Headstart For Happiness – the early Style Council years – Part 2

The year ended with the mini album Introducing The Style Council which was released only in Japan, Australia, Holland, Canada and the US containing their recorded output to date, but still sold well in Dutch Import sales alone.

‘Daylight turns to Moonlight and I’m at my best…’ is Mod captured in less than 10 words.

The first line of their 1984 single My Ever Changing Moods with its Isley Brothers soul-funk groove was another big hit (UK No 5), including for the first time the US where it reached top 30 – Weller’s highest single chart position there; before or since. The success of the single meant that their debut album   Café Bleu released in March was renamed after the single in the US.

Café Bleu has got to go down in music history as one of the most surprising and eclectic albums of all time. It is a massive departure from The Jam (and indeed Rock in general) – It is a melting pot of the band’s influences musically and incredibly Weller (arguably the bands biggest draw) sings on less than half the tracks. The Hammond-cool opener Micks Blessing (similar to Moods B-Side Micks Company) is a great introduction its Jazz stylings and echoes throughout the album with its use of Jazzy chords and all out BeBop on the Steve White showcase Dropping Bombs on the White House.

Guest vocalists Tracey Thorn (from Everything but the Girl) adds her haunting tone to A Paris EP tune The Paris Match and Rapper Dizzy Heights appears on cod-rap (and probably one weak track) A Gospel. In amongst the jazzy-acoustic near solo numbers are reworked versions of Moods, Headstart For Happiness (featuring new band member D C Lee) and future single You’re the Best Thing before ending on another Hammond Workout Council Meetin’ – A truly stunning debut that (A Gospel aside) still sounds incredibly fresh and vibrant today.

Taken from the Album, You’re the Best Thing was the lead track to the Groovin’ single backed with track The Big Boss Groove a jazz-swing number complete with a wailing harmonica courtesy of Weller also charted at No 5, and up until the release of You Do Something To Me some 20 years later You’re The Best Thing was the go-to Weller Wedding song of choice, with its beautiful glissando guitar line and Curtis falsetto; it remains one of his most complete all-round songs.

Amazingly the run of incredible singles continued with soul stomper Shout To The Top, with a strident piano and uplifting lyric it reached number 7 in the charts. Perhaps a little at odds to the earlier singles was the use of Warsaw in the video with its purveying greyness and communist brutalist architecture showing the way to the following year of Miners, Militancy, Live Aid and Lenny Henry as well as an increasing political bent. The B-side, the haunting and sombre beneath the gun-towers love song of Ghosts of Dauchau was as sobering as the 12” companion The Piccadilly Trail, again flirting with homoerotic tension, was as uplifting with its summery percussion.

The Style Council became a household name across the World in 1985 and released their best-selling album Our Favourite Shop – it was a return (in part) to the intensity of The Jam albeit with perhaps more direct lyricism and less direct musical assault, and as brilliant as it is I can’t help but miss those first two years of incredible spiritually uplifting output and simple joie De Vivre that so defined their sound. It remains one of Weller’s favourite times musically ‘like being in a youth club’ as he once described it… and who doesn’t want to relive their youth every once and a while.

Mods DONT wear trainers

mod-dont-wear-trainers

Mods DONT wear trainers

Facebook can be the best place in the world for like minded people to chat and interact with other, miles and miles apart, but so close in lots of other ways. And many of you reading this, would have seen someone write something where you think, ‘Really are you that daft’.

So the comment was “Mods don’t wear trainers. End of”

Now what is mod and what isn’t ? That is really a question you should only ask close friends when you have had many drinks and you can spend the rest of the evening, laughing about answers.

Paul Sawtell, top mod, & Alley club promoter said

I wear trainers. many Mods do. The main thing to remember is there are no rules in the Mod scene. Just cos I wear trainers it doesn’t make me “not a Mod” and not all people who wear trainers are Mods …….I’ll tell you something, most of the people who “make the rules” are not even Mods, they hide behind a computer keyboard and don’t go out on the scene, get my drift?

I have spoke to many people about trainers, and a lot of people love them, in terms of when to wear most agreed was a daytime look rather than an evening.

Neil Lee

I’ve always wore trainers for casual wear. Owned lots of Adidas Italia, Japan and Bowlers. Still wear them now. Also love the ivy style of Converse, Pro Keds and Sperrys.

Neil runs “Gettin To The Point” more info here https://www.facebook.com/events/1499119017009812/?ref=br_tf

And here is Neil in his trainers

mod shoes neil lee in trainers

I concede the Trainer will always be associated with the ‘Casual’ fashion from the early 80s. And a lot of these guys are just obsessive as many mods I know.

Here is just one image I found on Google image search.

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QUADROPHENIA LP Cover

A real obvious mod image, came straight to mind was this iconic cover

29-mod-shoes-nice-painting-of-quadrophenia

We offer a couple of pairs, and we would offer more if we could find the right kind. So far we have found these. I like them because they are reasonably plain, no 80’s style squiggles. We like the sole as it is plain and the burgundy chestnut colour ones look so cool in real life. The blue ones have many shades of blue, but nothing too showy.

01 Mod-Shoes-Mod-Trainer-Nicholas-Deakins-kendal-chestnut-01

02 Mod-Shoes-Mod-Trainer-Nicholas-Deakins-Palmer-Blue-06

 

 

 

 

 

 

But trainers, I reckon are great. There are some really cool ones out there, and some awful, but let’s stay with cool. So rather than a long written piece, I think these pictures do the rest, don’t you ?

paul-weller-in adidas

Paul Weller in Trainers !

mods in ham yard

Original Mods outside The Scene Club Ham Yard, I think 1964. Baseball Boots rather than trainers we have these days, but looks cool to me.

1-adidas-italia-1960-2010-bobbymac-kicks-box

mod shoes adidas italias green and whitecool adidas12-mod-shoes-80s-mods    fashion_mods_07_51914j lambrettas2

Mark Ellis Bass Player with The Lambrettas. Possibly the only person I have ever seen pulling off Trainers with a suit jacket !

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TheBirds in converse

The Birds circa 65/66 and Baseball boots again ! I think the wearer is Kym Gardner.

Anyways, hope you enjoyed the pics and words about Mods and their Trainers.