Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Style Council: Walls Come Tumbling Down

Punk rock and Thatcherism both grew out of exasperation with the failure of 1970s Labourism. And in 1978 Paul Weller announced that The Jam would all be voting Conservative at the next election. It seems that this announcement was just reaction against the unreflective socialist politics of those he met in the music business.

Yet a few years later Weller was a leading light of Red Wedge, the movement that was meant to rally ver kids against Thatcher and make them elect Neil Kinnock as prime minister. I do not think Elvis and Mozart combined could have managed that.

The Style Council is not remembered with much fondness. Besides the faintly embarrassing politics, many fans could not forgive Weller for breaking up The Jam - or for this haircut - and Mick Talbot was a bit of a dork.

But hearing this song today, it does not sound at all bad. And Talbot's keyboards sound good, even if the late-period Jam (and this sounds as though it could have come from that source) would have added a stronger brass section.

This video shows the band having a fun time in Warsaw. But I doubt it was the Berlin Wall that any of them had in mind when singing this song. Even mainstream Labour opinion was always remarkably uninterested in human rights abuses in the Soviet bloc.


00100 said...

Thanks for this, I didn't know about Weller's politics.


Sorry, The Style Council were an excellent band. Not many people seemed to get the humour mixed in with the serious genius and innovation. They made some of the most original and influential music of the 80s. Of course, there was always Duran Duran. Ha ha.

Anonymous said...

"The Style Council is not remembered with much fondness"...what a ludicrously unfounded statement!

Jonathan Calder said...

Thank you for your comment, Mrs Talbot.

Darren Soanes said...

Lyrics still relevant today. Could be Jeremy Corbyn's theme tune!

Anonymous said...

What a stupid article. It's a great song! And the choice of location wasn't accidental. It was a clear knock at Stalinism, and pointing out it's not socialist and has its own class structures. The blogger is clearly a bit thick for not getting this.