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Paul Weller

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AboutBorn in 1958 and raised in Woking, Paul Weller formed The Jam at 14, who were influenced by The Beatles, Amen Corner and The Small Faces. In 1976 after hearing The Who's 'My Generation' and seeing The Sex Pistols play London's Lyceum, Weller found the direction he was looking for and established the blueprint for what would be Britain's biggest band for the next five years.

From the release of their debut album 'In The City' through the seminal 'Down In The Tube Station' and 'That's Entertainment' and the classic straight-in-at-number one singles 'Going Underground', 'A Town Called Malice' and 'Beat Surrender', The Jam were a huge critical and commercial success. Weller penned a succession of songs, brilliantly reflecting his audiences experiences, until in 1982, convinced he'd taken the group as far as he could, he split The Jam to form The Style Council.

Radically different to The Jam, The Style Council, incorporated touches of jazz, r'n'b, funk & soul, meshing with Weller's pop instincts. A string of classic singles from 'Long Hot Summer', 'You're The Best Thing' and 'Shout To The Top' to 'Life At A Top Peoples Health Farm' were evocative anthems of 80's Britain.

In 1989, heavily influenced by the dance/house sound, The Style Council completed their fifth album, but when the work was rejected by their record company, the band split. Ironically, said record company were later to celebrate the work of The Style Council in a box set release which includes the lost final album.

Following the computer programming, studio-based sound of The Style Council, Paul spent the next two years re-inventing himself. He returned to his roots, going back to the live-based, raw guitar sound and began work on his own solo album, eventually signing to Go! Discs. His eponomously titled album went straight into the Top Ten. In the US 'Paul Weller' outsold all previous work by The Jam and The Style Council.

While his first solo album had firmly established Paul Weller as a potent solo artist, the second album, 1994's 'Wild Wood', was to see him hailed as one of the finest British songwriters of the last three decades, being seen to many as the English equivalent of Neil Young. 'Wild Wood' was nominated for the 1994 Mercury Music Prize, saw him winning a Brit Award for Best Male Solo Artist and went on to sell 2 x platinum. He was also honoured with an Ivor Novello Award for his outstanding contribution to songwriting.

1995 found Paul Weller riding high on a heady mix of popularity and critical acclaim leading up to the release of 'Stanley Road'. With the year already heralding further awards with a second Best Male Artist at the Brits, two NME Brat awards - one for Best Solo Artist, and the other for his all important live work. Celluloid achievements included a film documentary 'Highlights and Hang-Ups', the first ever 'Later With Jools Holland' TV Special, and an accompanying 'Live Wood' video of 1994's live CD of the same name.

'Stanley Road' managed to even outstrip 'Wild Wood' in its critical acclaim and sales which, after going in straight at No 1 and spending more than 12 months in the UK Top 20 - and included 4 Top 20 hit singles - went onto become 4 x platinum status.

By the release of Paul's next album, his career path had reached a rather auspicious milestone. As of May 1997, he had spent two decades as a record-releasing artist, a statistic marked by the release of a gleaming box-set and the requisite salutes to his first group.

In many other cases, of course, the celebrations would have an uncomfortably hollow ring, throwing an undoubted decline in standards into sharp relief. How many talents, after all, can claim to be burning with admirable intensity after twenty years? By that point, most have either lapsed into self-parodic cabaret or long since disappeared.

The summer of 1997 saw the release of 'Heavy Soul', Paul's fourth studio album. Following the phenomenal success of 'Stanley Road', anticipation for the release was high. The album arrived harder, bolder than it's predecessors, the explanation possibly coming from the nomadic working practices that were adopted. Never one to use the same method twice, Paul worked in seven different studios, never being in one place for more than four or five days. The backdrop to the album's creation was not a harmonious one. Go! Discs - Paul's home since 1992's 'Paul Weller' album, and the company he had always credited with being in line with his musical vision - was closed down leading him into a period of uncertainty that was eventually resolved by a move to Island records. Secondly, his inner circle of musicians was forced to change when guitarist Steve Cradock and bassist Damon Minchella, who had been with him since 'Wild Wood' days, took the inevitable step of devoting their full-time attention to their own band, Ocean
Colour Scene. The album was played live at the now annual outdoor live London event as well as the regular tours round the country. The previous summer saw him headline 'Lazy Sunday Afternoon' at Finsbury Park and this year he would play Crystal Palace at 'A Day At The Races'. The album sold more than any other first week and would spawn four Top 40 singles. A never before done stunt to announce the release of 'Heavy Soul' saw Paul playing on the roof of the Southbank Centre on the banks of the River Thames creating huge crowds to the free show.

Not only was this a 20 year anniversary, it was also time to acknowledge that for the third time in his career, Paul's new incarnation as a solo artist had been a brilliant success. 1998 saw the release of 'Modern Classics', a best of, collection of his solo singles. The name being all the more pertinent as it could be shortened to 'Mod Class'. It included the 16 singles to date plus the additional new song 'Brand New Start', another Top 20 hit. This summer he would again play outdoors to 30,000 plus people in East London's Victoria Park with a full day's line-up including special guests, the late Ian Dury & The Blockheads. The set would celebrate the solo career to date with a greatest hits set to tie-in with the best of album.

Ever the prolific songwriter, after the longest period of quiet since the start of his solo career, Weller was back a with new album. It wouldn't be until April 2000 that new studio record, 'Heliocentric' would arrive. Following the disappointing critical appreciation of it's predecessor, 'Heliocentric' would again see him heralded as one of a kind, the greatest recording artist of his generation. Written and recorded in the run-up to the end of a decade in which he re-established himself as a potent force on the UK music scene, the new album was a striking collection of reflections and restatements on life and principles.

Many people would see Paul playing live over the summer with festival appearances, tours and the major London live event - this time a run up to Christmas with the 'Ideal Pop Exhibition' at Earl's Court, almost selling out the 30,000 tickets before a full day's supporting cast were announced. Following the release of 'Heliocentric' would see the end of the Island records relationship and onto a new label in the form of independiente and back into the hands of the boss of Go! Discs.

There were rumours at the time that this would be his final studio effort, but these proved unfounded when he released the No. 1 hit album Illumination in September 2002, preceded by yet another top 10 hit single "It's Written In The Stars". Between these two albums he had also released a second successful live album, 2001's Days Of Speed, which contained live acoustic versions from his world tour of the same name. The LP included some of his best-known songs from his solo career and the back catalogues of his Jam and Style Council days. Weller had again found himself without a record contract and the tour provided him with the opportunity to view his works as one back catalogue.

In 2004 Weller released an album of covers entitled Studio 150. It debuted at No. 2 in the UK charts and included Bob Dylan's, "All Along the Watchtower". The album also contained the singles "The Bottle" originally performed by Gil Scott Heron, "Wishing On A Star" by Rose Royce, "Thinking Of You" by Sister Sledge and "Early Morning Rain" by Gordon Lightfoot. This was a limited edition, coloured vinyl only, double A-sided 7", along with a cover of The Beatles' "Come Together".

His 2005 album As Is Now featured the singles "From The Floorboards Up", "Come On/Let's Go" and "Here's The Good News". Weller released a double live album titled Catch-Flame! on June 12, 2006, with songs from both his solo work and his career with The Jam and The Style Council.

In late 2006, the album Hit Parade was released. This collected together all the singles released by the Jam, Style Council and Weller during his solo career. Two versions of this album were released: a single disc with a selection from each stage of his career, and a four disc limited edition, which included every single released and came with a 64- page booklet. However, the album did not include the new "Wild Blue Yonder" single, which was released on the same day.

The double album 22 Dreams was released on 2 June 2008, with "Echoes Round The Sun" as the lead single. Weller had parted company with his existing band before the recording this album, replacing everyone except guitarist Steve Cradock with Andy Lewis on bass, Andy Crofts of The Moons on keys and Steve Pilgrim of The Stands on drums. This album saw Weller move in a more experimental direction, taking in a wide variety of influences including jazz, folk and tango as well as the pop-soul more associated with his Style Council days. Weller also featured on two songs from The Moons' album "Life on Earth", playing piano on "Wondering" and lead guitar on "Last Night on Earth".

Weller was the surprise recipient of the 2009 BRIT award for "Best Male Solo Artist", which resulted in controversy when it was discovered that a suspiciously high number of bets had been placed for Weller to win the award, for which James Morrison was T4's favourite. It was reported that the bookmakers had lost £100,000 in the event, and that as a result would not be taking bets for the awards in the future.

In 2009, Weller guested on Dot Allison's 2009 album, Room 7½, co-writing "Love's Got Me Crazy". November and December also saw him on tour, playing shows across the country.

On 24 February 2010, Weller received the Godlike Genius Award at the NME Awards. His 2010 album, Wake Up the Nation, was released in April to critical acclaim, and was subsequently nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. The album also marked his first collaboration with The Jam's bassist Bruce Foxton in 28 years. In May 2010, Weller was presented with the Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement award, saying "I've enjoyed the last 33 years I've been writing songs and hopefully, with God's good grace, I'll do some more."

On 8 November 2012, Weller announced that he would release the Dragonfly EP on 17 December 2012, a limited edition vinyl run of 3000 copies. On 22 November 2011, Weller announced his eleventh studio album "Sonik Kicks", which was released on 19 March 2012.

Weller provided vocals on The Moons' 2012 single Something Soon. In December 2012, Weller headlined the Crisis charity gig at the Hammersmith Apollo, where he performed with Emeli Sande, Miles Kane and Bradley Wiggins. On 23 March 2013, Paul Weller played drums on stage with Damon Albarn, Noel Gallagher and Graham Coxon, playing the Blur track "Tender". This was played as part of the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts curated by Noel Gallagher.

His current band line-up consists of Steve Cradock, Andy Lewis, Andy Crofts, Steve Pilgrim and Ben Gordelier.

In 2014, Weller wrote Let Me In for Olly Murs's fourth album Never Been Better.

In May 2015, Weller revealed dates for a West Coast Tour of the USA to promote the Saturn's Pattern album. The tour was scheduled to run from 9 June to 9 October.

In January 2017 he made a cameo appearance in "The Final Problem", the final episode of series four of the BBC TV series Sherlock.

Soon after the formation of The Style Council, Weller and Dee C. Lee, The Style Council's backing singer, began a romantic relationship. The couple married in 1987 and divorced in 1998. They have two children, Leah and Nathaniel (Natt), who is also a working musician and once appeared on stage with his father at Hammersmith Apollo at age 12.

Weller has another daughter, Dylan, by a short-lived relationship with a make-up artist called Lucy.

Weller became involved with Samantha Stock whilst he was recording at the Manor studios in the mid-1990s. They have two children together: Jesamine (born 2000) and Stevie Mac (born 2005).

In October 2008, Stock and Weller broke up and Weller moved in with Hannah Andrews, a backing singer on his 22 Dreams album, who has also toured with his band. They married in September 2010 on the Italian island of Capri. The couple have twin boys, John Paul and Bowie, who were born on 14 January 2012. In 2014, Weller won £10,000 in damages from Associated Newspapers after "plainly voyeuristic" photographs of his family out shopping were published on Mail Online.

On 24 April 2009, John Weller, Paul Weller's father and long-time manager since the days of The Jam, died from pneumonia at the age of 77.

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