At some point over the last couple years I picked up a 12” single by The Style Council. I was thinking it was another band when I picked it up and when it wasn’t what I thought it was I was bummed. It was pretty scratched up too, and although there was something familiar about it that I couldn’t place, I decided ultimately not to keep it.
Perhaps I can be forgiven for not realizing what I had, the sleeve of the 12″ was plain.
I was listening to a mix on Spotify of The Jam and there was some solo stuff mixed in and some by Style Council! I finally made the connection. I went to the Wiki. I discovered why the vocals sounded familiar! It’s Paul Weller! The lead singer of the Jam was the lead singer of The Style Council! I would have NEVER guessed that Paul Weller, whom I knew as the punkish guitarist from The Jam
would be making smooth funky pop music in a whole other style.
I fell like Paul Weller of The Jam wouldn’t be caught dead in a dapper sweater like the one he is wearing below. Who knew.
I of course felt stupid for letting the 12” go, but I had no idea.
I delved into the Style Council catalog on Spotify.
I’ll admit I keep wanting him to rock out, and there are some big time up-tempo numbers, but nothing Jam-ish. I listened to a few and then left with mixed feelings.
Then a few weeks later, I listened again.
Then in a pre-pandemic visit to Strictly Discs I saw a familiar face in the 45 section. I rarely buy 45’s, but since I was kicking myself for getting rid of the 12″, and with such a nice picture sleeve, I decided to pick it up.
“The Style Council – You’re The Best Thing b/w The Big Boss Groove”
I kept checking Strictly Discs for The Style Council albums, but there were only ever 12” singles in the bins and sensing I really wanted to own some I bought the digital “Style Council Greatest Hits” on my phone and even included it in an exchange with Otis. I was kind of hooked.
There is a great range of moods and styles mixed into this album. If anything however, it left me wanting more.
So… recently in a random E-bay troll I came across someone selling 2 Style Council albums, with 2 other non-related albums for a price lower than buying just the 2 Style Council albums separately. I jumped.
“Style Council – Home & Abroad”
Cover is pretty weak, and the back only has a track listing.
Tragic waste of space that they could have filled with pictures of the band… or anything really. Ah well, the album is live and fantastic. “Internationalists” is becoming a favorite.
The other album was “Style Council – My Ever Changing Moods”
I’ll be honest, I didn’t know anything about “My Ever Changing Moods”. I figured it was a compilation of sorts, but at the price I thought it would be worth it. Turns out, it’s actually the US release of the album “Cafe Bleu” there first full album release! So it was a great score and entirely by accident.
Paul Weller (and keyboardist Mick Talbot) take a whole different path and if like me you long to hear more of The Jam, you will only find hints of it here. There were hints in The Jam of Paul starting to change directions musically. I remember listening to the 12″ single of “The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)” and trying to reconcile songs from The Jam album “In The City” and it’s punky loud guitars with the orchestration of Bitterest Pill. Little did I know it was the future sound of Paul Weller.
It would almost be better if you weren’t familiar with The Jam so you could embrace the sound of The Style Council without having to shake off the connection.
As I am want to do now, I have also harvested YouTube for any full shows by Style Council. I love to see how a band performs and how songs change and evolve. There are several full shows, but if you are looking for a solid performance with a lot hits, you can’t go wrong with this show “Live At Full House Rock Show”
“Money Go Round” at about 26:50 is stuck in my head forever.
I love when a band breaks into your consciousness and you get psyched about listening to everything they have.
It may have been almost 35 years ago, but The Style Council just snuck up on me!
Nice post, I have been a fan of Paul Weller since The Jam, then Style Council, and now his solo stuff, if you have not heard his solo stuff maybe try Stanley Road, more rocker than The Style Council. Toward the end of The Jam, you could see he was moving towards a more soul type sound. Good Read.
I’ll check out “Stanley Road”. Thanks for the tip. He certainly has quite a catalog in later years. Just say him doing a duet with Amy Winehouse on YouTube. Good stuff.