The Style Council on 45 (Pt. 4)

A completist’s guide to the singles, and where to find them on CD…


1987 had brought the worst-performing studio album of TSC’s career, and their lowest-charting single. Could they bounce back, in the age of House, Rap, plastic pop and S/A/W?

LIFE AT A TOP PEOPLE’S HEALTH FARM (May 16th, 1988. Lead single from forthcoming LP).


Talk about making things hard for yourselves. With an ambitious new album to launch, The Style Council chose a wordy, noisy, chorus-free funk workout as the first single. Life At A Top People’s Health Farm was a Money-Go-Round for 1988, only less commercial. 

The lyrics are actually quite magnificent, and Weller’s muffled vocal, as if relayed down a telephone line, adds to the detachment of the protagonist’s cynical observations on Thatcherite Britain; red-top tabloids, the boom in BT shares being sold to the public, police violence, the fad for celebrity detox clinics….

Any evening, any day, I’m singing to myself, I’ll pack up all my clothes and dough and piss off somewhere else“. It’s funny yet jaundiced, and marked the end of Weller’s directly political songwriting. The album, Confessions Of A Pop Group, divided itself into two distinct halves; Side 1 featured lush orchestration, unconventional arrangements, instrumental song suites and two of his best-ever compositions (It’s A Very Deep Sea and Changing Of The Guard) while Side 2 was a more routine assortment of sonically familiar material (of which Life At A Top People’s Health Farm wasn’t even the weakest track).

Available on:

The Singular Adventures Of The Style Council (Vol. 1), Greatest Hits, Hit Parade (4CD edition), Classic Style Council.


HOW SHE THREW IT ALL AWAY (July 11th, 1988. 2nd and final single from Confessions Of A Pop Group).


Every song on Confessions… had a “tabloid headline” title (which was about as far as any concept for the LP amounted to), and How She Threw It All Away was one of the breezier moments; harking back again to former glories, only this time the exotic acoustic pop of TSC circa 1984/85. Even the packaging of the single as an EP, replete with the sub-heading A Summer Quartet, the inclusion of Long Hot Summer, and the “New York / Gstaad / Tokyo / Marble Arch” tagline all felt like knowing nods to a more glorious past.

Sadly, by the time it was issued as a single, the album had tanked in ways that even The Cost Of Loving‘s dire performance could have barely predicted. Debuting at a lowly #15, and gone completely a fortnight later, Weller’s fanbase had finally abandoned him.

The Style Council’s wilful pursuit of whatever-it-was that fuelled their muse had caught up with them, commercially at least. Confessions… was actually a rather fine album, and in recent years has been afforded some posthumous acclaim. Had a track such as How She Threw It All Away been released 3 or 4 years earlier, it would have comfortably made the Top 10. In 1988, however, it peaked at #41. The second TSC single out of the last three to miss the Top 40.

Available on:

The Singular Adventures Of The Style Council (Vol. 1), Greatest Hits, Long Hot Summers…The Story Of The Style Council, Classic Style Council.


PROMISED LAND (February 6th, 1989. New recording for a Greatest Hits collection).


Fortunately, TSC were in the position where enough singles were in the bag to fill a Greatest Hits retrospective. Cue The Singular Adventures Of The Style Council (Vol. 1),  which rounded up everything from 1983 to the (then) present day, although the “Volume 1” part always seemed a bit optimistic!

By early 1989, House music (in all its forms) had begun to make serious inroads on the UK music scene, and several white British pop acts were already under its spell. The Blow Monkeys were branching out with Kym Mazelle on the Top 10 smash Wait, the Pet Shop Boys had covered Sterling Void’s It’s Alright on their Introspective set (and would later turn it into a Top 5 single), while ABC would soon be buying into the sound and the ethos with One Better World.

So, covering Joe Smooth’s 1987 Deep House classic Promised Land was in keeping with the times, as well as being a logical progression for any band who were lovers of Black music in the 80s (The Cost Of Loving, in particular, was in thrall to the smooth soul stylings of the mid-80s…Anita Baker, Luther Vandross, etc). The single did alright, too, making #27 and setting The Singular Adventures… collection up for a respectable Top 3 entry.

Available on:

The Singular Adventures Of The Style Council (Vol. 1), Greatest Hits, Long Hot Summers…The Story Of The Style Council, Hit Parade (4CD edition), Sweet Loving Ways.


LONG HOT SUMMER ’89 (May 15th, 1989. Remix of the 1983 track from A Paris EP).


Well, what’s a Greatest Hits campaign without at least one unnecessary, modern remix of an old single? Presumably to keep The Singular Adventures… in the public eye for as long as possible, Long Hot Summer was issued in a new, ’89-stylee, configuration.

In fact, the original 7″ mix wasn’t actually on The Singular Adventures…, replaced by an extended version of this ’89 makeover (one of several instances on the set of the proper single version being AWOL). Ultimately, all this faff counted for little, as LHS89 limped to #48.

The most notable aspect of LHS89‘s release was the inclusion of Everybody’s On The Run, the first fruits of what was intended as the band’s next album, Modernism: A New Decade. It featured lead vocals from someone outside of the core Weller/Talbot/Lee axis, something which hadn’t happened since the days of Cafe Bleu and its assortment of guest singers and rappers. In spirit, and execution, it was very much in the TSC traditions of a collective celebrating a form of Black music with a social and political conscience, yet the rock-centric music press and a disenchanted, dwindling fanbase found it one step too far.

As did Polydor Records, Weller’s label since 1977. They refused to release Modernism…, and after six-and-half years of ever-changing moods and fluctuating fortunes (not to mention a stack of fantastic music), The Style Council were no more.

Long Hot Summer 89 is only available on CD in its 7″ form on the 3-track CD single.



  1. I have really enjoyed these blogposts about The Style Council. I didn’t know that there were so many compilation / greatest hits albums. I also didn’t know that there were so many versions of their singles.

    The Style Council never did very well in the Dutch Charts. Only “Shout To The Top” (24), “My Ever Changing Moods” (30) and “Have You Ever Had It Blue” (20) reached the Top 40.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Robert – It’s certainly sent me down something of a Style Council rabbit hole….now I’m working on recreating the original 7″/12″ singles, with what I have on CD (which turns out to be more than I realised I had!).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Are The Style Council your favorite band ? it seems you know a lot about them …

    Have any other artists or bands, that you like, where you could do the same thing with ? I really would like to see blogposts like this about Depeche Mode, Talk Talk, Sting ect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh don’t give me ideas! Haha. I am a big fan of Weller in general, beyond TSC, but that era of the 80s is a time when I seem to have absorbed a lot of (useless) trivia and information, and it was also the time when I was most deeply into music and all the things associated with it. The difference with TSC and other bands I love is that – so far – on the blog they haven’t been featured as much because none of their singles made #1 on my charts (despite ALL of them making the top 10). So I haven’t had the opportunity to feature/discuss them as much, beyond a brief piece on Our Favourite Shop for my Top 100 albums list.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A lot more….16 up until 1998, when we got Modern Classics Vol. 1, then enough over the next 15-20 years to fill a Vol.2!

    I’ll definitely keep in mind the idea for doing some similar overviews of great singles’ catalogues. A lot of those bands will get featured here via the #1 write-ups, but not all of them.

    Liked by 1 person

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