Posts Tagged ‘Long Hot Summers: The Story of The Style Council’

When Paul Weller announced the Style Council’s arrival in march 1983, he’d come a very long way. in fact, at the age of just 24, he was already a musical veteran with six albums and nine top 10 singles under his belt with the Jam. as their leader he had become a deity-like figure and for his fans, the Jam’s split was unimaginable. but creatively restless and of inquisitive mind, Paul jettisoned them at their height to form a collective with an eventual core line-up of Paul with Mick Talbot, Dee C Lee and Steve White. in a quest for new sounds, the group travelled to realms previously unchartered for a pop group incorporating musical influences as wide ranging as Blue Note jazz and Chicago soul, Claude Debussy and Erik Satie, Chicago House and Jacques Brel.

At the same time, as battle lines were drawn in a decade under Margaret Thatcher culminating in the miner’s strike of 1984-85, Paul’s lyrics spoke with the language of the activist and his state of the nation addresses were both fierce and eloquent. over four albums and 17 singles, The Style Council made a stand and became the standard bearers of progressive soulful pop and social comment. The Style Council was emblematic of its creator. Paul Weller, smart, fearless, audacious, with a social conscience and totally unafraid to push the possibilities of pop. this is their story… “we set out to have fun, document the times and at the same time we wanted to elevate pop to an art form – I think we did that.” Paul Weller

Ahead of a forthcoming documentary on the second famed band of Paul Weller’s career, the revered British rocker has co-compiled a new collection devoted to The Style Council.

Long Hot Summers: The Story of The Style Council provides an extensive overview of Weller’s work through the ’80s after the dissolution of The Jam. The 37-track collection, available across 2 CDs or 3 LPs, includes a healthy mix of the group’s biggest singles, album cuts, B-sides and two unreleased tracks: an extended version of 1984’s “Dropping Bombs On The Whitehouse” and a string-laden demo of the band’s biggest worldwide hit, “My Ever Changing Moods.”

Working with Dexys Midnight Runners keyboardist Mick Talbot, drummer Steve White and vocalist Dee C. Lee, Weller’s work in The Style Council largely eschewed the punk leanings of The Jam for more overt New Wave, slick soul and sophisti-pop influences. But Weller’s signature song writing was still at the helm – as well as a growing political bent. (Along with Billy Bragg and Jimmy Somerville, Weller was active in Red Wedge, a collective of Labour-sympathetic musicians working to drum up support against England’s prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

The group earned three straight gold records in England with 1984’s Café Bleu (released in America as My Ever Changing Moods – the title track of which became a U.S. Top 40 hit), 1985’s chart-topping Our Favourite Shop and 1987’s The Cost Of Loving. The latter’s mixed critical reception was followed by the experimental Confessions Of a Pop Group (1988); the following year’s Modernism: A New Decade was rejected by Polydor Records, after which Weller called the group off for a solo career.

Long Hot Summers will be available from UMC October 30th – the same day a new documentary about The Style Council, featuring interviews with Weller, Talbot, White and Lee, will premiere on Sky Arts in England. The compilation, remastered at Abbey Road Studios, features new notes by Weller, essayist Lois Wilson, and actor Martin Freeman (star of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy and the U.K. version of The Office), a professed “superfan” of the group.