Not The BCB 100 - Squeeze.

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Billybob Dylan
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Not The BCB 100 - Squeeze.

Postby Billybob Dylan » 17 Jan 2007, 17:23

The foundation for Squeeze was laid when a teenaged Glen Tilbrook answered an ad placed in a newsagent’s window. The young lad who placed the ad was Chris Difford, and they began to write what would become Difford’s trademark “kitchen sink dramas,” with Tilbrook putting the music to Difford’s lyrics. Unlike Lennon & McCartney’s partnership – with whom they would be constantly compared to within 10 years – just about every Squeeze song was a true D&T collaboration. By the spring of 1974 they had put a band together, taking their name from the disowned VU album of the same name, a favorite of Difford’s.

The band suffered a few setbacks in their early recording days: they had cut a couple of tracks for RCA which were rejected. Take Me I’m Yours was set to be their debut single, but Miles Copeland’s BTM label went bust before they could release it. In 1977 they finally released the Packet of Three EP on the independent Deptford Fun City label, produced by John Cale. After signing to A&M, Cale was installed as producer for their debut album, but he insisted that they scrap all the material written so far and they should name the album Gay Guys. The front cover showing California’s governator is a throwback to the album’s origins.

Getting back to what they did best, Squeeze released Cool For Cats in the spring of 1979, and the title track became a number 2 smash hit single. This would be the pinnacle of their commercial success. They followed this in early 1980 with Argy Bargy, containing two minor hit singles. The spring of 1981 saw Squeeze release what is generally considered their best album – East Side Story.

Originally conceived as a double album with each side produced by a different producer (Costello, Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe and possibly Macca) ESS ended up as a single LP produced by Elvis Costello (with whom Glen Tilbrook had previously collaborated on Costello’s Whisper To A Scream on Trust), although the opening track came from the sessions with Edmunds. Interestingly, in their lifetime, Squeeze only released original material, although a version of Bobby Womack’s Looking For A Love, a result of the sessions with Nick Lowe, appeared on the expanded version of ESS.

East Side Story produced Squeeze’s best known, and one of their most popular songs, Tempted, featuring new boy Paul Carrack on vocals.

Squeeze broke up for the first time after the release of Sweets From A Stranger in 1982. in ’84 Difford & Tilbrook released the "great lost Squeeze album" – imaginatively titled Difford & Tilbrook - before getting the band back together in 1985 to record Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti. Criminally, D&T still hasn't had a CD release.

Squeeze released six more albums before finally calling it a day in 1999. They never again achieved the kind of success they found in the 80s, and their songwriting never quite glowed as it had done 10 or 15 years earlier, although I think they came incredibly close with Some Fantastic Place in 1993.

There were so many line up changes that if all the ex-members of Squeeze reunited they could field a football team – subs and all, but what they left us is a legacy that is worthy of the title “the Lennon & McCartney of the 80s.”

If Squeeze haven’t already found a place in your CD collection (or your heart) you could do worse than buy any one of several hundred compilations or greatest hits, despite Carlsson’s opinion. You’ll find there’s a familiarity with their music, and before long, you’ll grow to love them as I have.

Album – East Side Story

Song – Some Fantastic Place or Tempted. Can’t decide between them.
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Postby Werewolf » 17 Jan 2007, 19:23

that's a nice write up of what I think is now a quite underrated band. They really were one of the most consistent singles bands of their era, similar in a way to Madness although they didn't have the same level of success. I will always have a soft spot for Up The Junction, daft lyric and all. Their albums were a bit weak in too many places, apart from East Side and Some Fantastic Place. I don't think the Difford/Tilbrook album is all that either.

I actually think Some Fantastic Place was their peak. Unfortunately for them, not many people were interested by then: the audience's loss really.

Track: Vanity Fair, Tempted, Up The Junction, Cold Shoulder..I can't decide.

Album: Singles 45 and Under is cheating so Some Fantastic Place.

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Postby Prez! » 17 Jan 2007, 19:37

Respect for that write up Bollybib, a fantastic piece.
Part of the soundtrack to my late teens & early twenties, Squeeze were a magnificent band, every bit worthy the tag of L&M for the 80's.

"Some Fantastic Place" is a work of art.

Song:- "Up The Junction" {can reduce me to tears}
Album:- East Side Story

The Consummate pop band.

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Re: Not The BCB 100 - Squeeze.

Postby Uncle Spellbinder » 17 Jan 2007, 19:44

Billybob Dylan wrote:Criminally, D&T still hasn't had a CD release.

It was released in 1984 on CD and eventually went out of print.....Until now, remastered, limited edition (no bonus tracks). Order here: HipOSelect.com

Not much to add, really. Squeeze has always been one of my favorites. Love the songwriting, arrangements, quirkiness. All around fine band in my view.

Track: "Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)"
Album: Argybargy
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Postby toomanyhatz » 17 Jan 2007, 20:23

An interesting band. They always seemed more adult somehow, less punky, than their contemporaries. Yet they didn't really suffer a backlash for it. Maybe because the songs were so nicely crafted, and there was enough angst/anger in them, romantic regret being a prime topic, in common with a lot of the punk bands of the period.

Song - Up the Junction or Black Coffee in Bed
Album - Argybargy or East Side Story
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Postby NMB » 17 Jan 2007, 20:59

Excellent opening post by Billybob. Respect!

But not a band I like all that much.

Album: not qualified to judge

Single: Another Nail in My Heart

Musical Abominations: Up The Junction AND Labelled with Love. Which is two more shit records than any band should be allowed. And don't get me onto solo Jools Holland...
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Postby Billybob Dylan » 17 Jan 2007, 21:18

None More Black wrote:Musical Abominations: Labelled with Love.

D&T didn't want to record it at all. Costello forced them into it. I won't defend Holland's solo stuff, except to say I love the Boogie Woogie 78 EP.
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Postby Prez! » 17 Jan 2007, 21:37

None More Black wrote:Musical Abominations: Up The Junction AND Labelled with Love. Which is two more shit records than any band should be allowed. And don't get me onto solo Jools Holland...


Both were great songs! :shock:

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Postby the masked man » 17 Jan 2007, 21:50

Nice write-up, Billybob. Though I could never call them one of my favourite bands, there has always been much to enjoy - smartly-turned tunes and wry lyrics aplenty.

Song: Pulling Mussels From The Shell
Album: Eastside Story

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Re: Not The BCB 100 - Squeeze.

Postby sloopjohnc » 17 Jan 2007, 22:14

Uncle Spellbinder wrote:Track: "Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)"
Album: Argybargy


Those would be mine too, although I really love Up the Junction and Goodbye Girl from Cool for Cats.
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Postby geoffcowgill » 18 Jan 2007, 18:21

Yes, I echo the kudos to BBD for the write-up, which included a fair amount of historical information about the band that I didn't know. Gay Guys, huh?

They were on the original proposal for the BCB 100 list but got shot down by a few posters on here who must have been dropped on their heads as infants. I love 'em. My choices for best album and song are a bit obvious and already mentioned a few times, but hey, that's how it is. I have to put in a plug for the album Play, which is my favorite post-heydey album of theirs (I'm a little confused about the acclaim Some Fantastic Place gets, which sounds pretty uneven and pedestrian to me).

Favorite Song - "Up The Junction"

Favorite Album - East Side Story

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Postby Sneelock » 18 Jan 2007, 18:39

when the truth has to be told, my blood runs hot and cold.
the truth, is not my middle name


when those guys nailed it, they nailed it.

album: Sweets from a Stranger
song:
win: The Truth
place: In Today's Room
show: Take Me, I'm Yours

Sneelock

Postby Sneelock » 18 Jan 2007, 18:46

I never liked the Difford and Tillbrook album very much. I gave it another go about a year back and I still didn't like it very much. funny, cause I'm pretty much a sucker for those guys.

I'm glad things seem to be working out for them as they parted ways. I was afraid Difford might fall off the face of the earth. I'm glad to see that hasn't happened.

I know "sophisticated" isn't really a very rock and roll word but it seems to suit a lot of their best stuff.

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Postby The Modernist » 18 Jan 2007, 18:51

I only know the singles I'm afraid, there's quite a few of them I like but my favourite is "Slap And Tickle".

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Postby doctorlouie » 18 Jan 2007, 19:01

I always liked the singles, but never bought the proper LPs. I saw them when they re-formed in the 80's. A bloody good night out. I can't imagine not having the 45's and Under collection close to hand. I suspect I'll never investigate much further as the singles seem jewel like and perfect.

When MOJO did their 100 greatest singles (the reader's choice) I wrote a short piece as part of the competition to win the jukebox. They edited it a bit, but basically printed it all. I was delighted.

brotherlouie wrote:A blink and you miss it intro, a punched drum fill and you're in. The desire for economy is taken to extremes: no time wasting chorus and definitely no soloing, even the birth takes only half an hour. The arrangement is simple and breathtakingly subtle: the bridge being the verse's melody over different backing and the final heartbreaking passage sung over a pared down band with a simple string arrangement.

The focus rests almost entirely on the words. Lyrically it's probably the most unpretentiously detailed song since She's Leaving Home, from the opening line "I never thought it would happen...", through the job with Stanley and the bunch of flowers we hang on every word. Until in the end, as we always knew, there is tragedy.

It seems to have been quietly forgotten, but this very English kitchen sink drama shines as brightly today as any of it's more celebrated contemporaries and on a par with the greats.

Highlights abound, I suppose we all have our favourites, but the line that gets me? "I'd beg for some forgiveness, but begging's not my business." And there you have it: a story of al fresco sex, happiness, birth, alcoholism, gambling, separation and good ol' fashioned remorse, crammed into three detail packed minutes.

You can hear all the great story records from Patches through Hey Joe and Piss Factory right up to Common People singing down the years. A masterpiece.

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Postby automatic_drip » 18 Jan 2007, 20:14

Nice post Billy Bob. So much I didn't know about their history.

To Americans, they just appeared out of nowhere, fully formed.

The writing's great, obviously, but that voice is the draw for me.

Song - Pulling Musssels

Album - Frank (really underrated - not a bad song on it!)



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Re: Not The BCB 100 - Squeeze.

Postby toomanyhatz » 03 Mar 2009, 21:46

As long as we're bumping...
Footy wrote:
The Who / Jimi Hendrix Experience Saville Theatre, London Jan '67
. Got Jimi's autograph after the show and went on to see him several times that year


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Re: Not The BCB 100 - Squeeze.

Postby The Modernist » 03 Mar 2009, 22:01

Found this funny story about Cale and the first album. At least it explains the cover!

John Cale also wanted a harder edge for Squeeze, both in their sound and their look. Chris Difford recalls, "I remember, he came up and said, 'Lyrically, you're quite soft; have you ever thought about writin' about musclemen?' I said, 'That's never occurred to me, actually.' And he said, 'Well, go away and do it - I wanna see songs like that on the album.' So my perception of what the band was at that point was completely different from the way he saw it, obviously. He had us doing some awfully strange things."

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Re: Not The BCB 100 - Squeeze.

Postby Clippernolan » 03 Mar 2009, 22:05

I really love Squeeze. Yet, it's their singles that turn my crank. I've never really explored the full range of their albums past the essential 45s and under compilation, which was standard issue at one time. Automatic Drip, I owned a cassette copy of Frank, and found it kind of uneven. You could tell that Jools Holland wanted to get the hell out of there so that he could play boogie-woogie. :lol:

album: 45s and under
song: "Another Nail In My Heart", a favourite song of mine all around.
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Re:

Postby Charlie O. » 03 Mar 2009, 22:51

New Musical exPrez wrote:
None More Black wrote:Musical Abominations: Up The Junction AND Labelled with Love. Which is two more shit records than any band should be allowed. And don't get me onto solo Jools Holland...


Both were great songs! :shock:

I'm with Prez on these two.

I saw Squeeze this past summer at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, and they were pretty damned great.

Favorite album: East Side Story, easily.

Song: uhhhh... what the hell, I'll pick "There's No Tomorrow". Not at all typical of them, but I adore it.
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