We remember the night like it was yesterday.
As darkness embraced the county fairgrounds and the last gaggle of teens stumbled dizzily from the Tilt-A-Whirl, Mom & Dad started rounding up the family offspring for the trip home. We were exhausted from a long day of sun, fun and elephant ears\, but, with a few dollars yet in our pockets, we were just looking for something to blow it on.
But where and on what?
Then a lone tent appeared on the horizon offering all manner of candy and cheap toys, none of which appealed to this 12-year-old wiser beyond his years. Not by much, of course, but I was looking for something just a little more, you know, sophisticated. And then I saw it:
Underneath a stack of comic books and temporary tattoos was a box marked "All Records This Box $3". Even though we realized the chances of being supremely disappointed in the selection were still quite high, this being a county fair in a rural part of a state shaped like a mitten, we dove in headfirst anyway.
Among the assorted Mickey Gilley and pre-disco Bee Gees records was a mysterious platter by a band called The Jam. The album was called All Mod Cons and, for $3, it looked like a reasonable way to make sure I left the fairgrounds with no more cash in pocket.
Little did I know that once this record hit my stereo, it would stay for the next six months. Oh, I tried giving it a breather every so often just to cleanse the proverbial palette and whatnot, but my ears were having none of it. Even the stack of records received during Christmas went un-played for months.
And so began one boy's love affair with the music of one Paul Weller who, along with rock-solid foot soldiers Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler, cerated one of the most exciting sounds to come out of the UK since those four lads from Hamburg by way of Liverpool.
Inexplicably, Weller would break up The Jam in 1982 and never look back. While his musical explorsation as part of The Style Council is incredibly hit-and-miss, his current solo work packs just as much of a punch as those early Jam records.
So, why no Jam reunion then? It's obvious Bruce and Rick want one in their lifetimes and, unless one of them slept with Paul's ol' lady or something, it's almost sadistic to deny the fans. If Pink Floyd can get past their differences, anybody can.
For now, though, we'll simply wish Paul Weller the happiest of birthdays and spin his latest single, "Pick It Up" from his most recent solo effort Saturns Pattern .