Paul Weller - Biography

Paul Weller is a British guitarist, singer and songwriter nicknamed The Modfather, a founding member of The Jam and Syle Council, and a successful solo artist.


The Jam formed in 1972 with Paul Weller and his school friends, guitarist Steve Brookes, bassist Bruce Foxton, and drummer Rick Buckler. When Brookes left the band shortly after its formation, they decided to remain a three-piece. At the time their debut album, In the City (Polydor, 1977), was released Weller was just 19 years old. With their third album, 1978's All Mod Cons (Polydor), Weller's songwriting took a huge leap forward, demonstrating that he was not limited to writing punk songs. The album peaked at number 6 in the UK.. Every single The Jam released thereafter charted in the Top 20 at home, and “The Eton Rifles,” the first single from their fourth album, Setting Suns (Polydor), became their first top ten hit in November 1979, peaking at number 3. Setting Suns also contained the greatest single of their career, "Going Underground," which entered the charts at number one. The Jam's fifth album, Sound Affects (Polydor, 1980) was their most ambitious and diverse album, and featured one of their best-loved songs, "That's Entertainment."


Weller, who had become tired of The Jam's sound and direction, broke up in the band in October 1982. In just five short years they had released six studio albums and one live album and were one of the biggest bands in the UK. They spawned the mod revival and were highly influential on future British rock bands including Blur and Oasis. When the band’s label reissued their singles back catalogue, six of them re-charted and The Jam entered the Guinness Book Of Records by having the highest number of Top 50 single chart hits at one time ever by a recording artist.


Shortly after The Jam's demise, Weller formed The Style Council with Hammond player Mick Talbot. On their debut album, Cafe Bleu (Windsong Int'l), they combined pop, soul, jazz, rap and funk, deliberately moving away from The Jam's sound and history. On The Style Council's sophomore album, Our Favourite Shop (Polydor), the collective's core line up included Weller, Talbot, drummer Steve White, singer Dee C Lee and bassist Camille Hinds. Our Favourite Shop was released in the US by Geffen Records as Internationalists with different packaging and track listing. With The Style Council, Weller wrote more overtly political songs and the band helped raise money for causes they supported, including a miners strike in 1984. Our Favourite Shop hit number one in the UK, but it was the only Style Council album to do so. The band broke up in 1989 when their label refused to release their fifth album, Modernism: A New Decade. It went unreleased until 1998 when it was included in a retrospective collection called The Complete Adventures of The Style Council.


Weller released his first solo album in 1992, Paul Weller. His sophomore album, Wild Wood (Go! Discs, 1993), was nominated for a Mercury Prize and reached number two on the UK charts. His third album, Stanley Road (Go! Discs, 1995), is his best selling solo album and was ranked #46 in Q Magazine's 1998 list of the greatest albums of all time. In 2009, Weller won the BRIT award for Best Male Solo Artist. His tenth solo album, 2010's Wake Up the Nation (Island), was also nominated for a Mercury Prize. Also in 2010, Weller won the Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement award for songwriting and composing. Sonik Kicks (Island, 2012), Weller's most recent album and his eleventh solo LP, reached number one on the UK charts.

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