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Squeeze: 10 Songs From The Very British Storytellers

For me Squeeze never had the commercial success they deserved. Most of their songs were written by Glenn Tilbrook (lead guitar, vocals) and Chris Difford (rhythm guitar, vocals). They were master storytellers which were witty, relatable, and often naughty with truly masterful use of metaphor. They would be high on my list of greatest songwriters of all time along with Lennon/McCartney, Ray Davis, Billy Joel, Paul Weller, and Paul Simon.

What all of these have in common are lyrics and like my father, I am a lyric person. I spent many a Sunday afternoon with him and his friend Andy listening to music (which often included the consumption of a few bevies). When it was Squeeze’s time on the turn table I would watch these two grown men laughing like naughty school boys at the saucy lyrics. Good days and great memories.

Although this very British band’s singles chart success was erratic starting in 1978 peaking at 19 from there the next 9 went as follows 49, 63, 2, 2, 24, 17, 44, 35, 41, these highs and lows prompted them to name their singles compilation LP “45’s and Under”. Within the music industry, they are critically acclaimed influencing artists such as Brit-pop heavyweights Blur, along with The Replacements, American Hi-Fi, Kasabian, The Killers, Nightmare of You, Razorlight, and Space.

Squeeze GettyImages 84883275

During their initial release the duo was hailed as “the heirs to Lennon and McCartney’s throne” in the music press, a comparison the band has expressed “mixed feelings” about. Although they have cited them and the Kinks as major influences on their songwriting, which is very clear to hear. Their songs are almost visual in nature, allowing the listener to imagine what is really happening. This is the beauty of Tilbrook and Difford’s songwriting ability.

So if you are unfamiliar with Squeeze and are really into lyrics and story-heavy songs, I strongly recommend that you give them a listen and maybe have a little giggle when you realize what those lyrics mean.

Let me take you through my top ten Squeeze songs (I make no excuses for them all being singles as each is a lyrical masterpiece and each conjures up some really beautiful memories).

#10. Take Me I’m Yours | Album: Squeeze | 1978

I’ve come across the desert
To greet you with a smile
My camel looks so tired
It’s hardly worth my while

#9. Another Nail In My Heart | Album: Argybargy | 1980

I had excuses, those little boy lies
That she computed by watching my eyes and told me firmly
She couldn’t stand it, I’m bad on her heart
She dropped her make-up and I found the bar, now it concerns me
I’ve had a bad time, now love is resigned
I’ve been such a fool, I’ve loved and goodbyed

#8. Slap & Tickle | Album: Cool for Cats | 1979

Never chew a pickle
With a little slap and tickle
You have to throw the stone
To get the pool to ripple

#7. Tempted | Album: East Side Story | 1981

At my bedside empty pocket
A foot without a sock
Your body gets much closer
I fumble for the clock
Alarmed by the seduction
I wish that it would stop

#6. Cool for Cats | Album: Cool for Cats | 1979

To change the mood a little, I been posing down the pub
On seeing my reflection, I’m lookin’ slightly rough
I fancy this, I fancy that, I wanna be so flash
I give a little muscle, and I spend a little cash
But all I get is bitter and a nasty little rash
And by the time I’m sober, I’ve forgotten what I’ve had

#5. Goodbye Girl | Album: Cool for Cats | 1979

Sunlight on the lino
Woke me with a shake
I looked around to find her
But she’d gone Goodbye girl

#4. Black Coffee In Bed | Album: Sweets from a Stranger | 1982

There’s a stain on my notebook where your coffee cup was
And there’s ash in the pages now I’ve got myself lost
I was writing to tell you that my feelings tonight
Are a stain on my notebook that rings your goodbye

#3. Pulling Mussels (From The Shell) | Album: Argybargy | 1980

But behind the Chalet
My holiday’s complete
And I feel like William Tell
Maid Marian on her tiptoe feet

#2. Labeled With Love | Album: East Side Story | 1981

Drinks to remember I, me and myself
And winds up the clock and knocks dust from the shelf
Home is a love that I miss very much
So the past has been bottled and labelled with love

#1. Up The Junction | Album: Cool for Cats | 1979

I worked all through the winter
The weather brass and bitter
I put away a tenner each week to make her better
And when the time was ready
We had to sell the telly
Late evenings by the fire
With little kicks inside her

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