After forming the Jam in 1975 and 1976, Brookes left the band, who soon began playing around the London, England area. In 1977, the Jam signed a contract with Polydor Records and released "In the City", a moderate hit. This was followed by the band's debut album, In the City. The sound was early punk with strong mod influences, with Weller compositions and R&B covers. After another successful single, "All Around the World", the Jam toured the country and recorded This is the Modern World (1977); the titular track was a minor hit and the band left to tour the United States. The tour was a disaster. The next tour, in Britain, ended when the band brawled with some rugby players in Leeds. Weller was charged with assault, though he would eventually be acquitted. In 1978, the band left for another American tour, opening for Blue Öyster Cult.
The Jam was unable to gain a significant audience in the US, though they were rapidly becoming superstars in their homeland, especially after performing at the Reading Festival in 1978. All Mod Cons (1979) is usually considered the band's magnum opus, as well as the first album with truly great songwriting from Paul Weller. The album was a major success in the UK, as was Setting Sons (1979), which also charted in the US, a first for the band (it reached #137 in 1980).
Sound Affects, the Jam's fifth album, was a major success, as was the single "Start", which entered the charts at #1. While recording the follow-up, Weller had a nervous breakdown; he quit drinking. The Gift (1982) was another successful album, reaching #1 in the UK, and showing the band moving towards an exploration of American soul and R&B. Paul Weller broke up the group at the height of their popularity in 1982. The band's sixteen singles were re-released in 1983, and all sixteen re-charted simultaneously. Rick Buckler played with Time UK and Bruce Foxton released a solo effort, Touch Sensitive. Both went on to write autobiographies that severely criticized Weller, who had formed the Style Council with Mick Talbot, but the band was not as successful as The Jam. He began a solo career in the 1990s and has been quite successful.