A completist’s guide to the singles, and where to find them on CD…
More than 30 years after The Cappuccino Kid was last spotted loitering around Parisienne cafes, the music of The Style Council is finally getting a long-deserved reappraisal. Better late than never, I suppose…
Between 1983 and 1989, the band (Paul Weller, Mick Talbot and Steve White, augmented first by Tracie Young and then Dee C. Lee) released 18 singles and 4 studio albums. Weller’s passion for the single as a standalone entity, already established and espoused during his days with The Jam, saw most of The Style Council‘s early 45s omitted from their albums or else featured in alternative versions. Even towards the end, there were orphan singles or heavily edited/remixed tracks lifted from the LPs.
No problemo, you’d assume, surely a compilation would kindly collect them in one place, so that the full TSC singular experience could be enjoyed?
Er, well. There isn’t one, really. Obviously there are many Style Council compilations, almost a dozen official ones in fact, but none come close to doing the business. The latest, Long Hot Summers: The Story Of The Style Council, doesn’t attempt to be a Singles anthology with its wide-ranging selection of album cuts, alternate versions and curios scattered amongst some of the hits.
We need some clarity. A handy guide to The Style Council on 45, and where to find them….
SPEAK LIKE A CHILD (March 7th, 1983. Non-album single)
Less than three months on from The Jam’s split, Weller came bursting back with this giddy, infectious slice of hammond-driven pop. Tracie “House That Jack Built” Young reprises her role as guest female vocalist on the final Jam singles.
Fanbase loyalty sent it straight in at #6, and the Council were up and running in Style. The track was not included on any studio album, but is the most widely compiled TSC 45 of them all, missing on only one of the major compilations.
The Singular Adventures Of The Style Council (Vol.1), Greatest Hits, The Sound Of The Style Council, Long Hot Summers…The Story Of The Style Council, Hit Parade (4CD edition), Collection, Classic Style Council, Sweet Loving Ways.
MONEY-GO-ROUND (PART 1) (May 16th, 1983. Non-album single)
With barely a pause for breath, TSC ploughed on with a very different follow-up single; an intense funk workout with call and response vocal chants and, it has to be said, not much in the way of tuneage.
Heavily influenced by the new breed of 80s club sounds (Pigbag, Haircut 100, early Spandau Ballet), Money-Go-Round is Weller at his most relentless and politically fired-up. Musically, it continues where Precious – the AA-side of 1982’s Jam classic A Town Called Malice, effectively left off. Dee C. Lee appears for the first time.
It struggled in comparison to Speak Like A Child, and became Weller’s first single to miss the Top 10 since 1979 when it peaked agonisingly at #11. Once again, it has never featured on any studio album, and for a time was very hard to find on CD in its 7″ version (i.e. Part One only).
The Sound Of The Style Council, Long Hot Summers…The Story Of The Style Council, Sweet Loving Ways.
LONG HOT SUMMER (August 1st, 1983. Non-album single/EP).
Where the first two TSC efforts had still carried over some of the latterday Jam DNA, the next release introduced key elements of The Style Council that were all their own.
The “European” iconography (mostly Paris), smart-casual fashion choices with their nod to Italy, a smoother sound…garcons et filles, welcome to Le Cafe Bleu. (Well, soon, just a couple more standalone releases to go).
Ostensibly an EP with 4 songs, A Paris‘ lead track was Long Hot Summer, an instant classic with its loping melody, syncopated 808 drum pattern and “shoo be doo be, doo be do bop” refrain. Only The Paris Match from the EP ever made it onto a Style Council album, albeit in a revised, re-recorded version with Tracey Thorn on vocal duties.
Peaking at #3, Long Hot Summer proved to be the band’s biggest UK hit.
Greatest Hits, The Sound Of The Style Council, Hit Parade (4CD edition), Collection, The Collection, Sweet Loving Ways.
A SOLID BOND IN YOUR HEART (November 7th, 1983. Non-album single).
If the final 45 of TSC’s first year of activity sounded like a slightly backwards step after the continental summer breeze of A Paris, then you would be right. The song was earmarked as a potential farewell single for The Jam in late 1982 (and that Weller demo turned up on Extras in 1993).
A thunderous slab of Northern Soul, it didn’t quite fit in with the pre-Christmas onslaught of 1983, all Flying Pickets, Slade, 2000 Miles and multiple Paul McCartneys in the WW1 trenches for Pipes Of Peace. As such, a #11 peak (so close again!) wasn’t too surprising.
The Singular Adventures Of The Style Council (Vol.1), Greatest Hits, Long Hot Summers…The Story Of The Style Council, Hit Parade (4CD edition), The Collection, Sweet Loving Ways.