The World’s Greatest Paul Weller-related Books

I’ve had pleasure of talking to many fabulous authors on Desperately Seeking Paul – The Paul Weller Fan Podcast digging in to their stories, research and genuine love of The Jam / The Style Council / Paul Weller. If you’re looking for a guide to the best books around then you’ve come to the right place as here are some of my favourites from the podcast series so far with a few from my wish-list of potential guests for added spice!

Soul Deep – Adventures with the Style Council by Stuart Deabill, Ian Snowball & Steve Rowland

The Paul Weller Fan Podcast kicked off on Episode 1 with Stuart Deabill talking about the brilliant book Soul Deep – Adventures With The Style Council that he had created with Ian Snowball and Steve Rowland. At the time of recording we were a few months away from publication and I had just had a sneak preview of some PDFs which were amazing but what arrived a couple of month’s later blew my mind. A huge, heavy, fat, full-bodied, explorative, beautiful celebration of “probably the best pop group in the world” with words, images and love from former band members, fans and associates.

The book is now Sold Out – so you’ll need to hunt around for this one – but it’s highly recommended for the incredible photos and images from album & single artwork, the tour programmes, set-lists, fan photos, lyrics and design direction from Paul and for the interviews with Mick Talbot, Steve White, Camelle Hinds, Simon Halfon, Nicky Weller, Billy Bragg, Gary Crowley, Tracie Young, Dennis Munday, Zeke Manyika, Eddie Piller, Norman Jay MBE, Daniel Rachel, Wendy May, Mark Baxter, Brendan Lynch and many others.

A huge shout out to Deabs as without him this whole journey of ours may never have got underway. Keep an eye out here for more information on future projects.

EP01 – Stuart Deabill – Soul Deep (Adventures with The Style Council) – "Getcha mining soul deep – with a lesson in history…" Desperately Seeking Paul : Paul Weller Fan Podcast

Paul Weller – Sounds from the Studio by Ian Snowball

Ian ‘Snowy’ Snowball joined me for Episode 7 of the podcast – a conversation which resulted in me buying my first pair of Blakeseys monkey boots (true story – you’ll have to listen to find out why). Snowy has also co-authored the best-selling book That’s Entertainment: My Life In The Jam with Rick Buckler and wrote Thick as Thieves: Personal Situations with The Jam and Soul Deep – Adventures with the Style Council with Stuart.

Sounds from the Studio was first published in 2017, a year that marked the 40th anniversary of the start of Paul Weller’s recording career. In a really unique format, the book starts in 2015 with the release of what was then his most recent album Saturn’s Pattern (amazing to think we have had 4 studio albums since then) and then works backwards to the ground-breaking debut from The Jam – In the City. The book includes interviews with artists who have worked with Paul including Noel Gallagher, Steve Cradock, Sir Peter Blake, Mick Talbot, and both Rick Buckler and Bruce Foxton from The Jam as well as many of the studio hands, sleeve designers and interviews with members from Paul’s family. It’s a brilliant read for anyone who wants to get more out of the albums – think of it as a ‘making of’ story. You can buy the book here

EP07 – Ian Snowball – Sounds from the Studio Desperately Seeking Paul : Paul Weller Fan Podcast

The Modfather – My Life with Paul Weller by David Lines

David Lines runs at 100mph – his memories pour out of this podcast episode with a passion like no other. We’d be chatting for ages about recording a conversation in a pub, and then in a FiveLive BBC Studio, but the national pandemic’s and me trying to cope with a busy job, a couple of kids, and a huge number of edits meant we jumped on a Zoom call to record – but man alive I am so glad that we did – what a guest!

The Modfather story kicks off when David first heard This is the Modern World by The Jam, resulting in a love affair that continues to this day. Paul Weller became the blueprint for David’s life, and he followed his music and his style with the fervour of a truly devoted fan – to the bemusement of his long-suffering family. This book is hilariously funny, emotional, passionate and hugely engaging. Described as the story of what it means to have a hero, its pleasures and pitfalls. David cleverly uses landmark songs from The Jam and The Style Council, to map out the occasionally bizarre events in the life of an obsessive fan and wannabe writer. You can buy the book here

EP66 – David Lines -The Modfather – My Life with Paul Weller – ”Got a pen in my pocket, does it make me a writer? Putting on gloves don‘t make me a fighter…” Desperately Seeking Paul : Paul Weller Fan Podcast

Suburban 100 by Paul Weller with John Wilson

Suburban 100 is the first selection of Paul Weller’s lyrics – first published in 2007, revised in 2010 – which draws from his incredible back catalogue of songs written for The Jam, The Style Council and solo releases that, together, tell stories of life and love, rage and romance. It was fascinating hearing Broadcaster and Journalist John Wilson (who created the book with Paul) talk on Episode 63 of the podcast about it’s inception and how he spent red wine fuelled evenings with Paul, pouring over hundreds of printed out lyrics, scattered across the kitchen table to debate and select the ones that made the book. The youthful frustrations of small-town life that fuelled Weller’s early writing is palpable, as is the angry but poignant response to Thatcher’s Britain. His lyrics, rooted in English suburban culture, explore the hopes, dreams and crashing disappointments of ordinary people. They also revel in the mystical beauty of the English country landscape and repeatedly revisit dreamlike childhood summers. The book reads like a anthology of poetry and for the first time Paul shares reflections on his lyrics, offering candid insights to his writing process and the inspiration behind some of pop music’s best loved songs. You can buy the book here

EP63 – John Wilson – Broadcaster & Journalist – ”Like a perfect stranger, you came into my life” Desperately Seeking Paul : Paul Weller Fan Podcast

Into Tomorrow by Paul Weller – Photographs by Lawrence Watson

Into Tomorrow is Paul Weller’s visual chronicle of his solo career. Annotated with his own text captions, Weller retraces his steps in 800 mostly unseen images from his friend and photographer, Lawrence Watson. (A future podcast guest)

‘These are photos of how it is: life on the road, life on stage… the reality of it. When he’s with us, Lawrence becomes part of the band. We’re all on the same mission.’ – Paul Weller

For this book, Paul personally reviewed thousands of prints to decide the photographs that make up Into Tomorrow. His recording sessions are seen from an insider’s perspective, at work on albums such as Wild Wood. Similarly, his tours – from Amsterdam to New York and from the O2 to 100 Club. Shoots have produced album covers such as Modern Classics 1 and 2, As Is Now and Studio 150. Videos have included ‘The Changingman’ and ‘Out of the Sinking’.

‘Paul’s always very involved; he’s got a great eye.’ – Lawrence Watson

You can buy the book here

Walls Come Tumbling Down by Daniel Rachel

Daniel Rachel was a fabulous podcast guest on Episode 43 – funny, engaging, super-smart, a in-depth knowledge and love of his subject matter – what more could you ask for as a host? He’s one of those amazing guests who you can ask a question and ten minutes later he’s still replying, selecting the right words to bring you in to his stories, rising out of his seat as he shares his passion with you. Brilliant! Back in August, I got to meet Daniel at the launch of his fabulous Oasis: Knebworth book with Jill Furmanovsky (a future guest fingers crossed) and spent a bit of time in his company at the pub afterwards (with Simon Fowler from Ocean Colour Scene which was another highlight!) and he’s the real deal – genuine, warm, intelligent and every bit as passionate about his work in real life. The book Walls Come Tumbling Down charts the pivotal period between 1976 and 1992 that saw politics and pop music come together for the first time in Britain’s musical history; musicians and their fans suddenly became instigators of social change, and ‘the political persuasion of musicians was as important as the songs they sang’. Through the voices of campaigners, musicians, artists and politicians, Daniel Rachel follows the rise and fall of three key movements of the time: Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone, and Red Wedge, revealing how they all shaped, and were shaped by, the music of a generation. Not only does the title of the book come from The Style Council song, but so many of the stories cross over with Paul Weller during his Red Wedge time.
Composed of interviews with over a hundred and fifty of the key players at the time, Walls Come Tumbling Down is a fascinating, polyphonic and authoritative account of those crucial sixteen years in Britain’s history.

You can buy the book here

EP43 – Daniel Rachel – Musican-turned-award-winning author – "Governments crack and systems fall, 'cause unity is powerful…" Desperately Seeking Paul : Paul Weller Fan Podcast

Isle of Noises by Daniel Rachel

Isle of Noises : Conversations with Great British Songwriters features exclusive, in-depth conversations with twenty-seven of the UK’s greatest living musicians including Paul Weller, Johnny Marr, Chris Difford, Madness, Noel Gallagher, Jimmy Page and Damon Albarn. Each artist discusses their individual approach to writing, the inspiration behind their most successful songs, and the techniques and methods they have independently developed. Original handwritten lyrics from personal archives and notebooks (many never-before-seen) offer a unique glimpse into the heart of the creative process, and some of the greatest names in photography, including Jill Furmanovsky, Pennie Smith and Sheila Rock, have contributed stunning portraits of each artist.

The combination of individual personal insights and the breadth and depth of knowledge in their collected experience makes Isle of Noises the essential word on classic British songwriting – as told by the songwriters themselves.

You can buy the book here

Pop Art Poems – The Music of The Jam by Shaun Hand

Shaun Hand was another fabulous podcast guest on Episode 54 as we took a trip through The Jam’s evolution from In The City to The Gift and explored their musical legacy and how songs like ‘Down in the Tube Station at Midnight’, ‘Going Underground’, and ‘Town Called Malice’, resonate as much today as they did 40 plus years ago and are cited by each new generation as an inspiration.

First published in 2016, Pop Art Poems offers a fresh perspective on the band – running through song-by-song, from Paul Weller’s earliest compositions to their biggest hits – with every B-side and rarity included.

The original print run is now a rare collector’s item, but with this revised second edition for e-book, fans of The Jam and Paul Weller no longer need to scour eBay to enjoy one of the most definitive books about the best band in f**cking world.

You can buy the book here

EP54 – Shaun Hand – Pop Art Poems – The Music of The Jam ”Kid walks down the street – Bumps into emptiness – Pow!” Desperately Seeking Paul : Paul Weller Fan Podcast

Shout to the Top : an Inside Story – Dennis Munday

Record industry executive Dennis Munday was one of the first names to hit my wish-list for the podcast – a man who was there for The Jam and The Style Council – a must-have as far as I was concerned. A return to Facebook enabled me to track him down with no problem whatsoever. He’s often posting in the Weller forums or lending his opinion on debates and questions from fans. A Zoom call to Dennis in Italy, where he now lives, heard the inside story of The Jam and The Style Council by the man who oversaw their careers! (albeit with terrible wi-fi so the quality of the recording isn’t great but do stick with it). This book, first published in 2008, reveals the trials and triumphs of Paul Weller’s career as working for Polydor, Dennis became a regular presence at the two groups’ many recording sessions, effectively becoming an honorary member of the bands. Despite a sometimes stormy relationship with the band members – and eventually leaving Polydor – Munday was the vital link between Paul Weller and his record company for years. You can buy the book here

EP16 – Dennis Munday – on The Jam, The Style Council & Life at Polydor – "Oh baby I'm dreaming of Monday…" Desperately Seeking Paul : Paul Weller Fan Podcast

Mr Cools Dream – The Complete History of The Style Council by Iain Munn

Mr Cool’s Dream is recognised as the absolute guide on “probably the best pop group in the world.” It first appeared in 1996 before one of the world’s leading music stores, HMV, stepped in with an exclusive deal where they released a cutdown edition inside the 1998 Complete Adventures box set. Eight years later the mysterious and elusive Cappuccino Kid came out of retirement alongside many high profile Style Councillor’s to offer their stories in an updated edition. Paul Weller called it, “painstakingly accurate”; and Steve White, “the definitive record.” The 2014 edition was the most recent update, having been fully revised and updated with new features and interviews. Long out of print this is a collectors item with the challenge of getting 5 autographs (Paul, Mick, Dee, Steve + author, Iain Munn).

Paul by Andy Crofts Photography

August 2020 saw this fabulous book land from Weller bandmate Andy Crofts. Music and photography have always gone hand in hand for Andy. In his teens he discovered a passion for taking pictures and described it as a life changing feeling. On Episode 67 of the podcast, Andy shared stories of his few brief encounters with Paul through playing live, drunken texts and sending demos of his music to his first meeting in 2006 which subsequently led to Andy being asked to join Paul’s band in 2008. He’s been a permanent member ever since. Since joining the band he noticed that slowly and unintentionally he had gathered a collection of photographs of Paul that the world has never seen and for the first time from the perspective of a band member. This brilliant book showcases a collection of photographs from his fast paced travels with Paul.

This book is a series of natural observations, from over the years of travelling and being part of the Paul Weller band.

You can buy the book here

EP67 – Andy Crofts – Musician – Weller Bandmate – The Moons – ”I‘ve been travelling through a tunnel of time now I need to break away…” Desperately Seeking Paul : Paul Weller Fan Podcast

Modfather – Photography by Steve Rapport

At the time of writing, my conversation with Steve Rapport is the only one that has happened in two parts – it’s fair to say that Steve likes a chat – and we couldn’t fit it all in to one hour’s recording – there were so many brilliant tales from Red Wedge, The Style Council and Steve’s amazing photography career outside of the world of Weller. Dive in to listen below.

The Modfather Book – which spans the years 1981-1986 – came about after our conversation – and what a delight it is to see the images that Steve has pulled from his archive (more than 90) – including The Jam and The Style Council, photos from the Long Hot Summer & Lodgers videos and photos from the Red Wedge Tour of 1986.

Each copy of this self-published 2021 book is hand-signed by Steve. You can buy the book here

EP27 – Steve Rapport – Rock N Roll Photographer – "The palm trees sway, as a warm breeze blew, and the sun was high" Desperately Seeking Paul : Paul Weller Fan Podcast

Cover Stories by Bill Smith

Across five decades Bill Smith Studio worked with more than 200 bands and artists, creating hundreds of album covers, singles bags, and CD covers. You may not know it, but if you bought records over the past forty years, you’ve probably bought a number of theirs.

On Episode 39 of the podcast, I chatted with Bill about his work and his beautiful new book Cover Stories, hearing stories about the creation of album and single covers for The Jam from In The City to This is the Modern World to All Mod Cons, Setting Sons and Sound Affects along with work with the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, King Crimson, Eric Clapton, Toyah, Johnny Thunders, Genesis, Queen and Mike Oldfield.

In Cover Stories you’ll find the stories of 70 plus albums including contributions from the bands, the artists, photographers and painters involved. You can buy the book here

Jam Sessions – Photographs by Martyn Goddard

For avid consumers of Jam vinyl in the late seventies and early eighties, Martyn Goddard’s photographs need little introduction. His images appear on the cover of their first album, In The City, and their fifth, Sound Affects. In between, his photographs were used on the front covers of a flurry of picture sleeve singles: All Around The World, The Modern World, News of The World, David Watts/ ‘A’ Bomb in Wardour Street, Down in the Tube Station at Midnight, and finally Strange Town.

This is the first time that Martyn’s photographs of The  Jam have been gathered together and presented in a single volume. Many of the photographs in this book were uncovered by Martyn during a comprehensive review of his archives during the Covid-19 lockdown, and are being published for the first time. 

Published in 2021, this beautiful signed and numbered limited edition book features around 150 photographs and personal recollections from Martyn’s eight sessions with the Jam from 1977 to 1980. You can buy the book here

EP41 – Martyn Goddard – Photographer – Jam Sessions – "In echoed steps you walk across an empty dream…" Desperately Seeking Paul : Paul Weller Fan Podcast

From the Floorboards Up! By Jon Abnett

From the Floorboards Up! is a unique fans’ perspective photographic book following the icon that is Paul Weller, with a foreword by Roger Daltrey.

All the photos are from live events in the UK and overseas, taken from 1990 to 2019. It’s a very unique book, with narrative by Pat Gilbert (MOJO), interviews with fans and reflections from some bands lucky enough to have supported Paul on tour during those 30 years.
Compiled and designed by life-long fan Jon Abnett, From the Floorboards Up! Jon joined me on Episode 62 of the podcast to take a walk through the book and how it contains many unseen shots all taken by the fans!

You can buy the book here

EP62 – Jon Abnett – Designer / Author – From the Floorboards Up – ”When we play, we play, we play!” Desperately Seeking Paul : Paul Weller Fan Podcast

In The Crowd – The Jam Snapped! by Derek D’Souza

In The Crowd – The Jam Snapped! 40th Anniversary edition is the new limited edition hard back book by Derek D’Souza. With the discovery of new and unseen photos of the band, the team behind the Style Council book Soul Deep, teamed up with Derek to produce a 40th anniversary book in 2022.
The new hard back, larger format, high print spec edition features more pages and over 40 new and unseen photographs hand picked by Derek.
You can buy the book here

Cover to Cover by Simon Halfon

This book was another real highlight of 2021 for me – and I’d love to get Simon Halfon on the podcast one day to chat about his amazing work. Simon has been designing artwork since the 1980s, starting out at Stiff Records before setting up London and LA design studios in the 90s. Long standing clients included the late George Michael, Oasis and Paul Weller. I’m trying to think of a Style Council album or single cover artwork that wasn’t created (brilliantly) by Simon and can’t, so I figure he did them all but correct me if I am wrong, and Weller solo takes us from the design for that first LP through to Wild Wood, Heavy Soul and much more… For the first time Simon’s body of work was collated into an amazing coffee table book (now sold out) that celebrated the best of his record sleeves, design work and photography.
Keep an eye on this website for more info 

My Ever Changing Moods by John Reed

John Reed is a wish-list guest for future episodes. A former Research Editor of Record Collector magazine, he has interviewed many of Paul Weller’s friends and colleagues for this book which traces Paul’s career from his upbringing in Woking, through his years with The Jam and the difficulties he faced after it’s demise to his current status as one of Britain’s most respected performers and songwriters. The paperback edition was revised and updated in 2005 to take Paul’s story into the 21st century, covering his link-up with Branson’s V2 label, along with The Rolling Stones and lovingly compiled album of cover versions Studio 150. It chronicles the peaks and troughs of the three stages of Weller’s remarkable careers with many previously unpublished photographs. You can buy the book here

Magic: A Journal of Song by Paul Weller – Shipping worldwide Oct 2022

“Scratching around at home on an acoustic guitar, singing into my phone with these funny little rough ideas. All of a sudden, it turns into something beautiful or complete… it’s a fascinating thing. It’s magic.” — Paul Weller

In Magic: A Journal of Song, Paul Weller gives the first and definitive account of his illustrious songwriting career, recounting a lifetime of lyrics in Weller’s most candid and intimate commentary to date.  

As one of the most innovative and remarkable songwriters of the last fifty years, Paul Weller has proved to be the ultimate shapeshifter, moving from the Jam’s punk sensibilities to the genre-defying Style Council, and later through a remarkable 30-year solo career. Alongside Lennon and McCartney, Weller is one of few artists that has attained a UK number one album over five consecutive decades, and he’s also received career defining awards from the BRITs (Lifetime Achievement Award), NME Awards (Godlike Genius Award) and a GQ Award for Songwriter of the Year. 

The book chronicles a lifetime worth of lyrics with impressive clarity. We follow Weller through his upbringing on Stanley Road and founding the Jam in his teenage years, creating the Style Council alongside keyboardist Mick Talbot, and later into his 16-album solo career, including stories behind iconic albums such as Stanley Road and Wild Wood, as well as his latest album, Fat Pop Vol. 1

Magic presents 130 of Weller’s finest lyrics to date, accompanied by an illuminating commentary which sees him give unprecedented insight into his life and lyrics, as told to GQ editor and author, Dylan Jones OBE, in their first collaboration.

“Paul Weller has proved that he is not only beyond reproach, in some senses he is quite possibly without equal.” — Dylan Jones

“The thing I have discovered is that music in its truest sense is beyond any trend or movement or category.” — Paul Weller

Find out more here

Paul Weller – Days Lose Their Names and Time Slips Away 1992-95 by Lawrence Watson & Paolo Hewitt (out of print)

Published in 1995, this book came with a free CD including unique previously unreleased demo versions of some of Paul Weller’s best songs.
“Lawrence Watson is an acclaimed music photographer and accomplished video director. Three years ago, at Weller’s request, Lawrence began to photographically document the growth of a solo artist at a critical time in his career. This book is a collection of the best of that work”
To accompany the photographs, Paul agreed to publish many unseen working lyrics and poems, and to contribute unique material to the book that will illustrate the development of his solo career thus far.

The Jam – The Modern World by Numbers by Paul Honeyford (out of print)

Paul Honeyford’s biography of The Jam was the first such biography, written in consultation with the band at a time when they were at the peak of their success. 

His revealing, dynamic account is illustrated with a range of black and white photos, showing the band members on-stage, and at their most informal.

Paul Weller – Porcelain God by Darren Eales (out of print)

Written by a fan for other fans, Porcelain God was last published back in 2008, described at the time as “the most detailed account of Paul Weller’s music ever compiled. The project is a work in progress and will be updated again every 2 years as new information is always being uncovered.”
The most recent version of the book is in an A5 paperback format spanning a massive 670 pages, documenting Paul’s work in extreme detail. You can find out more here

Paul Weller – The Unauthorised Biography by Steve Malins (out of print)

Published in 1997, this is the story of Paul Weller’s life in and out of music. Author Steve Malins has talked to friends, collaborators, enemies and admirers to form the most complete portrait of one of rock music’s biggest come-back successes.

The Jam – Sounds from the Street by Graham Willmott (out of print)

Published in 2003, this authoritative chronology of The Jam’s career weaves around an in-depth study of the band’s entire musical legacy, including songs from their time as a four-piece and all the other tracks that comprised the pre-Polydor set list. The book also features a foreword from Bruce Foxton and reveals details of songs that even diehard Jam fans will never have heard of.
Graham Willmott is an author and journalist who also runs the website thejam.org

About The Young Idea by Mike Nicholls (1984 – long out of print)

Thanks to Ian Holmes on Twitter (@Holmes765) for the heads up on this one. I’ve never seen before. Here’s the blurb!
“Although Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton, Rick Buckler have now gone their separate ways and moved on to hopefully better things, the spirit of The Jam survives and will for some time overshadow whatever else they do: That’s the price they paid for quitting at the top.
During his years as a rock journalist Mike Nicholls interviewed The Jam on many occasions as well as travelling with them on the road. About the Young Idea gives a unique insight into one of the most popular groups of modern times as well as presenting a factual history of the phenomenon they called The Jam.

Published by PaulWellerFanPodcast

The World’s first Paul Weller Fan Podcast - For the fans by the fans. A musical journey from In The City to Fat Pop (Vol 1). A radio broadcaster who gave up his career with one big regret. Never getting to interview the legendary British musician Paul Weller. This podcast exists purely to solve that issue. Welcome to Desperately Seeking Paul...

3 thoughts on “The World’s Greatest Paul Weller-related Books

  1. I Notice Palio Hewitt’s book The Changing Man is conspicuous in its absence…lol…I can understand why as including this could jeopardise the paul weller interview that if there is any justice should happen soon..given how many former and current weller associates you’ve already interviewed….assuming paul weller doesn’t live in a bubble that is…that said I really enjoyed it as it gave a rare insight into aspects of wellers personality..(assuming of course that Hewitt isn’t lying…which why would he and some comments noel Gallagher has said kind of backs up Hewitt’s annodotes)that are not included in the other books …I think it gives a pretty fair appraisal of wellers complexity as a person ..unlike..Sean Evans “love with a passion called hate”….which is the worst book I’ve read about weller…if you hate wellers songs why write a entire book on him slagging his music off? …Sean Egan obviously has no musical knowledge or understanding about great songwriting and comes across as a amateurish half wit…I wasted £12 on this book…on a more positive note..another great book was to be someone by Ian Stone…anyone of a certain age will enjoy this nostalgic trip….and The Jam a Beat Concerto…as well as having probably the best title is pretty good…ah…written by palio Hewitt…so that no longer in the Canon lol..love your podcast …I look forward to every one …I really hope you get to interview him….and talking of books I’d love to see one about all the guitars and amps he’s used over the years…like those beatles rolling stones hendrix paul kossoff frank zappa books…

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