Caught up in a whirlwind: Modfather Paul Weller and the Style Council’s ever changing moods

By on December 12, 2018

This popular episode of Night Flight’s “Video Flash Tracks” — which originally aired on September 16, 1988 — featured a trio of music videos by the Style Council, led by Modfather Paul Weller of the Jam. Watch it now on Night Flight Plus!

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1983’s “My Ever Changing Moods”– the first of the videos presented, along with 1985’s “Boy Who Cried Wolf” (directed by Arnell & Benton) and 1988’s “How She Threw It All Away” — would give the Style Council their highest chart position in the UK (#5) and the U.S. (#29 on Billboard‘s Hot 100, peaking on June 9, 1984).

The single comes from from their Café Bleu debut LP, released by Polydor UK in March of 1984.

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When Geffen released the album in America two months later, they’d changed the album’s title, calling it My Ever Changing Moods after the hit.

In addition to new cover art, Geffen’s release re-sequenced the tracks, and replaced certain songs.

They also came up with was an interesting promotional item, a credit card-style My Ever Changing Moods Meter, which measured your current stress level.

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Originally the Style Council had recorded it as a more melancholy song, with piano, but when they performed it live with Elvis Costello on a TV show, they decided to make it more upbeat, sounding like something influenced by War or Curtis Mayfield.

Later, Weller decided the more upbeat version was better, so they went back into the studio and re-recorded the track. The U.S. album features the “faster” 12-inch version.

Here’s the band performing it on a BBC Saturday morning program:

The official “Ever Changing Moods” video — directed by Tim Pope — was the first of what turned out to be several unintentionally comic, homoerotic Style Council music videos.

Weller had the idea of he and Talbot dressing up in bicycle racing garb after seeing young kids in Italy wearing cycling shirts with jeans while motoring around on scooters.

They’re both wearing colorful cycling gear — including impossibly small helmets! — while racing through the chilly English countryside before meeting up with a trio of blondes dressed as Greek goddesses (the summer of 1984 had been the year of the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles).

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Read more about the Style Council below.

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Paul Weller was all of thirteen years old when he’d formed the Jam in 1972.

They would release six great studio albums, and landed eighteen consecutive singles in the UK Top Forty (including four #1 chart-topping hits),

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The Syle Council: Paul Weller, Dee C. Lee, Mick Talbot

By the time the 24-year old Weller announced they were calling it a day, on October 30, 1982, he was feeling fairly uninspired about playing rock guitar, although to be fair, the Jam’s heady mix of snarling British punk had always been balanced by their inclinations toward other influences, including Tamla/Motown-ish R&B and blue-eyed soul.

When Weller contacted former Dexy’s Midnight Runner keyboardist Mick Talbot in August ’82, he told him then he was bringing the Jam’s tenure to a close.

He likely already knew his next musical adventure wasn’t going to be a standard band line-up, which he realized towards the end of the Jam had become too restrictive.

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Weller told Talbot — who he’d originally met in 1979, when Talbot had been in the Merton Parkas — that he imagined his role would be more like that of a film director.

Indeed, he thought that some Style Council recordings might be instrumentals on which he might not even be playing an instrument.

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The woman by the piano, Dee C. Lee, Weller’s wife at the time, became a permanent member of the Style Council after singing back-up with Wham! on songs like “Club Tropicana”

Fans of the Jam were admittedly a bit shocked at what they were hearing when the the Style Council — Weller, Talbot, 18-year old drummer Steve White and Weller’s wife, Dee C. Lee, along with special guests Tracie Young and Tracey Thorn (Everything but the Girl) joining in later — began releasing their first in a string of singles.

1983’s “Speak Like a Child” climbed to #4 on the UK charts, and “Long Hot Summer” — with its decidedly homoerotic video — did even better, charting at #3 UK in August ’83.

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After seven UK-only singles had been released, an EP, Introducing the Style Council, collecting the A and B-sides for what US label Polydor called a “Mini-LP” was released.

Its release preceded 1984’s Café Bleu, which saw Weller seemingly ditching his guitar altogether (Talbot’s keyboards were the main focus).

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Over the next few years, the Style Council released increasingly more and more ambition album releases: 1985’s Our Favourite Shop (issued as Internationalists in the U.S.), 1986’s live album Home and Abroad, 1987’s The Cost Of Loving double-LP, and 1988’s Confessions of a Pop Group (featuring a 10-minute orchestral suite called “The Gardener of Eden”).

The Style Council never managed to crack the U.S. charts again after “My Ever Changing Moods.”

After first releasing a compilation album, The Singular Adventures of the Style Council, Weller presented Polydor with a new album’s worth of tracks revealing his interest was now in house and club music, but Polydor not only rejected the album but dropped the Style Council from their roster.

It wasn’t too much much later that the band called it quits in 1990.

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Watch Night Flight’s 1988 episode of “Video Flash Tracks” — which also featured music videos by Aztec Camera, Fields of the Nephilim, and more — on Night Flight Plus!

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.