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    Weller, Paul (25th May 1958-Present)

    He is a singer-songwriter and musician born John William Weller in Sheerwater, England, who had an interest in music from the time he was young and began performing on the guitar when he went to secondary school.

     

    When he was around 14, in 1972, he put together The Jam with his friends Steve Brookes and Dave Waller.  He played bass guitar, Steve played lead guitar and Dave played rhythm guitar.  They were managed by his father who started to get them gigs at various working men’s clubs.

     

    Dave Waller left after a while and was replaced by Bruce Foxton.  The band was also joined by the drummer Rick Buckler and they started to get their name known.  Steve Brookes, who was a co-writer of some of their songs, decided to leave the band in 1976.  This led to Paul taking over the guitar and swapped his positions with Bruce.

     

    The Jam was noticed by The Clash in 1977 and invited them to be the support on their White Riot tour.  In May of that same year they became successful on the UK chart when “In the City”, which was their debut single release made it into the top 40.  They continued to get into the Top 40 with every single they released after that but it was 1979 before “The Eton Rifles” made it to No. 3 as their first Top 10 hit.  Just a few months later in 1980 they managed to at long last get their first No. 1 with “Going Underground”.  They continued to make regular chart appearances and their “Just Who is the 5 O’Clock Hero” and “That’s Entertainment” were both in the Top 40 at the same time even though they were imports that were released outside of the UK.

     

    Although still very successful, Paul decided to shock the other two band members and their countless fans by saying he wanted them to break up at the end of 1982.  They released “Beat Surrender” which rocketed to the top of the chart and held their final concert in December 1982.

     

    Within a month or two he put together The Style Council in collaboration with the keyboardist Mick Talbot.   They were joined by the backing singer Dee C. Lee, who he married in 1987, had two children with and later divorced in 1998, and the drummer Steve White.  He began experimenting with music in a whole range of genres outside of the New Wave sound that The Jam were known for and their first single releases became successful in the United States and Australia.  “Shout to the Top” topped the charts in Australia in 1984 and “My Ever Changing Moods” and “You’re The Best Thing” both made it into the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. 

     

    In 1984 he was a singer on “Do They Know It’s Christmas” for Band Aid and that same year he also formed The Council Collective which recorded “Soul Deep” as a fundraiser for the miners who were out on strike.

     

    The Style Council appeared at Wembley Stadium for Live Aid in 1985 but they still only managed one Top 10 hit that year.  They persevered for the next few years, but their record company would not release their fifth, and what would be their final, studio album so Paul announced their disbandment in 1989.

     

    He took time out for himself in the next year or so but 1991 brought him back into the fray where he toured as The Paul Weller Movement with his drummer from The Style Council, Steve White.  He performed old material but also introduced new songs which would see their release on his self-titled album in 1992.  The album was successful which led him back into the studio to record Wild Wood, which was nominated for a Mercury Music Prize.

     

    Stanley Road, released in 1995, would become his best selling recording when it went to the top of the UK album chart.  It also took him back to the UK singles charts when he released the tracks “The Changingman” and “You Do Something To Me”.  Around that time he had also been a guest guitarist and vocalist on “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis and Noel Gallagher had been a guest guitarist on Stanley Road.

     

    His next album, Heavy Soul, went to No. 2 on the UK album chart with the single release “Peacock Suit” getting to No. 5 in the singles chart.  His 1998 Modern Classics was also a very successful compilation of solo material.

     

    When the new millennium came around he released Heliocentric and the next year was his live Days of Speed, which was recorded from the tour of the same name.

     

    A couple of years later in 2002 he was in the Top 10 again with the No.7 single “It’s Written in the Stars” and another No. 1 album in the shape of Illumination.  This was produced by Simon Dine of Noonday Underground and he, in turn, sang on “I’ll Walk Right On” on their Surface Noise.  That same year he also worked with Terry Callier on “Brother to Brother” for his album Speak Your Peace and in 2003 he did the same with Death in Vegas for their Scorpio Rising when he recorded a cover of “So You Say You Lost Your Baby” with them.

     

    His Studio 150 which comprised cover songs came out in 2004 and rocketed straight into No. 2 in the UK album chart.  The next year was the turn of As Is Now which was not as commercially successful as any since 1992 even though it still reached No. 4, with its “From the Floorboards Up” reaching No. 6 on the UK singles chart and “Come On/Let’s Go” and “Here’s the Good News” reaching No. 15 and No. 21 respectively. 

     

    He was honoured at the BRIT Awards in 2006 where he performed four songs and was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also awarded a CBE in the 2006 birthday honours list but he declined it.  In June of that year he released his live double album Catch-Flame! which was followed a few months later by his compilation Hit Parade.

     

    In 2008 the double 22 Dreams appeared on the shelves, which had been recorded with a new line up of his band.  The keyboardist was Andy Croft of The Moons and Paul performed on the songs “Wondering” and “Last Night on Earth” for their Life on Earth.  That same year he broke up with is girlfriend Samantha Stock, with whom he had two children, and went to live with Hanna Andrews who was a backing singer on 22 Dreams.  They married in 2010 and had twin boys in 2012.

     

    2009 saw him once again as a BRIT Award winner when he became Best Male Solo Artist and that same year he toured England and was a co-writer of “Love’s Got Me Crazy” which appeared on Room 7½ by Dot Allison.  That year his father, who was also his manager, passed away from pneumonia. 

     

    NME presented him with a Godlike Genius Award in February 2010 and in May that year he also received the Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award.  In between the awards he released another Mercury Music Prize nominated album Wake Up the Nation.  This album saw him working with his ex band-mate from The Jam, Bruce Foxton, for the first time in nearly 30 years.

     

    In 2012 he released Sonik Kicks and was a guest singer on “Something Soon” by The Moons.  He released the limited edition EP Dragonfly on vinyl at the end of the year as well as being the headline act at the Crisis charity concert.  The following year he performed Blur’s “Tender” with Noel Gallagher, Graham Coxon and Damon Albern for the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts and The Guardian newspaper listed him as “one of the fifty best-dressed over 50s”.

     

    In 2014 he performed several concerts in Europe in February and arranged a series of UK summer shows called Forest Live.

     

    Peter Gabriel Recordings
    Games Without Frontiers (Peter Gabriel)     
    (Charisma CB 354)(UK45)

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.paulweller.com/
    2. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/paul-weller-mn0000029791/biography
    3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Weller
    4. http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-9F5EVG
    5. http://www.theguardian.com/music/paulweller
    6. http://www.nme.com/artists/paul-weller
    7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As_Is_Now
    8. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/paul-weller-mn0000029791/credits

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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