Paul Weller's 10 best songs
25 May 2021, 08:00
Want to pay tribute to the genius behind The Jam and The Style Council? This playlist will do the trick.
Paul Weller - You Do Something To Me
The third single from the acclaimed Stanley Road album, this is one of Weller’s most emotional, powerful and honest ballads. It has a touch of the 60s British psych rock band Traffic, as Weller’s voice recalls the gruff sound of singer Steve Winwood (who also appeared on the LP).
Paul Weller - The Changingman
Taking its cue from the guitar riff Jeff Lynne and ELO’s debut single 19538 Overture, this track came as The Modfather was being hailed by a whole new generation of Britpop musicians, and the lyric acknowledges Weller’s chameleonic approach the different genres of music.
Paul Weller - Broken Stones
The Stanley Road album is named after the Woking street where Weller grew up, and this nostalgic song looks back at the changes that take place across a life, like pebbles tossed around on a beach.
The Style Council - You’re The Best Thing
When Weller called time on The Jam in December 1982, he collaborated with keyboardist Mick Talbot of Mod revivalists The Merton Parkas and singer Dee C Lee to form The Style Council. The band continued Weller’s interest in soul - and this sweet love song is one of his best.
Paul Weller - Wild Wood
After the demise of The Style Council in 1989, Weller finally went solo and issued a low-key album under the name of The Paul Weller Movement. But it was his second album, Wild Wood, in 1993 that put the star back on the map. The title track is a masterpiece, ranging from quiet contemplation to fiery passion in just three minutes.
Paul Weller - From The Floorboards Up
A brief - less than two and a half minutes - slice of gritty R&B was taken from Weller’s 2005 album As Is Now.
The Jam - English Rose
The trio were best known for their punk-influenced power pop, so it was rare to hear The Jam go acoustic. Weller didn’t feel the lyrics meant much without the music, so the track snuck onto side 1 of the classic album All Mod Cons in 1978 without getting a mention on the cover.
The Jam - A Town Called Malice
Taken from The Jam’s final studio album The Gift, this swirling soul track was issued as a double A-side single with Precious and another Number 1 hit for the band. The lyrics concern some of Weller’s feelings towards his home town of Woking in Surrey.
The Jam - That’s Entertainment
One of the standout tracks on the Sound Affects album of 1980, this is mainly acoustic diatribe against the dullness of modern life, complete with Beatles-esque backwards guitar part.
The Jam - Going Underground
The track that cemented The Jam as British superstars, this song went straight to the top of the UK charts - still an impressive feat in 1980, when single sales were at an all-time high. Originally intended as a B-side, an error at the pressing plant meant the single was a double A-side with Dreams Of Children. The lyric is a tense meditation on politics, society, and the ever-present threat of nuclear war.