The band formed in Woking (England) in the early 1970's, and burst onto the scene in 1977. While their early work fit into the punk scene, they had a stronger melodic sense and more obvious 1960's soul influences than many of their contemporaries. Over time, this soul sound became more pronounced, though they remained popular throughout this transition.
At peak of their popularity, singer/guitarist/songwriter Paul Weller decided to disband The Jam in order to form a full-on soul band, which led to the creation The Style Council in 1983. When The Style Council's popularity faded, Weller ended that group in 1989 and has remained a solo artist to the present day.
"Town Called Malice" was off The Jam's last studio LP, 1982's The Gift. The title was inspired by Nevil Shute's 1950 novel A Town Like Alice, though the content was not. The contrast between an upbeat melody and more downbeat lyrics (reflecting the mood in Britain at the time) made the song a huge hit; it reached #1 on the British charts.
The video is all 1982 goodness, and shows the cool, mod-revival style that led to Weller's nickname "The Modfather." We're particularly partial to the soft ultra-white lighting.
Cool trivia fact: Not only did every Jam single break the top 40 in the U.K., but two import singles also charted (1981's "That's Entertainment" at #21 and 1982's "Just Who Is the 5 O'Clock Hero?" at #8).