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Paul Weller - The Hit Parade

Paul Weller, The Hit Parade

Review by Jack Foley

IT’S been a busy time for Paul Weller releases. Just a few weeks ago, he put out Catch Flame, his live recording from last year’s dates at Alexandra Palace, and in the next few weeks, he’ll be putting out a number of one-off single releases beginning with Wild Blue Yonder on the same day as this career retrospective.

What’s so special about this, however, is that it’s the first ever total career-spanning collection of his music, assembled across four CDs.

Its release coincides with the broadcast of a BBC commissioned full-length documentary covering the length of the Modfather’s long career, including newly-shot, in-depth interview footage, extremely rare performances and personal materials alongside interviews with key players from the last 30 years.

A 1-disc CD version is presented in a standard jewel case complete with a 24-page booklet and features 23 of the highlights of Weller’s career, from The Eton Rifles and Town Called Malice to more recent fare such as From The Floorboards Up and Wild Wood. As such, it combines music from both the Jam and Style Council days, as well as his solo material.

But diehard fans are much better opting for the 4-disc version, which provides the definitive collection of all Weller’s singles – 67 tracks in total – as well as a dedicated Jam CD, a dedicated Style Council CD and two separate solo discs. There’s also a 60-page booklet complete with a full career overview from highly respected former NME writer and long-time Weller chronicler, Adrian Thrillis.

The audio releases will be complemented by a stand alone 2-disc DVD that gathers every single video from all three phases of his career.

Needless to say, it’s an eye and and ear-opening experience for anyone who hasn’t followed Weller’s career from the start, but who may have been impressed by some of his more recent offerings. Die-hard fans, equally, will be in a seventh Weller heaven.

It’s worth noting just how much the musician has adapted to the changing times, and how the often manic style of early tracks has been replaced by a more thoughtful approach to his songwriting. He is, in my opinion, now putting out some of the strongest material of his distinguished career.

Track listing:
Disc One

  1. In The City
  2. All Around The World
  3. The Modern World
  4. News Of The World
  5. David Watts
  6. ‘A’ Bomb In Wardour Street
  7. Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
  8. Strange Town
  9. When You’re Young
  10. The Eton Rifles
  11. Going Underground
  12. Dreams Of Children
  13. Start!
  14. That’s Entertainment
  15. Funeral Pyre
  16. Absolute Beginners
  17. Town Called Malice
  18. Precious
  19. Just Who Is The 5 O’Clock Hero
  20. The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)
  21. Beat Surrender

Disc Two

  1. Speak Like A Child
  2. Money Go Round Pts 1 & 2
  3. Long Hot Summer
  4. Solid Bond In Your Heart
  5. My Ever Changing Moods
  6. You’re The Best Thing
  7. Big Boss Groove
  8. Shout To The Top
  9. Walls Come Tumbling Down
  10. Come To Milton Keynes
  11. The Lodgers
  12. Have You Ever Had It Blue
  13. It Didn’t Matter
  14. Waiting
  15. Wanted
  16. Life At A Top People’s Health Farm
  17. How She Threw It All Away
  18. Promised Land

Disc Three

  1. Into Tomorrow
  2. Uh Huh Oh Yeh
  3. Above The Clouds
  4. Sunflower
  5. Wild Wood
  6. The Weaver
  7. Hung Up
  8. Out Of The Sinking
  9. The Changingman
  10. You Do Something To Me
  11. Broken Stones
  12. Peacock Suit
  13. Brushed
  14. Friday Street
  15. Mermaids

Disc Four

  1. Brand New Start
  2. He’s The Keeper
  3. Sweet Pea, My Sweet Pea
  4. It’s Written In The Stars
  5. Leafy Mysteries
  6. The Bottle
  7. Wishing On A Star
  8. Thinking Of You
  9. Early Morning Rain
  10. Floorboards Up
  11. Come On Let’s Go
  12. Here’s The Good News
  13. Blink And You’ll Miss It