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  • Photograph of The Style Council sat in a hotel - shot by music photographer Luciano Viti in Rome in 1984

The Style Council

The Style Council were a British band, formed in 1982, that included Paul Weller and Mick Talbot. Weller had previously been the lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist of the mod revival rock band the Jam. However, he had become increasingly interested in soul music, literature, socialist politics, and European fashion, interests that were incongruent with the Jam’s fanbase. In 1982, Weller joined forces with Talbot, a keyboard player, who had played with The Merton Parkas, Dexy’s Midnight Runners and The Bureau. Weller described Talbot as somebody who shared the same “hatred of the rock myth and the rock culture.” (Record, 1983) Therefore, together, they formed The Style Council, with Weller’s ambition to explore different musical styles coming into fruition. The group’s members grew to include singer Dee C. Lee and drummer Steve White.

The Style Council’s first EP, titled “Introducing The Style Council”, featured songs such as the bass driven “Long Hot Summer”, that became emblematic of their musical output. Weller’s lyricism also began to contain socialist political leanings, with criticisms of racism, sexism, Margaret Thatcher, and unemployment accompanying his new sound. His exposure of social injustices came from being influenced by American soul music, and in particular the artist Curtis Mayfield, who had used the genre as a vehicle for expression against cultural injustices in the US.

The band's most successful album was titled “Cafe Bléu” and was released in 1984. It peaked at number 5 on the UK charts and contained a blend of jazz, pop, soul, and hip hop. Experimenting continually, The Style Council proudly ventured outside their comfort zone. Commenting on the overt change in musical direction when starting The Style Council in comparison to The Jam, Weller stated, ‘we wanted to shock, if only because everyone had such a strict image of what I was about. I wanted to smash that down.’ (The SPIN interview: Paul Weller, 2008). The Style Council disbanded in 1989, with Paul Weller deciding to pursue a solo career, while Talbot would also continue to play, both as a solo musician, and with Weller.

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