By John Curley
Goldmine gave you Paul Weller's 15 greatest songs, from The Jam to The Style Council, and now we are going to expand on that and give you The Modfather's five most noteworthy collaborations, from Peter Gabriel to the music of Stone Foundation.
Here are our picks:
Song: “And Through The Wire” (Peter Gabriel solo track)
Album: Peter Gabriel (third solo album, 1980)
For the track “And Through The Wire,” Peter Gabriel recruited Paul Weller, who had been recording nearby with The Jam, to play the guitar part because he thought that Weller’s aggressive playing style would work well on the recording.
“And Through The Wire” can be heard below:
Song: “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (Band Aid single, 1984)
It was a one-off single to raise funds for famine relief in Africa.
In the documentary Long Hot Summers: The Story of The Stye Council, Weller admitted that he didn’t like the song but understood the importance of it. On the day of the recording session in London in November 1984, Weller was famously photographed walking to the studio after taking the London Underground while many of the other stars involved rode in limos to the session. Among the other artists involved with the recording were Bono, George Michael, Phil Collins, Sting, Paul Young, Bananarama, Jody Watley, Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet, members of Duran Duran, Boy George and Status Quo’s Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi. The song, written by Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats and Midge Ure of Ultravox, led to the Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia in July 1985. Weller participated in the London show with The Style Council.
The music video for Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” can be seen below:
Song: “Don’t Go To Strangers” (duet by Weller and Amy Winehouse)
The performance of “Don’t Go To Strangers” aired on the 2006 New Year’s Eve Hootenanny broadcast of BBC-TV’s Later with Jools Holland. Weller played piano and traded off on the lead vocal with Winehouse. They were backed by Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. The song was the title track to the 1960 album by the American jazz vocalist Etta Jones. The song’s lyrics were written by Redd Evans and the music was composed by Arthur Kent and Dave Mann.
The performance of “Don’t Go To Strangers” by Weller and Winehouse can be seen below:
Songs: “Back In The Game” and “Your Balloon Is Rising” (Stone Foundation tracks)
Album: Street Rituals (Stone Foundation album produced by Weller, 2017)
Stone Foundation’s Street Rituals album was recorded at Weller’s Black Barn Studios in Surrey, England. On the album by the powerhouse British soul band, Weller, who has worked with the band several times, produced it, appears on every track and sang on two of them. On the outstanding soul tune “Back In The Game,” Weller shares the lead vocal with Stone Foundation lead vocalist and guitarist Neil Jones. Weller does the lead vocal on wonderfully soulful and bluesy “Your Balloon Is Rising.”
The music video for “Back In The Game” can be seen below:
The music video for “Your Balloon Is Rising” can be viewed below:
Song: “Ooh Do U Fink U R” (single by Weller and Suggs, 2022)
A standalone single released earlier this month, “Ooh Do U Funk U R” teams Weller with long-time friend and musical contemporary Suggs (Graham McPherson), lead vocalist with the British band Madness. The song, a jaunty ditty with punchy horns that was recorded at Weller’s Black Barn Studios, was inspired by what the teachers of Weller and Suggs would say to them to put them in their place when both were students in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
When Weller, then 19, was taking part in The Jam’s first USA tour in October 1977, he appeared on NBC-TV’s Tomorrow with Tom Snyder while in Los Angeles and said the following about his teachers: “I remember things like school. Constantly, the teachers are telling you what they’ve learned in the past years and how they fought the war for you. For which I’m very grateful. But I’ve got things to tell them as well. So now, I’m doing it.”
The music video for “Ooh Do U Fink U R” can be seen below:
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