THE STYLE COUNCIL SINGLES (18 & 19)

R-789761-1241507545.jpegR-537616-1294627425.jpegI don’t own any of the final two TSC singles that were released in 1989. What I have done is fish around other sites for various tracks and convert them to mp3s to wrap things up. But I can’t make the claim that they are from the 7″, 12″ or CD singles. What I can provide is factual info and a wee bit of commentary.

It was February 1989 when the 18th single was released.

It was a cover.

 

 

Not only was it a cover, but it was a cover of a house tune and The Style Council sounded like they’d never sounded before, especially on the extended mixes.

Promised Land was the work of Joe Smooth, a Chicago-based songwriter. It had been a minor hit under his name (although the vocal was delivered by Anthony Thomas, another member of the Chicago house scene) but had made such an impact on Paul Weller that he wanted to issue his own version.

mp3 : The Style Council – Promised Land (7″ version)

It was a hit in the clubs and of course there were still TSC fans who would buy the records, all of which helped it reach #27 in the singles chart and an appearance on Top of The Pops. The b-side and the alternative mixes are totally different from anything else that has appeared beforehand in this series:-

mp3 : The Style Council – Promised Land (12″ mix)
mp3 : The Style Council – Promised Land (Joe Smooth’s Alternate Club Mix)
mp3 : The Style Council – Can You Still Love Me (Club Vocal)
mp3 : The Style Council – Can You Still Love Me? (12 O’Clock Dub)

And here’s the original:-

mp3 : Joe Smooth – Promised Land

Promised Land is hugely popular among many fans of the band and I can see why given just how different it is from anything else they ever did.  It also introduced them to a new and more diverse audience, those from the dance/club scene.  And there’s no denying that the tunes provide an uplifting and very happy few minutes, akin at times to New Order, especially via the 12″ version and club versions.

The following month saw the release of The Singular Adventures Of The Style Council (Volume 1) which, as these things invariably do, became a bit of a success story with a Top 3 appearance in the album charts. In order to maintain the momentum, the label re-released the best known song in a re-mixed format, together with a new b-side. Given that it was only a few years after the original (and that it’s a far inferior version), it’s no surprise that it didn’t light up the charts, stalling at #48.  What’s an ever bigger insult however to fans, is that the mix is identical to that which had been made available less than a year earlier on the 1234 EP

The b-side, was another house tune and was rumoured to be typical of the material that the band, thoroughly determined to quash those break-up rumours of late 1988, were working up for a new album.

mp3 : The Style Council – Everybody’s On The Run

In July 1989, on the back of the success of the greatest hits chart success, the band announced a one-off gig at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Fans snapped up tickets eager to hear all the old classics linked in with maybe a few new songs – what they got was a 21-song set, much of which was not yet released, with just one single and even that was Promised Land.  There were loads of guest vocalists used on the night which only added the confusion. The band was booed off the stage. This was the set list:-

1. Can You Still Love Me?
2. Move (Dance All Night)
3. Promised Land
4. Sure Is Sure
5. Everybody’s On The Run
6. Tender Love
7. It’s A Very Deep Sea
8. I Can’t Deny Myself
9. Fine
10. Little Boy In A Castle
11. Mick’s Blessings
12. A Woman’s Song
13. Now You’re Gone
14. Mick’s Company
15. Cost Of Loving
16. Waiting On A Connection
17. Depth Charge
18. Like A Gun
19. Changing Of The Guard
20. You’ll Find Love
21. That Spiritual Feeling

I’m still not sure if was deliberate sabotage or a total misjudgment on the part of Paul Weller. The record label felt the signals were that the fan base would not buy into the new sound and when the band presented the fruits of their labours – entitled ModernismPolydor Records rejected it.

This was a mere 12 years after In The City and it was unthinkable that things had completely broken down. Paul Weller was upset and angry…he was proved to be right in respect of house music soon becoming part of mainstream radio and moving out of the clubs. He genuinely felt he could make good house music and that it was a natural progression for him and his band and this act was the final straw. The Style Council broke up before the end of the year. The Royal Albert Hall had been the last gig.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey; as I mentioned at the start of the series, it made sense to have if follow on immediately after the The Jam singles given how short a gap there was between the end of the old band and the beginning of the new one.

Addendum…….

The comment from Neil after the previous posting in this series about how he was hoping I would be featuring a single called Like A Gun intrigued me as it wasn’t one I knew anything about.  So it was research time and this is what I found….

In February 1989, the Acid Jazz label pressed up copies of a single called Like A Gun  by an act called King Truman.  It was a 12″ single with four versions of the title track.  It soon became clear that the band were The Style Council masquerading under a different name and before too long the bigwigs at Polydor were threatening all sorts of action against the indie label.  The single was very hastily withdrawn with only a few hundred copies making it into shops.  If you want a copy nowadays, then there’s currently nine for sale on Discogs, none of which are from UK sellers, and the lowest asking price is approx £50 plus shipping.  Needless to say, I didn’t pursue things further.  But I have managed to track down an mp3:-

mp3 : King Truman – Like A Gun

And with that. I’ll sign off by saying that next up in the Singles series will not be Paul’s solo stuff. I haven’t liked anything other than Wild Wood…..

Stay tuned.

13 thoughts on “THE STYLE COUNCIL SINGLES (18 & 19)

  1. The joe smooth version of this would feature in my top 45 45s… reminds me of clubbing around that time… happy days!

  2. You’re a legend. I’ve only got a live version of like a gun.
    It does appear on the acid jazz compilation Totally Wired and Illicit Grooves ~ Acid Jazz – The Birth of a Scene 87-90 – But even that is £14 to buy

    Pedants corner – It’s on the Acid Jazz label Gilles Peterson & Eddie Piller’s legendary label which kicked off the careers of Galliano, Brand New Heavies and Jamiroquai amongst others.

    A wonderful series – Thank you.

  3. Genuine question. If Weller was so committed to House (and I’d have loved to see him do more of that), then why did he turn his creative back on it for his following solo output (which I could happily do with a lot less of)? Did he sell out to the Man for a decent record deal, or just run out of Es, or what?

    Not fishing for a furious fan club response, just asking (in a relatively light hearted manner) because I don’t know, or maybe just don’t recall from the time.

  4. I’m not convinced that he was all that committed Jacques, as you rightly point out his solo output did not reflect it unlike the Scream who immersed themselves in acid house.

    After listening to both versions of this for the first time in years, this is definitely a case of less is more, the 7″ has far more impact than the 12″ mix.

  5. This was where the story of The Style Council ended. Misunderstood, miss-stepping into genre’s their audience wasn’t prepared for, but in the end making, for me, memorable music I have never tired of.
    When Weller and Co. took the leap into the joys and politics of house music, they did it with gusto and some real talent. This was Blue Eyed House at its best. They were joined with the likes of The Blow Monkeys and ABC in seeing the writing on the wall early on and took steps to really be a part of the movement of popular music to the dance floor.
    Promised Land is filled with joyous piano and drum patterns and builds on the Joe Smooth original with a pop savvy that is key to it’s beauty.
    Can You Still Love Me is down and dirty Chicago House, darker, tinged with an almost psychedelic pulse and bass throb. Its minimalism is what makes it so gorgeous to me.
    Everybody’s On The Run move into a more New Jersey House sound but doesn’t miss those jazzy Talbot elements.
    I remember going to more than a few parties and hearing all three of these songs and people kicking off their heels and getting down to business.
    I was saddened at the way fans and the label shied way from what The Style Council were attempting to explore. Just a year or two later, everyone was trying to make house music their music and building their careers on it, but for The Style Council the walls around their success were made too high and attempting to scale those heights finally proved impossible.

  6. I think Weller quickly got of the House thing, but would always be heavily influenced by Acid Jazz. Most of the 1st record is Acid Jazz and there’s bits on most solo record. Of course he found his guitar again which made it look as if he went back to basics.
    But several tracks throughout the years lean towards this era, and certainly show up more in recent more experimental years.
    Starlite, These city streets, Aim High, Trees & Bring back the funk spring to mind

  7. There was a story that Weller was looking at a pair of Wallabees in a shop window, deciding to go full on acid house perhaps, only to have his head turned by an SX belching two stroke fumes down the high street leading him to ditch the 808 for his 335 whilst banking the memory for the Brendan Lynch mix of Kosmos a few years later, the same Lynch that mixed Primal Scream. Probably bollocks but worth the diversion if only to get one of Neil’s mentions above https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLMEDn6EodQ&nohtml5=False (The remixes are even better.)

  8. Thanks for this series, JC. Things get pretty spotty for me after 1986, but I appreciate Weller’s efforts at trying something new much more now than I did in the late ’80s. I was excited when his first solo album came out and still enjoy it to this day. Since then, I have several of his albums but almost always feel disappointed. I’m down to the occasional song that warms the heart.

  9. Big thanks to everyone who commented during the course of this series…but an especially big thank you to echorich for his various informed and well-argued contributions, not least that directly above.

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