburn, Natalia Yanchak, Patrick Krief, Rob Benvie, Roberto Arquilla, and Jeff Luciani. The Dears have opened stages for Morrissey, Sloan, The Tragically Hip, Keane, and The Secret Machines. The band's received a bevy of accolades including the 2007 Polaris Prize, the 2002 Montreal Independent Music Initiative, plus Juno and CMW nominations. With nearly 19 releases to collect, go just a little north of the border with "Fear Made the World Go Round," from The Dears' 2006 release Gang of Losers.
Artist: The Dears
Song: Fear Made the World Go Round
Album: Gang of Losers
Scotland's harmonic power-pop unit Pilot was founded in Edinburgh in 1973 by David Paton and Billy Lyall (of Bay City Rollers fame), with Stuart Tosh and Ian Bairnson rounding out the ensemble. In 1974, Pilot's "Magic" became a million-seller, and the next year saw the band's follow-up single, "January," go to No. 1 on the UK and overseas charts. Collaborations include Andrew Powell (Kate Bush) and Alan Parsons. Pilot disbanded in 1978, when Paton, Tosh, and Bairnson joined the Alan Parsons Project (Lyall passed away in 1989). With four full lengths and over a dozen singles, rediscover "Canada," from their 1976 release Morin Heights.
Album: Morin Heights