Back in 1974, Gladys Knight & The Pips enjoyed what at the time was their biggest chart success in the UK with a soulful version of a country and western song called You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me. Their cover was never off the radio for months on end and even now, more than 40 years on, despite me never owning a copy physically or digitally I can still very clearly recall the way that Gladys majestically soars across the sentimental message at the heart of the song while her backing vocalists do a killer job in driving it along at a perfect pace.
The thing is, if I can remember it that well from the perspective of an 11-year-old than I’m sure someone with a great interest in music such as the then 16-year old Paul Weller will have taken even more notice and in due course, as he himself falls head over heels, harnesses his talents into delivering something just as special. As indeed he would do with subsequent TSC singles….be patient and all will be revealed!!
And so it proved ten years on when once again radio stations up and down the country never got tired of playing this wonderful ballad:-
mp3 : The Style Council – You’re The Best Thing
It was certainly one of my songs of the summer of 1984. It was also one of the songs of the summer of my then girlfriend as we travelled across Europe on cheap student railcards visiting cities that previously had only been figments of our imagination including Paris, Nice, Monte Carlo, Milan, Florence and Venice where eventually the money ran out and we had to quickly re-adjust our plans and head home leaving the likes of Munich and Amsterdam for other times. Our relationship was a happy one for a decent enough time but sadly it turned sour before 1985 was over by which time we had been to see The Style Council in concert and enjoyed the experience of ‘our’ song beimg played live. I’ve always felt that particular ballad was all about that particular relationship and so even when I’ve been wooing subsequent girlfriends with compilation cassettes that showed off my musical tastes I never once included ‘Best Thing’ on any of them.
The single, which was released just before my 21st birthday, was in fact a double-A side but thinking back I don’t recall ever hearing the upbeat other half of the 45 ever aired on daytime radio:-
mp3 : The Style Council – The Big Boss Groove
It reached #5. Little did we know that TSC wouldn’t ever get that high in the singles charts ever again……..(although they came close!)
Here’s the other track on the 12″ single:-
mp3 : The Style Council – You’re The Dub Thing