Why did Paul Weller, An Artist With Such An Excellent Body of Work Never Make it In The USA?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by David B, May 13, 2021.

  1. David B

    David B Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    How come the US and Canada seemingly ignores some great artists that are huge stars in the UK. Case in point, Paul Weller, he of The Jam and Style Council and of course a 30-year solo career. He’s made some great music and the last fifteen years or so have seen him on a run of top quality albums. Tomorrow (May 14 ‘21) sees the release of his second in less than a year. Putting aside The Jam and Council output what are your favourite from the man they call The Modfather. Steer clear of the live albums perhaps but otherwise you can hardly go wrong. I would recommend:
    22 Dreams
    Saturns Pattern
    Wild Wood
    Stanley Road
    Last edited: May 13, 2021
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  2. tug_of_war

    tug_of_war Sassafras & Moonshine

    I would add "As Is Now" to the list.
    Now as for him not being a huge star in America (and by America I mean the whole thing, even down here in the southern part)... Lord knows why...
    Matisse and David B like this.
  3. Two Sheds

    Two Sheds Sha La La La Lee

    My fab four (in order) are:

    Wild Wood
    Stanley Road
    Heavy Soul

    I think a lot of Americans would like him if they only got the chance to hear him.

    'The Loved'

  4. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged

    Boise, ID.
  5. David B

    David B Well-Known Member Thread Starter

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  6. mrjinks

    mrjinks Optimistically Challenged

    Boise, ID.
    No offense, but I don’t get what your thread is about. If it’s the new album; there’s a thread for that. If it’s favorite albums or the (understandable!) lack of knowledge about Paul in North America, I think the title should say that, that’s all...

    I applaud the effort to highlight Paul’s talents to those who don’t know!
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  7. hodgo

    hodgo Tea Making Gort (Yorkshire Branch) Staff

    East Yorkshire
    I've edited the thread title accordingly!

    @David B if you would prefer something else then feel free to suggest a new title.
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  8. Zongadude

    Zongadude Music is the best

    He's not even that big in France (basically nobody knows him, apart from fans of course).

    (Btw, Fat Pop is great !)
  9. Whatever you think of his music, the simple fact is that Weller has never put in much effort to break North America. The Style Council were lucky to get a Top 30 hit in the ‘80s.
  10. Cranny

    Cranny Forum Resident

    Could be his solo stuff gets lost in the middle of the road for US tastes, too rock for the country/Americana audience, too soft for rock fans. In spite of being one of the greatest bands of all time The Jam were too focused on England and English issues to reach a big US audience.
    I have a lot of his solo stuff and have tried to keep up with his new releases over the years, he is a great songwiter but overall the albums of are often weaker than the positive reviews they receive and sound dull on repeated playings.
  11. DownInAHole

    DownInAHole Forum Resident

    His body of work is definitely impressive and he has maintained a high level of quality throughout his career. Of course, there have been highs and lows but very few people can compare to him over a period of forty plus years. I find it very impressive that he is able to constantly keep things "fresh" and he is always looking to change up his sound.
  12. Absjc

    Absjc Well-Known Member

    Let’s replace England with Britain as I can assure you his fan base is massive in Wales & Scotland.
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  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product

    With The Jam, Style Council and his solo work, Weller has certainly cemented his place in the music history books, but it doesn't always match up in terms of international acclaim.

    The whole system works in marketing and exposure, and if a substantial amount of time isn't spent hitting a country with tours and promo visits, you just don't get to that next level.

    Even in Australia Weller is known, but not necessarily a household name.
    Several Jam songs did well. A couple of Style Council albums did well, but to some degree it seems like Weller is happy to just record some music, and not really play the game .... and if that works for him as a person, that is a great thing, but doesn't necessarily lead to international superstardom
  14. Bluesman Mark

    Bluesman Mark But I'm innocent! Swan stole my music & framed me!

    While I was a casual fan of the Jam & Style Council here in the US, I've admittedly never followed his solo career.

    Conversely, at the same time one can ask why groups like the Doobie Brothers or Foghat, (both big in the US), were never that big in the UK? Foghat were a British band that wound up having it's members permanently relocate to the US because that's where their main audience was. Hell, a version of the band still tours, & the only original member left in it is Roger Earl, their drummer. Granted 2 of the original members are dead, but that makes it even more odd, at least to me. The Doobie Brothers won 4 Grammys & are inductees in the RRHoF.

    Some things just don't translate well/connect to a different culture, it's really just as simple as that.
  15. Sear

    Sear Forum Resident

    Tarragona (Spain)
    Too British to be accepted and understood by American audience. Their loss.
  16. Looper007

    Looper007 Forum Resident

    Weller is just a very British artist and he just didn't translate to the States. Just like many American artists haven't to Britain. Also you have to throw in that even he admitted in Interviews that during the Jam era, they couldn't have been bothered with touring small clubs in the States when they were playing to sell out crowds and their stature was growing in the U.K.

    I'm sure he has a cult following in the States (I know Ben Harper is a big Weller fan). Doesn't take away from the great man's work, from the Jam to Style Council to his solo career so many great works and he's still doing great work today. And still getting number 1 albums
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  17. Willowman

    Willowman Forum Resident

    London, UK
    I don't really understand the 'British' artist bit, as his music has been hugely influenced by American artists since at least the start of the Style Council.
  18. JoeF.

    JoeF. Forum Resident

    New Jersey, USA
    Yes, his lack of success in the US is a natural outgrowth of The Jam being perceived as “ too British.”
    It’s a cliche , but it’s true.

    Some of his albums are good, but his style is too mannered for American tastes.
    He can be dull at times.
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  19. Sear

    Sear Forum Resident

    Tarragona (Spain)
  20. zphage

    zphage genre fluid

  21. zphage

    zphage genre fluid

    Other than soul filtered thru Northern Soul subculture and the Impressions who/what else?

    If anything since his Jam days Paul could be seen as possibly anti-American.
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  22. zphage

    zphage genre fluid

    His loss, literally.
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  23. zphage

    zphage genre fluid

    Without an instrumental foil like Foxton or Talbot he’s mostly a mid tempo plodmeister who likes to bellow.
  24. majorlance

    majorlance Forum Resident

    PATCO Speedline
    I've always felt this way about Richard Thompson, as well.
    musicaner likes this.
  25. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    Right, as I mentioned in the more general thread about this.

    The question should actually be: why didn't Weller get a bigger promotional push in the U.S./why didn't he tour the U.S. more as a solo artist? There can be all sorts of answers to that, including that maybe for some reason, he simply didn't desire to tour the U.S. so much--it's a bear to do it well enough, in terms of time and effort--it's expensive, exhausting, etc., in order to gain traction, because it's such a big country, and especially in the past, if an artist didn't want to tour an area, their record company and management weren't likely to put a lot of marketing money behind them in that area, because it wasn't so likely to pay off without touring. That might not be the answer, but it's a possibility. Some people don't want to be away from home/their families/etc. to that extent. And Weller had a lot of success at home so that he didn't need to be huge in the U.S., too, in order to live comfortably.

    What's more of a mystery is when someone like Weller does have a big marketing push in a given locale, and does tour incessantly in that locale, but still can't gain traction there. But as far as I know, that wasn't the case for him. I don't think the Jam even toured the U.S. very much, did they? The Jam were more of a word-of-mouth phenomenon in the U.S., helped by there being such a punk/post-punk scene at the time.

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