Under Appreciated Band of the Week
The Style Council
(part 1 1983-1984)
Borne out of the demise of his first band the Jam, Paul Weller’s Style Council was a breath of fresh air when it debuted in 1983. Originally consisting of Paul Weller and Mick Talbot, the Style Council was a hip jazz rock creation that consisted of piano, organ, guitar, drums and an array of Blue Note sounding horns. All of a sudden there was a sense of hipness in british pop that been absent since the early 1960’s. Weller told us to look toward Europe, smoke cigarettes and listen to Kenny Burrell records. His politics were unabashadly liberal and his musicianship, production and presentation was fist class.
Speak Like a Child burst from
UK, European and Shortwave radios in early 1983 with loud horns, Jimmy Smith style keyboards and a funkiness much needed in the electro-pop Top 20.
The Style Council were a complete package right from their start, The Paris EP (known as Introducing the Style Council in the US) one of their first records established their image as suave expats enjoying the finer things in life. In an era of Reagan and Thatcher, a very young Madonna and the corporate video rock of MTV, Weller’s new vision was nothing short of revolutionary. it was cool to be bright, young and intellectual. With radical liner notes written by the Cappucino Kid, Weller was providing his generation with a virtual briefcase full of revolutionary thought to kick-start the counter-culture revolution. Think hippies with short hair, european
cigarettes and espresso.
Weller realized early that the full appreciation of the Style Council would not happen without breaking in to the US market. Shrewdly he hooked up a deal with Geffen Records, an “independent” record company, sympathetic to radical and creative thought, or so he hoped. In the UK and Europe the Style Council was issued on Polydor Records resulting in vastly different looking albums and 45’s.
The debut LP by the Style Council in the UK was Cafe Bleu, a #1 hit that continued to portray the band as Euro-beatniks contented to change the world through a haze of cigarette smoke and Blue Note jazz. The US version was a somewhat different collection of songs that took its title from their current hit ‘My Ever Changing Moods’. In he US the ‘Council debut peaked at a not so great #56, the single at #29..the revolution was not quite catching on. (to be continued)