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. zphage

    zphage genre fluid

    Location:
    here
    Aspects from True Meanings would be a good example. I also wouldn’t consider True Meanings a true stripped down acoustic album with its synth sheen, orchestrations and vocal treatments. I mean a true stripped down acoustic album with sophisticated finger style, crosspicking, etc., not just strumming.
     
  2. Jack Lord

    Jack Lord Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    The Clash did not go over until they moved away from Punk and started recording songs like "Train in Vain" and "Should I Stay or I Should I Go."

    Now, those are damn good songs, mind you. But they are far removed from "White Riot" and "London's Burning." And from what I have noticed, the people who like the former have little idea that the latter ever existed. To this day, "Rock the Casbah" rules classic rock stations. "Remote Control"? "Safe European Home"? Fuggedaboutit.

    Perhaps if the Jam had built a strategy around "That's Entertainment" as a single and toured relentlessly. But the cracks were appearing and their break-up imminent.

    I think his comments about 'breaking America' were more a pride thing. It was desirable, but certainly not vital. The UK and Ireland is a respectable market and a band or artist can be very comfortable financially focusing there.

    Ironically, everybody- and I mean everybody- I ever played the Jam for loved them. I probably increased their popularity in New York alone. The problem was they had already parted ways. :cry:
     
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  3. markreed

    markreed Forum Resident

    Location:
    Imber
    Weller was probably Too British, if that makes sense. Some parts of Britishness don't translate (and some, of course, do). Probably in the same way that some artists from US simply can't get arrested in the UK< some UK artists just don't seem to make the jump.
     
  4. Macca Havana

    Macca Havana Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bedford
    Did Oasis (and HFB) and Blur also fail to make it big in America? I can see Weller, Oasis and Blur having appeal in some of the university cities of the northeast US, on their local radio stations, but they were probably not sufficiently AOR, stadium rock (U2) or MTV-oriented in the 1980s or grungy in the 1990s to get wider airplay. Maybe the closest US equivalent of Weller - with social conscience and thoughtful lyrics - was REM, but with AFTP they became much more commercial. And politically Weller has long been a socialist - not good for mass appeal in the US.
     
  5. nosticker

    nosticker Forum Guy

    Location:
    Ringwood, NJ
    I bought The Gift back in the day and thought it was the start(pun unintended) of something big.

    There's no accounting for American tastes sometimes.


    Dan
     
  6. zphage

    zphage genre fluid

    Location:
    here

    Midnight Oil were very political, probably more so than Weller and they did quite well in the US. They put on fierce shows and toured hard. No English Rose pining, despite being much further from home. By ‘85 they were playing 3-5,000 seaters, this before their mainstream hit Beds are Burning.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2021
  7. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    I think he's too British simply.
     
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  8. Daryl M

    Daryl M Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, Ontario
    The OP said `steer clear' of the live albums. But I would say that `Live Wood' is
    essential Weller.
     
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  9. heliocentric

    heliocentric Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool
    Days of speed too, let’s the song breathe like nowhere else,
    plus The BBC box set isn’t too shabby either
     
  10. heliocentric

    heliocentric Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool
    This might shed some light - Paul Weller lists 12 must-have CD
     
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  11. zphage

    zphage genre fluid

    Location:
    here
  12. Macca Havana

    Macca Havana Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bedford
    Although being Australian, Midnight Oil had an American AOR/hard rock/stadium rock sound typical of the 1980s' US charts (Van Halen, Guns n Roses, Aerosmith, Journey, Toto and, from the UK/Ireland, the Rolling Stones, Simple Minds and U2). Weller has never occupied that musical territory. Maybe for this reason, he was seen as the godfather of the 90s Britpop of Oasis and Blur.

    Mike Scott/The Waterboys is another group which have had a reasonable level of respect and popularity in the UK, but did not break the US. The Manic Street Preachers and the Stereophonics also didn't cut through in the US - nor did Kate Bush. UK and US rock taste and charts diverged in the 1980s and 1990s. Indeed, I have a wide musical taste, but US AOR/hard rock has never been appealing.
     
  13. Efus

    Efus Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Not really if your open to creativity.
    In fact its not really a novel concept, and happens quite frequently, taking an artist, putting them in a different musical environment/setting/players and producers and see what the new chemistry brings.

    Im sure plenty of David Bowie's UK fans thought his idea to go to Philly and NYC to make a "plastic soul" album was nuts in 1975.
    But it ended up working out pretty good for him.

    Thats the difference between creative people and music consumers.
    One thinks how can I work with this, be open to different ideas and put my own spin on it. The other, thats stupid, why cant they just keep pumping out what I liked last year.
     
  14. John D.

    John D. Forum Resident

    Have liked Paul Weller since the Style Council days, and his solo career. Saw him live at the Wiltern Theater a few years back and it was a great show on a Thursday night!
    My problem with Weller is his LP's have been too hard to obtain in the US, it's either hit or miss and eventually I just give up. I think I had a couple of his early LP's pre-ordered
    on amazon for more than a year and amazon finally just pulled the plug, not what I want from an artist, generally poor availability here the US. , Fat Pop LP is pre-ordered and coming at the end of the month, maybe?
     
  15. It's Felix

    It's Felix It's not really me

    Fully agree. I have just gone through most of his last 5 LPs whilst scaling today. Not many memorable tunes. Style council, solo debut and Wild wood are the real classics. Wake up the nation and 22 dreams probably the best since then. But I don’t really think the US is missing out out much…
     
  16. It's Felix

    It's Felix It's not really me

    But Young Americans had more pop tunes than anything Weller has done since the Jam.
     
  17. Efus

    Efus Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Weller is incapable of writing a pop tune?
    Besides Fame is a pretty unusual pop tune, more avant garde imo, than typical Top 40.
    But Young Americans with the sax and back-up singers Ill give you.

    And we're just talking about style, motivation, inspiration here.
    Artic Monkeys heading to the southern California desert for their 3rd album.
    REM creating Fables in the UK.
    Aretha Franklin, jazz singer on the Columbia label, goes to Alabama and becomes the Queen of Soul.
    Led Zeppelin's not hanging out in India looking for pop tunes to steal. They're looking for ideas to add to their own sonic palette.

    The idea was to put Weller in a different environment in his middle age and see what he could come up with.
    And a poster said it was a stupid idea and the reason why Weller had done better in America.
    Tbh, I thought it was short sighted and not real bright to dismiss out of hand with zero thought.
    Difference makes the World go round....
     
  18. speedracer

    speedracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sapa
    Probably because most Americans never heard of him.
     
  19. Elliottmarx

    Elliottmarx Always in the mood for Burt Bacharach

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Whenever I'm in England, within 15 minutes of turning on the TV, Paul Weller is on some show or another. That makes me smile. I have very little knowledge of his catalog aside from the major hits and a cool song on the recent album.

    You are right, he is completely unknown by the general public in the States.
     
  20. zphage

    zphage genre fluid

    Location:
    here
    I wouldn't say Midnight Oil had an AOR sound particularly the three that led up to '85, no more so U2, Bunnymen, Kate Bush, Waterboys, etc.,

    Regarding Kate and the Waterboys both had strong support on US college radio. Now neither toured the US very hard, in fact Kate not at all despite exposure on US TV. The US doesn't owe UK/US/Euro artists success particularly if they are unwilling to work for it. U2, Midnight Oil, REM, etc., all worked hard for it. Even then doing badly in the US , +/- 100,000 units both acts (Kate/Mike) probably did as well as they did in the UK, as did Weller/Jam/Style Council. It's just relative to the population they could have done even more, if they tried.
     
  21. andy obrien

    andy obrien Forum Resident

    Location:
    watford
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  22. rocknsoul74

    rocknsoul74 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston
    I thought maybe the record company had negelected to find a US distributor this time around and was unable to to preorder it anywhere local. I just saw it on Amazon this week, preordered Fat Pop tbis week and was disapointed at the" suppposed" delivery date. It arrived today!!!! Order it!!
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2021
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  23. rocknsoul74

    rocknsoul74 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston
    Listen to any of his recent albums and you'll find plenty of uptempo songs. Also, he's a rhythm player, not Chet Aktins. I'm not a fan of the album myself, too many acoustic slow songs. I love that the soul influence has come back into his last few albums.
     
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  24. Meddows

    Meddows Forum Resident

    Some of his best songs like Down In the Tube Station are impossible for most people to understand what’s being said, let alone different countries.
    I listened to it thousands of times and still didn’t understand the words until years later when I saw a printout of the lyrics
     
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  25. Davido

    Davido Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    Recording in Nashville worked for Elvis Costello, Elvis Presley, and just about everyone else - except for Willie Nelson!
     
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