The Style Council

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The Style Council
Mick Talbot and Paul Weller, 1988
Mick Talbot and Paul Weller, 1988
Background information
OriginWoking, England, United Kingdom
Years active1983–1989
Associated actsThe Jam
Dexys Midnight Runners
Past membersPaul Weller
Mick Talbot
Dee C. Lee
Steve White

The Style Council were an English band formed in late 1982 by Paul Weller, the former singer, songwriter and guitarist with the punk rock/new wave/mod revival band the Jam, and keyboardist Mick Talbot, previously a member of Dexys Midnight Runners, the Bureau and the Merton Parkas.[5] The band enabled Weller to take his music in a more soulful direction.[6]

The permanent line-up grew to include drummer Steve White and Weller's then girlfriend, vocalist Dee C. Lee.[7] Other artists such as Tracie Young, Tracey Thorn (Everything but the Girl), and drummer/percussionist Steve Sidelnyk[8][9] (who has played for Madonna, Seal, Richard Ashcroft[10]) also performed and collaborated with the group. As with Weller's previous band, most of the London-based group's hits were in their homeland, where they scored seven top 10 hits.[7] The band also had hit singles and albums in Australia and New Zealand during the 1980s.[11]


The band was founded in late 1982 by Paul Weller and initially consisted only of himself and Mick Talbot, who Weller said he chose because "he shares my hatred of the rock myth and the rock culture".[12] The band showed a diversity of musical styles. Singles "Speak Like a Child" (with its loud soul-influenced style), the extended funk of "Money-Go-Round", and the synth-ballad "Long Hot Summer" all featured Talbot on keyboards and organ. Near the end of 1983, these songs were compiled on Introducing The Style Council, a mini-album initially released in Japan, the Netherlands, Canada, and the US only. The Dutch version was heavily imported to the United Kingdom.

In February 1984 the single "My Ever Changing Moods" became their third Top 10-hit on the UK Singles Chart. The debut album Café Bleu released a month later entered the UK Albums Chart at number 2. A mixture of many styles including jazz, soul, pop and funk and not including any of the previous singles (except a completely different version of "My Ever Changing Moods") it confused some fans and divided the critics.[13] Still, the album spent 36 weeks on the chart and was followed by two further Top 10-singles, "You're the Best Thing" in May and "Shout to the Top" in October.[14]

In 1984, the band undertook a brief tour of the United States, during which they played two gigs at the Savoy in New York at the beginning of May.[15][16] This led to modest chart success with the single "My Ever Changing Moods",[a] which reached No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 the following month. The song remains Weller's greatest success in the US, including his period with the Jam and also as a solo artist.

In the UK, the group reached the height of its popularity with the release of Our Favourite Shop, which entered the UK album chart at number 1 immediately following its release in June 1985 (only to be supplanted by Bryan Ferry's Boys and Girls a week later).[18][19] It notched up a total of 13 weeks in the top 40 (including a re-entry in October), of which 3 weeks were spent in the top 10.[20] In 2015, it was included in a list of 50 albums released in 1985 which, according to the NME, "still sound great today".[21] Together with "You're the Best Thing" (from Café Bleu) and "The Big Boss Groove", two songs from the album – "Internationalists" and "Walls Come Tumbling Down" – were played by the band at the UK Live Aid concert,[22] where they appeared second in the running order at Wembley Stadium between Status Quo and the Boomtown Rats.[23] The international exposure, however, did little to boost the group's career, and future commercial success was largely confined to their home country.[24]

In 1989, members of The Style Council went under the name of 'King Truman' to release a single on Acid Jazz titled "Like a Gun". This was unknown to Polydor, and the single was pulled from the shops three days prior to release. Acid Jazz founder Eddie Piller said "The pair offered to make a single for my new label, which I'd just started with Radio 1 DJ Gilles Peterson as a side project. Talbot and Weller took pseudonyms Truman King and Elliott Arnold."[25]

The Style Council broke up in 1989. About the breakup, Paul Weller said (in 1990):

It's something we should have done two or three years ago. We created some great music in our time, the effects of which won't be appreciated for some time.[26]

The cover version of "Promised Land" (originally by Joe Smooth) was the only release which surfaced from the Modernism sessions at the time; however, the entire album was released in 1998, both independently and in a 5-CD box set, The Complete Adventures of The Style Council. After the split, Weller embarked on a successful solo career (which featured Steve White on drums, who had left the Style Council by the time Confessions of a Pop Group was released, having only played on a few[vague] of its tracks). Talbot and White released two albums as Talbot/White—United States of Mind (1995) and Off the Beaten Track (1996). Talbot and White then formed the Players with Damon Minchella and Aziz Ibrahim. White and Minchella went on to form Trio Valore whilst Talbot went touring with Candi Staton in 2009.

All of the Style Council's UK releases (including singles, 12" maxis, albums, compact discs and re-issues thereof) featured the work of graphic designer Simon Halfon, who often collaborated with Weller to hone his ideas into a graphic form. Weller and Halfon began working together at the end of the Jam's career, and continue to work together on Weller's solo material.

Weller, Talbot, Lee and White met for a recording session of "It's a Very Deep Sea" in August 2019. The session was featured in the 2020 Sky Arts documentary Long Hot Summers: The Story of the Style Council, and a career-spanning audio compilation of the same name was released.


In December 1984, Weller put together an ensemble called The Council Collective to make a charity record, "Soul Deep", initially to raise money for striking miners during a long-running industrial dispute, and subsequently also for the family of David Wilkie. The track featured the Style Council and a number of other performers, notably Jimmy Ruffin[27] and Junior Giscombe. In spite of, or perhaps due to, the song's political content, it received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and was performed by the group on Top of the Pops,[28] as well as (live) on Channel 4's The Tube.[29]

In their lyrics, the Style Council took a more overtly political approach than the Jam, with tracks such as "Walls Come Tumbling Down!", "The Lodgers" and "Come to Milton Keynes" being deliberate attacks on 'middle England' and the Thatcherite policies of the UK government during the 1980s. In 1985, Weller was persuaded by Billy Bragg to let the Style Council play a leading role in Red Wedge, a youth-orientated political campaign associated with the British Labour Party. Although his views at the time have since been described as those of a "traditional British socialist", in 2014 Weller admitted the experience had left him feeling "exploited" by politicians, noting further that: "Before the Wedge, the Style Council had done a lot independently, raised a lot of money in benefits. But after the Wedge we were so disillusioned it all stopped. We were totally cynical about all of it."[30] In a previous interview, whilst asserting that there was still "a place for outspokenness" in popular music, Weller had pointed out he was "first and foremost" a musician, and stated: "In the '80s, in the Style Council, we were involved with a lot of political things going on at that time. I think after a while that overshadowed the music a bit."[31]




Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
1984 Café Bleu

(US title: My Ever Changing Moods)

2 27 16 6 41 56
1985 Our Favourite Shop

(US title: Internationalists)

1 5 23 11 6 30 123
1987 The Cost of Loving 2 24 23 35 46 122
1988 Confessions of a Pop Group 15 60 174
1998 Modernism: A New Decade

(recorded 1989)


Year Title Peak chart positions
1983 Introducing The Style Council 29 6 172


Year Title Peak chart positions
1986 Home and Abroad 8 59
1998 The Style Council in Concert - -


Many compilations have been released although not all were released with the band's consent. Many of them feature orange text atop a white background with a picture of the band, typically one from 1987 showing all four members (like the one on the US cover of The Cost of Loving.)

  • The Singular Adventures of The Style Council – Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (1989) No. 3 UK
  • Headstart for Happiness
  • Here's Some That Got Away (1993) No. 39 UK (Rarities)
  • The Style Council Collection (1996) No. 60 UK
  • Extracts From the Complete Adventures of The Style Council (1996)
  • Master Series (1997)
  • The Complete Adventures of The Style Council (5-CD box set) (1998) (Box set of most material recorded by The Style Council)
  • Classic Style Council – The Universal Masters Collection (1999) (Greatest hits)
  • Greatest Hits (2000) No. 28 UK
  • The Collection (2001) (Greatest hits)
  • The Best of The Style Council – Superstar Collection (2001)
  • Cafe Blue – The Style Council Cafe Best (2002)
  • The Best of The Style Council – The Millennium Collection (20th Century Masters) (2003)
  • The Sound of The Style Council (2003)
  • The Ultimate Collection (3 CD) (2004)
  • Gold (2 CD) (2006)
  • Sweet Loving Ways – The Style Council Collection (2 CD) (2007)[7]
  • Shout To the Top - The Collection (2013)
  • Long Hot Summers - The Story Of The Style Council (2020)


Year Title Peak chart positions
1983 "Speak Like a Child" 4 29
"Money Go Round (Part 1)" 11
"Long Hot Summer" / "Paris Match"
(Double A-side) [A]
3 28 41 12
"A Solid Bond in Your Heart" 11
"Le Club Rouge" EP [Australian-only promo 12"]
1984 "My Ever Changing Moods" 5 70 42 32 29
"You're the Best Thing" / "The Big Boss Groove"
(Double A-side) [B]
5 17 97 7 76
"Shout to the Top!" [C] 7 8 6
"Soul Deep" [D] 24 85
"It Just Came to Pieces in My Hands"
1985 "Walls Come Tumbling Down!" 6 19 15
"Come to Milton Keynes" 23
"The Lodgers" 13 47
"Boy Who Cried Wolf" [E] 38 21
"(When You) Call Me" [E] 91
"Internationalists" [Promo-only]
1986 "Have You Ever Had It Blue" 14 33
1987 "It Didn't Matter" 9 48 48
"Waiting" 52
"Wanted" 20 98
"Heavens Above" (U.S.-only single) [E]
"The Cost of Loving" [Japan-only]
"Café Bleu" EP
"The Birds & the Bs" EP
"Mick Talbot Is Agent 88" EP
1988 "Life at a Top People's Health Farm" 28
"How She Threw It All Away" [F] 41
1989 "Promised Land" 27
"Long Hot Summer 89" (remix) 48
  • A ^ Official title of the 7" single release is "À Paris"; it contains the two tracks listed. In the UK, this was a double A-side. Elsewhere, "The Paris Match" did not chart.
  • B ^ Official title of the 7" single release is "Groovin'"; it contains the two tracks listed. In the UK and Australia, this was a double A-side. Elsewhere, "The Big Boss Groove" did not chart.
  • C ^ Appears on the Vision Quest soundtrack in the United States.
  • D ^ Release credited to The Council Collective
  • E ^ "Boy Who Cried Wolf", "(When You) Call Me" and "Heavens Above" were not released as singles in the UK
  • F ^ Official title of the 12" single release is "The 1234 EP".

Videos and DVDs[edit]

  • What We Did on Our Holidays – The Video Singles (1983)
  • Far East & Far Out – Council Meeting in Japan (1984)
  • What We Did the Following Year – The Video Singles (1985)
  • Showbiz – The Style Council, Live! (1986)
  • JerUSAlem (1987)
  • Confessions of a Pop Group (1988)
  • The Video Adventures of The Style Council (1989)
  • Excerpts From The Style Council on Film (2002)
  • The Style Council on Film (2003)
  • Classic Style Council – The Universal Masters DVD Collection (2005)
  • Live at Full House Rock Show (2006)

Other appearances[edit]

During his time with The Style Council, Paul Weller made guest appearances on other recordings, most notably:


  1. ^ The B-side comprised "Mick's Company", an instrumental from Café Bleu featuring Mick Talbot playing a Hammond organ.[17]


  1. ^ a b Dye, David (13 February 2007). "Paul Weller: A Britpop Titan Lives On". NPR. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  2. ^ Sophisti-Pop at AllMusic
  3. ^ Gaudiosi, Jeff (12 June 2020). "Paul Weller Discusses 'On Sunset' and the Post-Pandemic World". PopMatters. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  4. ^ Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "The Style Council | Biography & History "...'80s soul and new wave pop"". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  5. ^ "The Style Council". discogs. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  6. ^ Naughton, Pete (5 December 2015). "Paul Weller, Eventim Apollo: 'the modfather remains a dynamic force'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 537. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. ^ "The Style Council - The Cost of Loving". Discogs. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  9. ^ Manu Guinarte (3 May 2014), THE STYLE COUNCIL LIVE - Far East & Far Out (VHS), retrieved 15 September 2017
  10. ^ "Steve Sidelnyk | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  12. ^ "Paul Weller Returns with Style Council". Record. 2 (8): 1. June 1983.
  13. ^ Steve Malins Paul Weller. The unauthorised biography Virgin Books 1997, p. 127–128
  14. ^ Style Council Official Charts
  15. ^ Palmer, Robert (16 May 1984). "The Pop Life – Style Council's Rhythm-and-Blues". The New York Times. p. C22. Archived from the original on 24 May 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  16. ^ "The Style Council Setlist at The Savoy, New York – 11 May 1984". Archived from the original on 1 April 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  17. ^ "The Style Council – My Ever Changing Moods (US Version)". Discogs. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  18. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100, 02 June 1985 – 08 June 1985". UK Official Charts. Archived from the original on 17 February 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  19. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100, 09 June 1985 – 15 June 1985". UK Official Charts. Archived from the original on 17 February 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  20. ^ "Our Favourite Shop". UK Official Charts. Archived from the original on 10 November 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  21. ^ Barker, Emily (13 February 2015). "50 Albums Released In 1985 That Still Sound Great Today". NME. Archived from the original on 27 October 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  22. ^ "The Style Council Setlist at Wembley Stadium, London – 13 July 1985". Archived from the original on 3 April 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  23. ^ "LIVE AID 1985: How it all happened". BBC. Archived from the original on 1 June 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  24. ^ "Five other Live Aid stories". The Telegraph. 9 February 2011. Archived from the original on 13 February 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  25. ^ Archived 18 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years. London: Hamlyn. p. 468. ISBN 0600576027.
  27. ^ Sweeting, Adam (20 November 2014). "Jimmy Ruffin Obituary". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 21 November 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  28. ^ "20/12/1984". Top of the Pops. 20 December 1984. BBC One. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  29. ^ "Paul Weller: A Life in Photographs". The Guardian. London. 27 March 2010. Archived from the original on 2 April 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  30. ^ Snow, Mat (16 April 2014). "Paul Weller: 'Most people dislike me anyway … it can only get better'". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 8 January 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  31. ^ Dickie, Mary (15 February 2003). "Illuminating Weller". Jam!. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  32. ^ a b "Chart Stats – The Style Council". Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  33. ^ "Discographie The Style Council". Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  34. ^ "Discografie The Style Council". Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  35. ^ a b "Discography The Style Council". Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  36. ^ "Discography The Style Council". Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  37. ^ a b "Chart Stats – The Style Council". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  38. ^ a b c d "Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2015-06-09. Note: User needs to enter "Style Council" in the "Keywords" field, "Artist" in the "Search by" field and click the "Search" button. Select "More info" next to the relevant entry to see full certification history.
  39. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 75, 299. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  40. ^ Steffen Hung. "New Zealand charts portal". Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  • Munn, Iain (2006). Mr. Cool's Dream. The Complete History of the Style Council. Wholepoint Publications. ISBN 0-9551443-0-2.

External links[edit]