From The Beatles to Tame Impala: The Modfather Paul Weller lists his 13 favourite albums of all time
The incredible influence of Paul Weller, the former leading man of punk outfit The Jam and known to many as the Modfather, is an artist has never stood still.
Known by all in the industry as a serial trailblazer, Weller never wanted to be held back by any genre or any other’s definition. With so much influence on modern music attributed to the Modfather, we were thrilled to find this list of his own favourite albums.
Compiled by the good folk over at The Quietus, and in particular Mat Colegate, in 2015 the list explores some of Weller’s own influences as well as tipping his hat to some more modern stars. He finds room on the list for everyone from the Kinks and David Bowie to Laura Marling and Noel Gallagher.
The list and the complimenting words from Weller show him off as the legend we all know. Not content to sit and play favourites with British legends, the singer shows off his notorious modesty and a keen ear for the modern sounds.
We loved it so much that we have created a brand new list of all the albums in one handy playlist.
Take a listen below, but first, read up on why Paul Weller found this list of alums irresistible.
Paul Weller’s 13 favourite albums:
Hotel Shampoo – Gruff Rhys
First up for Weller is Hotel Shampoo, the third solo album by Welsh musician and Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys.
Released in 2011 and featuring the popular singles ‘Shark Ridden Waters’, Sensations In The Dark’ and more, the record also marked collaborations with the likes of Sarah Assbring and Miles Kane.
“He’s such a talent, that fella,” Weller said. “I’m a massive fan of him and the Super Furries. He’s always trying something different. He just follows his nose and sees where it takes him.”
Bryter Layter – Nick Drake
Stepping back to 1971, Weller opts for a Nick Drake effort in Bryter Layter as his next choice. “I was torn between this and Five Leaves Left, which is more acoustic,” he explained. “But Bryter Layter just has great pop songs. Great playing as well. It’s a shame that he never caught people’s attention at the time.”
The record, similarly to Five Leaves Left, contains no unaccompanied songs and features collaborations with the likes of John Cale, Mike Kowalski, Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg and more.
Odessey And Oracle – The Zombies
Arriving as the second studio album by English rock band the Zombies, Odessey And Oracle was originally released in 1968 and recorded over a three month period at Abbey Road Studios and Olympic Studios in London.
“In my mind, it conjures up those crisp autumn days,” Weller said of the record. “The first time I ever heard this record wasn’t at the time [of release], it was a few years later. They put it out as part of a double album.
“That was the first time me and my mate [and early Jam member] Steve Brookes heard it. Steve lived near Woking Park and it was autumn time, so I guess that’s always been part of it for me in terms of the sensations that it brings up.”
Revolver – The Beatles
Given his love for The Beatles, the addition of the Fab Four will be the least surprising selection here. “I was half tempted to put in all of The Beatles’ albums,” Weller said.
“It’s really hard for me to pick one because I fucking love all of them. They mean so much to me. I think Revolver, because it pointed the way forward. It’s interesting that ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, which still sounds like something that’s coming from the future, was the first song that they started work on.”
Revolver, the now-iconic seventh studio album by The Beatles, included hits such as ‘Taxman’, ‘Yellow Submarine’, ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and more.
Live – Donny Hathaway
Up next, the first live album of the list.
Live, the 1972 live album by iconic soul artist Donny Hathaway, was recorded at two live shows. The first, an effort at The Troubadour in Hollywood. On side two, recordings of a show at The Bitter End in Greenwich Village, Manhattan.
“I love the playing on it,” Weller said. “I think it’s Willie Weeks who plays the bass on that record and he does a bass solo, which is never the most interesting thing, but he just plays on one note for ages and it’s great. But it’s all about Donny’s voice and his playing. I don’t know how recognised he is but for me he’s up with the greats.”
Lonerism – Tame Impala
Enter Tame Impala, themost modern offering in Weller’s favourite album list so far.
The record, the second studio album by the Australian pop-psyche outfit, was written, recorded, performed, and produced by Kevin Parker.
“He’s a great talent, I think, Kevin Parker,” Weller said. “I’ve loved all of his records so far. That whole little scene he’s involved in as well, with Melody’s Echo Chamber and Pond. You can see where his influences are from but it still sounds contemporary to me. It couldn’t be made at any other time.”
Once I Was An Eagle – Laura Marling
Fronted by the brilliatn lead single ‘Master Hunter’, Laura Marling’s fourth studio album Once I Was An Eagle enters the foray.
“I think it’s her masterpiece. I’ve liked most of her records but this is just fantastic,” Weller said. “The first three or four songs are almost like a suite, they just run into each other. It’s got that dark intensity. She’s a real talent.”
“I’m really proud of that album,” Marling told Drowned in Sound of the album. “It might be the album I’ll be most proud of forever.”
A Love Supreme – John Coltrane
Deviating away from some of the material we’ve had so far, Weller has selected A Love Supreme by jazz saxophonist John Coltrane.
“I love all of his stuff from A Love Supreme onwards,” Weller said. “I love the whole spiritual nature of those tunes. Love Supreme was his hymn to god and it sounds like it.
“It’s constantly influential and inspiring.”
A Love Supreme was originally in 1965 and instantly became Coltrane’s bestselling albums and one of his most critically acclaimed.
I Talk With The Spirits – Roland Kirk
Up next, I Talk with the Spirits, the 1965 album by Roland Kirk.
Famously, on this album, Kirk only plays flutes and decides to opt against the saxophone. “I love Roland Kirk’s stuff, it’s always got these mad quirky bits in it, a bit like Mingus or like Monk, but very unique to him,” Weller said. “It’s a really sweet record, really beautiful, and again it has a link to nature and spirituality. It’s deep but it has a lot of humour.
“Charming arrangements and melodies and a real lightness of touch. I love all those things where you hear him growl on the flute or shout or let off one of his conches.”
For those perhaps unfamilair with the work of Roland Kirk, this album remains famous as being the first appearance of the song ‘Serenade to a Cuckoo’.
Electric Warrior – T-Rex
Next, we have the second studio album by English rock band T. Rex.
“I liked [Marc Bolan] at the time and I bought his records probably up until Electric Warrior. I wasn’t a massive fan, but I was aware of him and I liked his music,” Weller explained. “He was an original mod as well and in John’s Children, which was quite punky in a way. He’s quite underrated. I was checking his guitar playing on Electric Warrior a few months ago and I was like, ‘Fucking hell, he’s really unique’.”
As many T-Rex fans will know, Electric Warrior arrived as a major turning point for the band who moved away from elements of folk and into one of electric rock and roll which would later be classified as glam rock.
Chasing Yesterday – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
In somewhat controversial circumstances, Weller has avoided Oasis and focused instead on the band’s principle songwriter Noel Gallagher.
“I could have chosen an Oasis record, but if I’m really honest I think this record and the one before are his best work,” he said. “I don’t want to piss on anyone’s parade but I think the songs here are fucking great. It’s very clever to be able to write something anthemic. It’s not easy and he just seems to roll them out.”
Chasing Yesterday arrived as the second studio album by Noel Gallagher and his new band, a time when the musician was forging a prolific path away from his former group.
Face To Face – The Kinks
A record famed for a significant style change for The Kinks also marked a majorly turbulent period for lead singer Ray Davies who suffered a nervous breakdown prior to the recording sessions.
“For me it could be every Kinks A-side from 1964 to 1969,” Weller said. “Just an amazing run of the most fantastic pop songs.”
Adding: “Face To Face has some fabulous songs on it. It’s almost a concept record. I don’t think there’s any lyrical theme to it, but it’s very complete, which a lot of their records weren’t before. What a writer, I can’t say how much influence [Ray Davies] has had on me. The artistry of condensing all those ideas into a little three-minute song is just fantastic. I’m always still knocked out by that.”
Low – David Bowie
Last but certainly not least, the great David Bowie enters the list.
Low, the critically acclaimed the 11th studio album, was first released in 1977 and included a number of now-iconic Bowie efforts such as ‘Sound and Vision’, ‘Breaking Glass’, ‘Speed of Life’ and more.
“I bought all of Bowie’s records from Hunky Dory onwards, up until Scary Monsters. I thought every record was fantastic, just groundbreaking,” Weller said.
“Whether or not I liked the music, I still respected the fact it was out there and different.”