Record sleeves by the Modfather's favourite designer have been brought together in a new book about the former Jam frontman. Ian Burrell looks at the career of Simon Halfon, who has also worked with Oasis
Friday, 28 November 2008
When a young Simon Halfon, then one of only three mods at Durham University, went backstage to meet The Jam at a gig at Bridlington Spa Pavilion, he didn't think he was forging a relationship that would define his career.
But the conversation with Paul Weller in 1979 stood him in good stead. After Halfon dropped out of university, and returned to his native London to pursue a career in the music business, the Modfather remembered him. A quarter of a century later he is sitting on a portfolio of record-sleeve designs that span Weller's career from The Jam, via The Style Council, to his solo work.
In an era when record shops are closing in droves, as sales plummet in the face of digital downloading, smart design plays a vit…
As the year winds down and the Weller World Tour 2008 has finished up, The Paul Weller News team would like to send out a HUGE thanks to all those folks that have been kind enough to send in their photos, set lists, etc. to share with the community. We'd also like to thank our readers for continuing to make this place a spot in your travels. Most of all we are fans just like you. It's been a great year for Paul Weller and a great year for our little blog. All the very best to you!!
"Stand Proud As An Internationalist!"
Until the next post...
The Paul Weller News Team, Chris, Dave...and all our field reporters!
5 / 5 Betty Clarke The Guardian, Wednesday November 26 2008
On a giant screen is an image of John Lennon, the former Beatle who always believed the number nine was lucky. On the stage below struts Paul Weller, his rejuvenated career proof that Lennon was right.
Weller's ninth album, 22 Dreams, has garnered the Modfather his best reviews for a decade. Dispensing with the dadrock he has been mired in since the mid 1990s, the double album is awash with dreamy folk, lush psychedelia and Philly soul, linked by unlikely interludes into krautrock and free-form jazz. At 50, Weller is celebrating being once again at the vanguard of British rock with the first of three sold-out shows at the Brixton Academy.
Weller bounces up and down, wolf-whistles down his mic and throws a triumphant hand in the air. "Oh, it's good to be home!" he says, gleefully.
The classic rock of Peacock Suit and Changingman feed off the energy of new songs like 22 Dreams. The …
Paul Weller Is At His Best In The Capital James Anthony, Evening Standard 26.11.08
It was once said that Paul Weller is the John Lennon of the Grange Hill generation. Judging by the intense admiration his live audiences feel for the 50-year-old musician, there’s a case for arguing that Mr Angry of Woking is in fact bigger than the late Beatle.
As Weller approached the stage, his distinct duck-footed gait and absurd Steve Marriot-style hairstyle easily recognisable, a roar went up that would have done Stamford Bridge on a Saturday afternoon proud. Peacock Suit and Changing Man were delivered in Weller’s tight, punchy style; a style that on a good day could floor Joe Calzaghe.
The poppy and rather naff Style Council hit Shout To The Top was reworked into a foot-stomping number that sent the audience into a swaying, baying mob. This was followed by The Jam’s Eton Rifles, hilariously cited by Old Etonian David Cameron as being a seminal influence, that virtually had them storming the ramparts…
“WHAT’S your favourite Paul Weller song?” I recently asked a hard core fan.
“Impossible to name just one,” he spluttered.
“Okay, your top 10 then?” He still looked stumped.
After all there are 20 albums to choose from in a career spanning over 30 years taking in The Jam, Style Council and work as a solo artist.
That impressive back catalogue was in evidence at a packed ECHO arena last night.
He might have turned 50 this year but Paul Weller has marked this landmark birthday with 22 Dreams, arguably his best album for 10 years. Drawing on his diverse musical influences over the decades, the catchy guitar driven rock of Have You Made Up Your Mind yields to the folksier tones of Light Nights, before psychedelia floods the stage in the shape of Weller on keyboards for One Bright Star.
And while a large part of the night was devoted to showcasing his latest work, Weller’s set was interspersed with numerous standouts from his extensi…
Paul has some dates listed for Japan in April of next year.
Fri 4/3/09 Kawasaki, Japan Club Chitta Sat 4/4/09 Tokyo, Japan Shinkiba Studio Court Sun 4/5/09 Nagoya, Japan Club Diamond Hall Tue 4/7/09 Fukuoka, Japan Drum Logos Wed 4/8/09 Osaka, Japan Nanba Hatch Thu 4/9/09 Hiroshima, Japan Club Quatro
YOU have to hand it to Paul Weller, after being in the business for all these years, the man can still put on one heck of a show.
With new album 22 Dreams and a back catalogue spanning 30 years, Weller had an awful lot to fit into Saturday’s amazing two-hour set.
The former Jam frontman was full of energy, strutting across the stage and stamping along to the beat.
Cherry-picking classics from his Style Council days such as Shout To The Top sent the crowd into a frenzy. But it was Jam numbers that brought the house down. Eton Riffles sent the audience wild and a full-scale sing-a-long was in motion. That’s Entertainment was another highlight.
New songs Sea Spray, Push It Along and Invisible were well received and sat easily alongside his solo hits Broken Stones, Wild Wood and Changing Man.
At the penultimate song, a big screen showing harrowing footage of 9/11, then more generalised images of war, loomed over audience.
ARM windmilling above his head, the Modfather clips out the glittering guitar chords of a sensational Peacock Suit.
“I’m Narcissus in a puddle,” he croons. “Nemesis in a muddle.”
With guitarist Steve Craddock and the rest of the band on blazing form behind him, it’s a moment to savour.
Just a few minutes into this incredible show and it’s already shaping up to be something spectacular.
“Friday night in Glasgow,” he grins broadly. “Yes please...”
Closing in on the end of a world tour to promote the stunning 22 Dreams LP, Weller is at the peak of his powers.
That signature voice has never sounded better and it’s clear he’s having a ball as he delivers a dazzling display that draws from every phase of his career.
An electric version of current single Sea Spray is an early highlight, the intimate acoustic balladry of the original transformed by a stomping beat into a jubilant anthem. Straight after, he turns up the thrills by telling the fans: “We’re going to …
The Modfather Delights Audience! Paul Weller Cements Reputation As One Of UK’s Finest.
NATIONAL treasure, the Modfather and the man who sensationally disbanded The Jam when they were seemingly at the peak of their powers.
Paul Weller’s three-decade career in the music business means he is different things to different generations.
The fortysomethings in last night’s audience at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre’s Press and Journal Arena still remember him as the archetypal young man from the post-punk era of Going Underground and Down in the Tube Station at Midnight.
For the Britpop generation he remains a patron of the chief torch-bearers of the nation’s return to its love affair with guitar music, Oasis and the brothers Gallagher.
Even the youngsters have to admit that this time Dad’s right, Weller has penned some cracking tunes over the years.
Now nearing 50 and revered as one of the finest songsmiths the UK has ever produced, Weller has experienced severa…
Courtesy Of Dean Clarke Peacock Suit Out Of The Sinking 22 Dreams The Changingman Eton Rifles All I Wanna Do (Is Be With You) From The Floorboards Up Sea Spray Shout To The Top Porcelain Gods Picking Up Sticks Wishing On A Star Have You Made Up Your Mind? Push It Along One Bright Star Empty Ring 111 Light Nights Butterfly Collector That's Entertainment Wild Wood Echoes Round The Sun
You've got to hand it to the old boy. Even after all these years, Paul Weller still hasn't lost his edge, his ability to shock. On the penultimate song we were suddenly staring at graphic images of 9/11 - and fleetingly it seemed that Weller had lapsed into the most appalling error of taste.
But then, more generalised images of war gave way to a succession of images of great peace movement figures (Gandhi, JFK, Lennon et al), focusing in on their wise words - words the world has unwisely ignored.
Shock turned to admiration. OK, he was probably preaching to a fairly peaceful audience (it seems unlikely he dissuaded anyone from murder that night) but well done, Weller. Anyone with a platform who uses it to speak up for peace gets my vote.
And that's on top of a blindingly-brilliant two hour set.
Weller is simply the best, drawing on a magnificent 30-year back catalogue and - sure sign of…
Peacock Suit Out Of the Sinking Shadow of The Sun 22 Dreams The Changing Man All I Wanna Do (Is Be With You) From The Floorboards Up Sea Spray Shout To The Top Porcelain Gods Picking Up Sticks Wishing On A Star Have You Made Up Your Mind Push It Along You Do Something To Me One Bright Star Empty Ring Lite Nights / 111 Butterfly Collector That's Entertainment Wild Wood Echoes Round The Sun Come On Lets Go
Broken Stones Whirlpools End Town Called Malice (with Phil Jupitus)
When I discovered the magic of music Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane (1967)
This was the first time I had heard music that made me sit up and think, 'This is something else.' I was nine, so I didn't know anything about psychedelic music or acid; it just sounded so different, so otherworldly. From then on, I lived and breathed music. I watched Top of the Pops every week, playing air guitar in front of the TV. I would be on plastic guitar and a mate would be on biscuit tins, drumming. That was it, really. Then my dad bought me a guitar at 12 and at 14 I was playing gigs in working men's clubs in Woking.
When we got the Jam together Down by the Jetty - Dr Feelgood (1975)
At first we only played Beatles covers, Chuck Berry and Little Richard, not only because we loved that kind of music but because the songs only have three chords. The rock'n'roll influence comes through my mum, a big Elvis fan, and then through Dr Feelgood. This album's menacing, edgy sound wa…
In an exclusive BBC4 session filmed at BBC Television Centre, Paul Weller performs numbers from his double album 22 Dreams, hits from throughout his solo career including From The Floorboards Up and Peacock Suit, plus a couple of classics from The Jam's back catalogue.
Weller performs with his regular five piece band and is joined on some numbers by The Wired Strings and a brass section. He also has special guests, including Oasis guitarist Gem Archer on Echoes Round The Sun, fiddle player Eliza Carthy on Wild Wood and Where O er You Go, and former Blur guitarist Graham Coxon on Black River.
1. 14 Nov 2008 21:00 BBC Four 2. 14 Nov 2008 22:30 BBC HD 3. 15 Nov 2008 01:10 BBC Four
14 Nov 2008 22:00 BBC Four
Documentary looking at the 30-year career of Paul Weller, who tells his own story with the input of those who know him. Using unseen photos and archive footage, it covers his upbringing in Woking, his years with The J…