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The Style Council

Guitarist/vocalist Paul Weller broke up the Jam, the most popular British band of the early '80s, at the height of their success in 1982 because he was dissatisfied with their musical direction. Weller wanted to incorporate more elements of soul, R&B, and jazz into his songwriting, which is something he felt his punk-oriented bandmates were incapable of performing. In order to pursue this musical direction, he teamed up in 1983 with keyboardist Mick Talbot, a former member of the mod revival band the Merton Parkas. Together, Weller and Talbot became the Style Council -- other musicians were added according to what kind of music the duo were performing. With the Style Council, the underlying intellectual pretensions that ran throughout Weller's music came to the forefront.

Although the music was rooted in American R&B, it was performed slickly -- complete with layers of synthesizers and drum machines -- and filtered through European styles and attitudes. Weller's lyrics were typically earnest, yet his leftist political leanings became more pronounced. His scathing criticisms of racism, unemployment, Margaret Thatcher, and sexism sat uneasily beside his burgeoning obsession with high culture. As his pretensions increased, the number of hits the Style Council had decreased; by the end of the decade, the group was barely able to crack the British Top 40 and Weller had turned from a hero into a has-been.

Released in March of 1983, the Style Council's first single "Speak Like a Child" became an immediate hit, reaching number four on the British charts. Three months later, "The Money-Go-Round" peaked at number 11 on the charts as the group was recording an EP, Paris, which appeared in August; the EP reached number three. "Solid Bond in Your Heart" became another hit in November, peaking at number 11.

The Style Council released their first full-length album, Cafe Bleu, in March of 1984; two months later, a resequenced version of the record, retitled My Ever Changing Moods, was released in America. Cafe Bleu was Weller's most stylistically ambitious album to date, drawing from jazz, soul, rap, and pop. While it was musically all over the map, it was their most successful album, peaking at number five in the U.K. and number 56 in the U.S. "My Ever Changing Moods" became their first U.S. hit, peaking at number 29. In the summer of 1985, the Style Council had another U.K. Top Ten hit with "The Walls Come Tumbling Down." The single was taken from Our Favourite Shop, which reached number one on the U.K. charts; the record was released as Internationalists in the U.S. The live album, Home and Abroad, was released in the spring of 1986; it peaked at number eight.

The Style Council had its last Top Ten single with "It Didn't Matter" in January of 1987. The Cost of Loving, an album that featured a heavy emphasis on jazz-inspired soul, followed in February. Although it received unfavorable reviews, the record peaked at number two in the U.K. That spring, "Waiting" became the group's first single not to crack the British Top 40, signalling that their popularity was rapidly declining. In July of 1988, the Style Council released their last album, Confessions of a Pop Group, which featured Weller's most self-important and pompous music -- the second side featured a ten-minute orchestral suite called "The Gardener of Eden." The record charted fairly well, reaching number 15 in the U.K., but it received terrible reviews. In March of 1989, the Style Council released a compilation, The Singular Adventures of the Style Council, which reached number three on the charts. Later that year, Weller delivered a new Style Council album, which reflected his infatuation with house and club music, to the band's record label Polydor. Polydor rejected the album and dropped both the Style Council and Weller from the label.

Paul Weller and Mick Talbot officially broke up the Style Council in 1990. In 1991, Weller launched a solo career which would return him to popular and critical favor in the mid-'90s, while Talbot continued to play, both with Weller and as a solo musician. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Comments

ksutton2004
TSC, to me, was another wonderful byproduct of the Punk shotgun; ammo spread everywhere and in every genre. I ate this band for breakfast, L & D, while still slam dancing to DK's, The Clash then chilling to Big Audio Dynamite. My HS and college summer soundtracks will live forever. I was able to shake Mick Jones' hand once before a BAD concert---wi s h I could do the same to Paul and thank him.
mb4mail
I had Style Council records (!) then tapes which I wore out. I am so glad to be able to listen to SC again. They have been one of my favorites since my freshman year in college. I never knew Weller was the lead singer for the Jam. I love Pandora.
info56578
I jumped on the Weller wagon in '85 and he's soundtracked my life ever since -- oddly I didn't rock The Jam until I was a long faithful SC and solo fan of Paul, but Jam has become my all time favorite.

Funny Style Council story -- back in the '80's while waitressing in college, I befriended the chef who was also a big fan. He lent me his cherished cassette copy of an album not available here in the US, and I listened non-stop for two weeks. I listened, alone in the family summer cottage singin
it's cool
What an odd biography. It's written as if Erlewine has an ax to grind with Paul Weller. Thanks for the information, but I don't see the point of informing us that the artist is self-importa n t , arrogant, pompous or pretentious.
To Wendy: Lance is right. "With Everything to Lose" came out in the album, Internationa l i s t (US market). They changed the lyrics to fit the soundtrack of the movie Absolute Beginners. Although Paul already had written a song with the title Absolute Beginners, David Bowie got the upper hand in getting his song with the same title in the film. Other songs in the same vein are "Move on Up", "Town Called Malice", "Speak Like a Child", "Luck", "Wanted", and "Lodgers..." .
sjg335
Um, can this be a more dickish biography? We're all grown up now and it's okay to say that punk wasn't the be-all and end-all. And look how it's shaken out over the years - Weller is the one still creating new music of all kinds and playing it in concert. Many of the other "punks" are nothing but nostalgia acts now. All hail the Modfather, and ALL his great music!
elslide
Wendy,I'm not sure but believe "everything to lose" came first, and "ever had it blue" was done for the soundtrack to "Absolute Beginners". I always just figured they didn't have time to write a new song so just wrote new lyrics for something they already had, and submitted it for the soundtrack.. . F u n film BTW if you haven't seen it.
therodeokitt y
does anybody know the story of this song "everything to lose" - sung to "ever had it blue music - which one came first? it's kind of a weird hearing it when you know "have you ever had it blue"
Pandora only uses one record which is a collection. Why? Spring for some others already.
Another great but unappreciate d group here in the States. Please give the Style Council a try, I think that you will be pleasantly surprised. Very soulful music with good melodies. The more I hear the more I like.
I thought the council cool but I'm glad they ended so we could all enjoy Mr. Weller's solo offorts
Paul is America's biggest muscial loss. What a shame more American's have not heard him. I have apprecieated his incredible talent here in the States for over 25 years! One of the greatest show you will ever see, an amazing catalouge of hits! Can't wait for his new solo coming out in a few monts!
I adore Paul Weller - he's soulful, introspectiv e , a great lyricist, aware, and sensual. He's become one of my favorite singer/guita r i s t / s o n g w r i t e r s ever! Too bad he's not more fully appreciated on our side of the Pond. My fellow Americans don't know what they're missing! His live shows are awesome too. 22 Dreams is a beautiful, brave, vast pallete of sound - go check it out! His music just keeps getting better. He's also an inspiration to me as a musician/poe t .
lmariemosley
Paul weller is one of British R&b's most ambitious act's ,however since he and the style council play in a Black (american r&b vein I have often wondered why he is often only mentioned with other artist's who are white and completely souless.Paul really give's up the funk on the record a long hot summer truly an R&B classic that your typical white male could never come up with.
Go back and listen to Confessions of a Pop Group. It was 10 years ahead of its time. A fine, underrated album.
omodesign
pretentious, self important, conflicted, sometimes hypocritical , sometimes down right goofy (white boy rap on 'a gospel' anyone?)... and I still love it.
what can I say?
That is deep.
A Stone's Throw Away changed the way I looked at world politics and how a miniature version of it was always present everywhere I went. I was in high school at the time and I saw it at every turn.
Turtle necks are just to risky for metros in our day and age

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