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To Be Someone


The Jam released their debut single, ‘In The City’, in May 1977. At that time, no-one was happy in Britain, particularly not in Ian Stone’s house. He was fourteen and his days consisted of going to school, watching Arsenal play terrible football and listening to his parents’ marriage disintegrating. Outside, the country was divided – by racism, violence, inner-city riots, police corruption, unemployment and terrorism.

But late one evening in 1978, Ian’s eyes and ears were opened to an entirely new world. The Jam walked onstage at London’s Music Machine to a huge roar, and launched into ninety blistering minutes of some of the best pop tunes ever written. It was easily the most exciting moment of his life. 

To Be Someone is a freewheeling account of the five years Ian spent in the grip of obsession. He took weekend jobs so he could go to gigs; he tried to sneak into the Hammersmith Odeon and ended up stuck on the roof; he was on the point of being thrown out of a Brighton hotel when Paul Weller himself intervened and invited him and his mates back into the bar.

Above all, this memoir pays tribute to the band that helped Ian, and many others, to grow up amid the turbulence of Britain in the late 1970s and early 1980s. When Paul Weller eventually announced that the Jam were splitting up, Ian was devastated: but for him, and for everyone who followed them on that five-year journey, the love still runs deep.

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