Happy Birthday to Bruce Foxton – born September 1, 1955
Bruce Foxton is an English singer, musician, and composer.
With Paul Weller and Rick Buckler he gained worldwide fame as a member of The Jam. His backing vocals and basslines feature on the band’s songs, including the hits “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight”, “The Eton Rifles”, “Going Underground” and “Town Called Malice”. He occasionally performed the lead vocals, such as on the songs “News of the World”, “David Watts”, and “Smithers-Jones”. After the band’s break-up, he pursued a brief moderately successful solo career releasing one album, Touch Sensitive, in 1984, and later joined the band Stiff Little Fingers in 1990.
Bruce Foxton was born in Woking, Surrey on 1 September 1955 to parents Henry and Helen. He grew up on Albert Drive, Sheerwater and was the youngest of three boys.] He attended Sheerwater Junior and Secondary where he showed great skill in football and technical drawing. In 1972, he left school to work with his brother Derek at a printing firm. While there, he formed a band with his colleagues at work but he abandoned the project out of frustration due to lack of progress and instead chose to join The Jam, although at the beginning he had doubts about the group’s frequent covers of old hits. Together with drummer Rick Buckler he formed the rhythm section for The Jam, which was fronted by singer, guitarist, and songwriter Paul Weller. Foxton initially joined the group as lead guitarist (Weller played bass), but the pair switched positions following the departure of guitarist Steve Brookes. During his time with the band Foxton performed lead vocals on several tracks, most notably the singles “David Watts” (a cover of a Kinks track) and “News of the World”, which was his own composition. Foxton also penned a number of other tracks, the most notable being “Smithers-Jones”, done as a straightforward rock take for the B-side of “When You’re Young” and later reworked with strings for the Setting Sons album. After Foxton joined Stiff Little Fingers in 1990 the band would regularly perform the song live.
Whilst in The Jam, Foxton discovered The Vapors and offered them two appearances on the May 1979 tour of the Jam. The group was managed by John Weller, Paul’s father. The Vapors enjoyed greater success in the US than The Jam, with the Top 40 single “Turning Japanese”, but broke up shortly thereafter.
After The Jam split in 1982, Foxton pursued a brief solo career, and released the album Touch Sensitive (UK No. 68). He had minor UK hits in 1983 and 1984 with the singles “Freak”, “This Is The Way” and “It Makes Me Wonder”, and played in several less well-known groups, including Sharp, until he joined Stiff Little Fingers.
He stayed with Stiff Little Fingers for fifteen years, during which time they recorded five albums, namely, Flags and Emblems, Get a Life, Tinderbox, Hope Street and Guitar and Drum. During his time with the band, he wrote and co-wrote several tracks and, along with lead singer Jake Burns, managed the group for a while after Russel Emmanuel relinquished the role.
In 1994, Foxton and Buckler collaborated on Our Story, a biography of their years in The Jam. It was around this time he became a source of fascination for comedians Stewart Lee and Richard Herring on their BBC Radio 1 music shows.