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I consider "All Mod Cons" and "Setting Sons" to be Paul's "Revolver" & "Sgt Pepper". In terms of live performance, The Jam, in terms of live atmosphere, The Clash.In terms of lyrical minimalism, The clash, in terms of lyrical intricacy, The Jam.I love them both equally, both bands are essential to me and I wouldn't go a day without having my copies of London Calling or Compact Snap! Both bands have their share of shaky album tracks but both were amazing live bands, with songs that have something to say, still to this day.In a way The Jam I would vote for most lastingly important of the two: every year that goes by and I still listen to stuff like "Thick As Thieves," they seem more and more integral and important and relevant, so I'll give an extra 2% for The Jam as Most Important band of that era.What is the point of making music if no-one will hear it/listen to it? Just mention anything like it to PW and he'll give you an 'iding. The Jam represented pure exhilaration and intelligence, the Clash were your best friends,, the Ramones were the adrenaline injection, Costello gave us manly power and brains, and Lydon represented our better nature -- that nagging voice that made you question everything.The Clash just thrashed away a few chords without any real quality. Today the Clash sustain me more, but it's the Jam that can put the dagger in my heart with 'Thick as Thieves.' Bless 'em all; their train was and is not in vain. The Clash and London Calling are regarded as two of the greatest albums of all time; the latter was elected the greatest album of the eighties by Rolling Stone magazine.
In terms of audience reation - the Clash win every time. In terms of the ability of the songs to accurately reflect the mood of those changing times - the Clash.) - the band don't appropriate musical styles, but come up with a style all of their own! Songs still sound great, and of course they too had a style all of their own. The Jam looked cool, but they couldn't do without the mod revival safety net.Pete Townsend chords, thunderous riffs, a raw soul yelp... No disrespect to the Jam - they were still a billion times better than the sickly sweet plastic pop or navel-gazing indie whingers we have to put up with now (it's just that the Clash were bette).The Jam are the greatest English band of the last 30 years.They aroused greater loyalty in record buying and concert ticket queueing than any other.