Paul Weller’s life turned kaleidoscopic when he bought his first Beatles record as a child. It started a love affair with music that led to him begging his dad to buy him a guitar, and before he knew it, Weller was starting to play working men’s clubs in his hometown.
A lot has changed throughout his career, but his love of The Beatles has never waned. Famously, Weller prefers to stay focussed on looking forward and restricts his glances over his shoulder to a bare minimum. These contrasting eras of Weller mesh together to portrait a decorated picture of the career of ‘The Changing Man’, whether it’s soul, or psychedelia, or even proto-punk. You name it, and he’s done it.
The Beatles had a similar chameleon-like ethos, and perhaps them being the first chapter of his adoration with music helps explain why Weller has refused to limit himself to one sonic lane. Just like ‘The Fab Four’ did, he’s got an ability to sniff out when something is on the brink of becoming stale and picking the right time to move on. and starts a new venture before he’s in danger of becoming yesterday’s news.
Out of all The Beatles albums that could have offered him an illuminating introduction into the group, Sgt. Peppers was perhaps the most mind-blowing experience imaginable, and it’s an album that continues to occupy his heart today.
“Sgt. Peppers was the first album I ever bought,” Weller told The Guardian. “I much preferred the Beatles when they dropped all their moptop nonsense and just became themselves. It was real. Musicians are just normal people, with good and bad points like everyone else. I don’t know why they always have to be perceived as either one extreme or the other.
He added, “The Beatles were never totally sweet, it was all a false image they tried to put across when they started. I could never do that. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to put across any image really. That’s why the press didn’t like the Jam when we first came out. They found us boring. We were too normal for them. At the same time, that’s why we had such a strong following – our fans liked us purely for the music.”
On another occasion, Weller acknowledged the huge impact that the double A-Side, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, and ‘Penny Lane’ had on him. “This was the first time I had heard music that made me sit up and think, ‘This is something else,'” the former Jam frontman said.
Buying your first record is a symbolic event in any music lovers life, but few can say that the vinyl they purchased was a seminal masterpiece on the scale of Sgt. Peppers by The Beatles. Furthermore, while our first album’s all start a love affair, only one person has gone on to become a colossal figure of the musical world named Paul Weller.