Saturday, June 2, 2012

From The Jam to The Style Council to solo - Paul Weller

Paul Weller (born 25 May 1958) is an English singer-songwriter. Starting with the band The Jam (1972–1982), Weller then went on to branch out musically to a more soulful style with The Style Council (1983–1989). In 1991 he established himself as a successful solo artist, and continues to remain a respected singer, lyricist and guitarist.

Despite widespread critical recognition, Weller has remained a national rather than an international star, and much of his songwriting is rooted in English culture. He is also the principal figure of the 1970s and 80s mod revival and is often referred to as the Modfather.

Weller's career has been a mystery to me, much in the same way as artists who share his world-wide popularity but are only recognized widely in Britain. How can someone so fantastically talented, with such a brilliant songwriting tool, so prolific for so many decades on end, be an obscurity outside his host nation? This will never cease to amaze me. I've enjoyed The Jam during their heyday (even saw them in a small disco/bar in my hometown of 42,000 people, fer crissakes! The man gets around, to make it to my burg!), come back to enjoy The Style Council despite passing the first time around (I tend to do this; when enough bullshit music propels a once-great band to be rediscovered by me I finally sit up and take notice.), and am mad wild for the solo Weller. There's no question that he is a truly amazing talent in every aspect of singing, songwriting, and playing live for so long, and in so many forms. His studio output is prodigious in itself, he can write and record in any given style as if it were his destiny to continually outperform himself!

The Modfather is an icon in his native Great Britain, and although he was offered the CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 2006, he rejected the award.

My favorite Weller, outside of The Jam, would be his solo acoustic shows, especially as guest to the likes of Noel Gallagher, and the concert video of "The Dreams We Had As Children", recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall in March of 2007, is an amazing testament to his live greatness. By now you should have it figured it out that Weller is tops on my list of solo artists, and rightly so. I can totally relate to him because he's my age! All I have to do is observe his artistry in action to realize that I still have time left on my own musical clock!

I give the brilliant, amazing, totally brilliant Paul Weller a resounding 437 stars out of a possible five stars for his uncanny ability to resurrect his musical career decade after decade. He makes music a pleasure to behold every time he approaches the mic, enters a studio, or graces a magazine cover. No wonder he's the poster child for Liam Gallagher's Pretty Green range of fashion ready wear. The title refers to a Jam song that suitably (!) befits the bespoke range of clothing, footwear and outerwear. My favorite Noel Gallagher quote (he has plenty, mind you!) is concerning Weller: "One day I have pictures of the bloke on my wall, next day I can't get rid of him!" The Modfather never ceases to amaze me with his totally timeless, magnificent moodiness, in the classic British tradition. Long live Weller! Long live all 50-something rock icons for that matter!

Tomorrow, it's another gem of a review from the keyboard of mind's eye music. So, till then, keep your tubes hot and your antenna up! See you then.

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