Way long ago in the 1980s, the Modfather Paul Weller got a brilliant idea about the formation of a new band after the demise of his seminal band The Jam. This unique concoction would combine a wide range of musical genres; Pop, Jazz, Soul, R&B, House and Folk all projected through Weller’s proprietary music sense and would result in one of the UK’s most defining bands of the ’80s. Weller would accomplish this task along with keyboardist Mike Talbot, drummer Steve White and singer Dee C. Lee. Their impact on the music world of its day was all done without donning dayglo clothes or sporting cringe-worthy haircuts.
The Style Council’s musical journey would see them release six well-received albums and a torrent of popular singles. On October 30th of this year, Weller et. al released Long Hot Summers/ The Story of The Style Council’s Greatest Hits. A well-curated overview of the band’s career and highlights every song one should be familiar with to appreciate this influential band. This walk down memory lane anthology is as the band has always been stellar and tasteful.
Long Hot Summers… displays all that made The Style Council noteworthy. The handy anthology allows those too young to experience the band in the ’80s to immerse themselves in the too short period of the band’s existence. Additionally, avid fans who long ago wore out their cassettes and misplaced their LP’s now have a one-stop collection offering an almost A-Z discography of the band.
The Anthology contains two prior unreleased songs, including the five-minute opus, “Dropping Bombs on the White House”, containing a political commentary that is as apt today as it was thirty years ago. Also included and filling out the background history of the band are rare photos, an introduction by Paul Weller, a new essay by Lois Wilson, and sleeve notes from uber-fan actor Martin Freeman. The collection offers the huge hits; “Speak Like a Child, You’re the Best Thing, My Ever Changing Moods, Walls Come Tumbling Down, Shout to the Top and the eponymous title track, several with different approaches.
Even better the new release offers deep tracks like “Boy Who Cried Wolf, Ever Had it Blue and Man of Such Great Promise” and so many more tracks that evidence the brilliance of the band. Each of the songs is just as emotionally fulfilling now as they were when they were originally released. Personally, I could go on and on about the excellence of each track on this comprehensive release but to save time let me just suggest simply giving the anthology a listen. Be forewarned you will become addicted, as my 18-year-old can attest to upon his experiencing the Style Council as he is now utterly hooked on their creations. Simply put the band was that good.
For those unfamiliar with the Style Council here is an unmatched opportunity to catch up with one of the most original musical creations of the ’80s. The works of the band are worthy of a reexamination as they captured a time and place in the history of British Society and displayed a universal desire for freedom and equality. The anthology is engaging and intelligent. Whatever your political bend the songs of Long Hot Summers.. continue to hold a mirror up to society revealing the ugly reality of Margaret Thatcher’s England, of modern history and today’s unattractive predicament we are captured within. The prophetic like vision of Paul Weller along with the rest of the Style Council is still breathtakingly prescient. Long Hot Summers / The Story of the Style Council Greatest Hits Anthology is a beautifully rendered offering that allows fans and the curious to investigate the wonder that was The Style Council.