Thirty-three years ago today, I entered into one of the craziest, most fulfilling relationships ever lived in the history of mankind. Today is my wedding anniversary, and it is crazy to glance over our shoulders to see our footprints in the sand of life and realize how often we were there for each other. As the spouse of someone dealing with chronic pain, that person must be one of the strongest people on earth. And, that is my beautiful wife.
When the last of our two boys moved out, it was my wife who encouraged me to turn one of their rooms into my music room, an that continues to pay off dividends in my fight to maintain sanity in the face of a failed back surgery, along with the numerous that preceded as well as followed. She has also been the major force for me to begin writing. Before, I had viewed writing as a game that I played with my professor, not something that my attempt to maintain sanity. And, back in my coaching days, she was the one who maintained sanity in the house as the long hours kept me away from the house. I know it is cliched to say this, but my wife is my rock, without whom I would have never fulfilled the “promise” adults used to talk about when I was much younger.
In early June 1984, the guys living in the fraternity house noticed that a girl was sitting in a car in the parking area behind the house next door. So, one of them went over and invited her to hang out at our house until her landlord and/or the girls with whom she would be living finally arrived. Initially, that girl and I did not make a very good impression on either of us. However, later that week, a few of the guys living in the frat house decided to have a small party, and that is when my future bride and me hit it off. And, while the guys had one The Jacksons’ Victory album on downstairs, my future wife and I were listening to The Style Council’s first full length US release, My Ever Changing Moods. It was during that time of talking and listening to the music, that lightening may have struck the both of us a little bit. And, that lightning continued to strike us many times, over and over. And the album of that summer for us? That’s right! The Style Council’s My Ever Changing Moods.
As I have stated many times on this blog, I am a huge fan of Paul Weller’s career, from The Jam to The Style Council, and on in to his solo career. But, it is The Style Council with whom I associate with falling in love. [And, no, I haven’t forgotten Daryl Hall and John Oates’ music in this fantastic relationship!] But, will someone please tell me why record companies during the Eighties and before would release a completely different album of songs than the one released in the United Kingdom. Much like Beatles fans in the Sixties who have this same problem with that band’s first handful of albums.
So, after The Style Council released the EP Introducing the Style Council on both sides of the Atlantic, the band’s record company, Polydor, decided to drop My Ever Changing Moods here in the States, as opposed to Cafe Bleu, which was released in the United Kingdom. And, not to play a pun, the mood of the two albums are completely different. Personally, I feel the US version of the album is much more exuberant than the UK version, which I find much more dour. And, am I not sure why there is that much difference between the two albums. I understand that the US version is filled with the actual singles that were released in the UK in the months leading up to the debut albums of The Style Council, I am not sure about the artistic choice to replace two of Weller’s greatest songs, “My Ever Changing Moods” and “You’re the Best Thing”, with their acoustic versions on the UK album strikes me as a contrarian move much more than an artistic move. I think those differences are my biggest beefs. And since I became much more familiar with the running order on My Ever Changing Moods, I tend to get “lost” while listening to Cafe Bleu.
Well, that paragraph is rich. I sound like an American Baby Boomer bitching about the difference between the American version of The Beatles’ Help! and the UK version of the very same album. But, sorry my UK brethren, I prefer my version of The Style Council’s debut album as opposed to yours. And, this discrepancy did not end here. Oh, no! The same thing happened with The Style Council’s second album. Here in the States, that album is known as Internationalists, and is loaded with many fun-loving versions of the singles that had been released in the UK during the time leading up to the release of their sophomore album, known as Our Favourite Shop. Of course, I am going to prefer the version I heard when I was a college student who was falling in love with his soul mate as opposed to the version you all were listening to in a different country.
I know, it all comes down to perspective. And, I’ll take my more romantic version, thank you very much. Still, no one loses when it comes to the music of Paul Weller. [Mike drop – and I walk off into my music room.]