As quickly as Paul Weller ended his meteoric and storied career with The Jam, at the end of 1982, he quickly unveiled his next phase: The Style Council. This project, which began as a nucleus of Paul Weller and Mick Talbot on keyboards, was a much broader musical entity than The Jam. The Style Council’s sound would range from jazz to synth-pop to Northern Soul to rap and funk and almost everything in between.
Often misunderstood and criticized for what they presented (rather than the focus being on the music), The Style Council lasted 7 years and left behind a rich body of work that is now being re-discovered, in part by a new documentary and counterpart compilation, “Long Hot Summers: The Story Of The Style Council”.
Paul Weller and Mick Talbot, along with singer Dee C. Lee and drummer Steve White (who joined and made up the core of the band from mid-1983 to the end of their run) tell the story of the exciting highs of creating music that hadn’t been explored by a “well-known” pop entity and trying to open the musical and social vistas of their audience. Friends and contemporaries of the band, such as Boy George and Billy Bragg, offer thoughts and insights, among others (such as actor and longtime Weller-fan Martin Freeman), and it’s a wonderfully straightforward story, timeline and memory.
There are no moments of self-pity or tragedy here; just the perspectives of everyone involved and some warmly nostalgic remembrances. The ending is a wonderful surprise – so I won’t give it away.
Now Showtime in the U.S. has chosen to broadcast this documentary (as they did with 2015’s “About The Young Idea: The Jam”, which tells me someone at the network is a fan of Paul’s!); it’s available as part of their regularly scheduled programs, but also on their Showtime On Demand service as well.
Not to be missed. If you didn’t know about The Style Council, you’ll want to. Kudos to filmmakers Mark Baxter and Lee Cogswell for a job truly well done. This made me bring out my Style Council 45’s and enjoy once again – and remember what a great time it was.
“Long Hot Summers: The Story Of The Style Council” is currently airing on Showtime (and Showtime On Demand)