Paul Weller has been in the public eye ever since he emerged as an angst-ridden teenager with The Jam. Throughout his spectacular career, Weller has veered into different sonic lanes and has an innate ability to never stay in the same place so long.
These contrasting eras of Weller mean more to different people, and he’s always had his finger on the pulse when it comes to timing, with The Modfather moving on to ventures new before things get stale. His youthful anger with The Jam made him the voice of a generation, and rather than milking the gravy train, Weller took a left-run by moving into the world of neo-soul with The Style Council.
Never resorting to the safe option, Weller’s bravery is often reflected within his music taste. His list of favourite tracks celebrates innovators rather than those who instead followed the pack. Weller’s music preference is vintage, paying homage to the true creators that helped inspire different stages of his varied career.
In 2007, Weller made an appearance on the much-celebrated institution, Desert Island Discs. The BBC Radio 4 programme has been a cornerstone of culture since Ray Plomlye created it in 1942. Everybody from Prime Ministers to Hollywood A-Listers have sat in the hot seat at Broadcasting House to reveal the eight songs they would choose for their company if stranded on a desert island.
Weller’s first choice is ‘Tin Soldier’ from The Small Faces. Explaining his decision, he tells host Kirsty Young: “If I had to pick one band from that era, I guess it’s them. I just love everything about them. They look like a proper band. They are all the same size; I liked the way they looked, the way they sound. They look like a proper group. There’s so few group’s like that these days, and sound like it as well.”
Another artist Weller picked out to accompany him on a desert island is James Brown and his track ‘Don’t Be a Drop Out’, who has been a stark influence on the soulful periods of his career. “I could have chosen the more obvious, funky James Brown tracks, but this has got its own sort of funk,” Weller commented.
The late jazz pianist, Charles Mingus, is another artist of which Weller admires greatly, and his track ‘Better Get Hit in Yo’ Soul’ will be joining The Modfather on the island. “It’s soulful and funky, and he’s a great composer; it’s not just all about soloists,” the former Jam singer commented.
When Kirsty Young sprung it upon Weller at the end, if he could only save one record out of his eight selections from the tide, the singer arduously answered: “Out of loyalty The Small Faces, musically Nick Drake.” After being pressed by the host, Weller showed his loyalty by sticking with the band who opened his horizons and made him want to form The Jam.
Check out the full playlist, below.
Paul Weller’s eight favourite songs
- The Small Faces – ‘Tin Soldier’
- Dinah Washington – ‘September in the Rain’
- Charles Mingus – ‘Better Get Hit in Yo’ Soul’
- James Brown – ‘Don’t Be a Drop Out’
- Branford Marsalis with the English Chamber Orchestra – ‘Arabesque No 1’
- Declan O’Rourke – ‘Galileo (Someone Like You)’
- Nick Drake – ‘River Man’
- Roscoe – ‘That’s Enough’