I knew that I had previously had a series which looked at every 45 ever released by The Style Council, but was quite stunned when a glance at the archives told me it was seven years ago. As such, I have no qualms about going in for a repeat of sorts; nor do I offer any apologies!
The group’s seventh single was a big hit, peaking at #6 in the charts in October 1984. It was released on 7″ and 12″ vinyl, and had all the hallmarks of the upbeat and jaunty sound we had by now come to associate with TSC, but this time with added strings.
The reverse of the sleeve indicated a few causes that the band thought were worth drawing attention to:-
– No! To the abolition of the GLC & local councils
– Yes! To the thrill of the romp
– Yes! To the Bengali Workers Association
– Yes! To a nuclear-free world
– Yes! To all involved in animal rights
– Yes! To fanzines
– Yes! To Belief
The single came out in the midst of an ongoing and increasingly embittered national strike by the National Union of Mineworkers. If really felt as if the UK government, led by the singularly-minded Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister, was at war with many of its own residents, particularly those whose traditional industries were closing with no thought or care given as to how these ailing communities could be supported. Paul Weller made no bones about it, firmly nailing his colours to the mast of those who were on strike.
There’ was no difference in the versions available on 7″ and 12″ and this was the common b-side:-
A haunting ballad about the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp, it was as far removed from the jauntiness of the a-side as can be imagined.
There were two other tracks on the 12″
The latter, I described in January 2016 as being a slow-paced number that was about as dull a b-side as the band had released up to this point in their career. I was taken to task via the comments section by londonlee who very much expressed his love for said b-side.
Shout To The Top has aged very well in terms of its sound. I’ve been known to air it at Stark’s Park, as part of my efforts to build up the pre-match atmosphere. I’ve also occasionally played this cover version:-
This dates from 2021, and it involved Hifi Sean getting his hands on a tape of a version of a track that had been recorded and released by Fire Island (English house music duo, Pete Heller and Terry Farley) in 1998.
Seemingly, there were no musical parts on the tape which landed in Sean’s hands, only the vocal from soul diva, Loleatta Holloway. He got to work rewriting the arrangement, and in doing so he created a soulful string-laden groover.
And talking of string-laden groovers, it’s getting close to 3 February 2023, which is the official release date for Happy Ending, the stunning new album from HiFi Sean and David McAlmont.