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Music

The one song Paul Weller wishes he wrote

Paul Weller has been prolific with the pen throughout his career and never stopped working. He’s created classics with The Jam, The Style Council, and as a solo artist, but there’s one song that evaded him that he wishes he wrote.

Weller has managed to age gracefully as an artist and forged a back catalogue reflective of his journey from an angry teenage punk to a soulful elder statesman of rock. Although a large part of his career has been associated with guitar music, the song he wishes he wrote is firmly from left-field and is an unexpected choice.

The Modfather has always loved a variety of genres, and in recent years, he’s become increasingly disassociated with the state of traditional bands. In 2017, he said: “I find it a bit insipid at the moment. I can’t think of any guitar bands, English bands anyway, at the moment.”

Therefore, it shouldn’t arrive as a surprise that Weller didn’t pick a song by a guitar band as the song he wishes he penned. Instead, the former Jam frontman picked out ‘Book of Rules’ by Jamaican reggae trio, The Heptones, which is an unexpected choice.

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The group is still operating today after forming in 1970 and has released over 20 albums since its formation. In the ’70s, they enjoyed a modicum of success, and The Heptones even signed a deal with Island Records, who released their albums Night Food and Party Time. Furthermore, they also toured with Toots & The Maytals.

In an interview with The Guardian, Weller was asked by Mercury-nominated singer-songwriter Jorja Smith, about the song he wishes he had written, which prompted the following response: “‘Book of Rules’ by the Heptones. I was singing it on the way coming down today, and it’s such a great song. I often feel like that about other people’s songs. Back when I was a kid, I would nick bits of them and write my own song! Now, I try not to do that. I try to get more inspired by them really.”

Weller then praised Smith’s musicianship and said: “I love Jorja’s voice. We met at the Albert Hall when we did a charity special there. She was really lovely. I don’t envy solo women in the music industry.

“It’s all on your shoulders. And then with touring, unless you’re bringing some friends with you, your girlfriends or whoever, you’re probably just going to be in a tour bus with a load of geezers.”

Listen below to ‘Book of Rules’ by The Heptones.