Weller Inaugurates V2 Deal With Covers Set

Veteran U.K. artist Paul Weller's eighth studio album will be his first to be released worldwide through V2. An album of covers, "Studio 150" is due for simultaneous U.S. and U.K. release in late Sept

Veteran U.K. artist Paul Weller's eighth studio album will be his first to be released worldwide through V2. An album of covers, "Studio 150" is due for simultaneous U.S. and U.K. release in late September.

"I'd been talking about recording a covers album for a very long time," Weller says. "Initially I had the idea to record a selection that resembled a compilation tape that you'd give to a friend of all your favorite songs. But I was worried that there would be too many disparate and diverse sounds that just wouldn't hang together so instead I decided to cover songs that weren't particularly my favorites but ones I could reinterpret, play around with and make my own."

The stripped down "Thinking of You," a Sister Sledge classic, will lead the set as the first single. Also featured are Weller's renditions of Aaron Neville's "Hercules," Gil Scott-Heron's "The Bottle," Tim Hardin's "Don't Make Promises," Nolan Porter's "If I Could Only Be Sure," Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain," the Carpenters' "Close to You" and Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower."

But it's the former leader of the Jam and Style Council's version of Billie Rae Calvin's "Wishing on a Star" that he finds most appealing. "I was listening to the radio one morning when I heard the song and suddenly it made perfect sense," Weller says. "It's my favorite track on the [album]."

Virgin Group Chairman and V2 founder Richard Branson personally signed Weller to the label.

"There were two established acts that I had always wanted to sign," Branson says. "I managed to fulfill my dreams with the Rolling Stones [to Virgin Records] after some 20 years of trying. Paul Weller may have taken a little longer, but it is all the more satisfying as a result."

Here is the "Studio 150" track list:

"If I Could Only Be Sure"
"Wishing on a Star"
"Don't Make Promises"
"The Bottle"
"Black is the Colour"
"Close To You"
"Early Morning Rain"
"One Way Road"
"Hercules"
"Thinking of You"
"All Along the Watchtower"
"Birds"