True story. My freshman year college roommate introduced me to the music of Squeeze. He had a copy of the album Argybargy and played it to death. I suppose when things like that happen, you end up appreciating the music … and, of course, over time you develop an affinity for the music of Squeeze.
The band was really that good – it was part of that collection of late 1970’s new wave that A&M Records brought to our shores – Squeeze, Split Enz, the Police, Joe Jackson, all that.
So for today’s K-Chuck Radio, I want to focus on the music of Squeeze – the big hits and some tracks that might have slipped under your radar.
TAKE ME I’M YOURS
Nice to start with this bouncy introduction to the band, and the crafted lyrics of the Difford/Tilbrook songbook.
UP THE JUNCTION
The weird thing about Up the Junction is that the melody just keeps going down a sliding scale with every lyric. It forces you to pay more attention to the words and the story about a relationship that barely survived financial woes and little ones on the way.
PULLING MUSSELS FROM THE SHELL
Any time you can pack references to Harold Robbins novels and two disparate English literature characters – Maid Marian from the Robin Hood stories, and William Tell (the other arrowsmith, not named Robin Hood), things work out well.
ANOTHER NAIL IN MY HEART
Interestingly, I had heard of Squeeze before I arrived on campus in 1981 – thanks to this video, which used to air on a half-hour music video program called Video Concert Hall. Very catchy song.
By now Paul Carrack is the lead singer of Squeeze – I think this was around the time of the East Side Story LP – and this song, Tempted, actually received some Top 40 airplay in the States. Although I wasn’t watching this video for the music or for Carrack’s performance … let’s face it, the blonde backup singer on the right was a stone cold fox.
BLACK COFFEE IN BED
By now the Squeeze catalog featured expertly crafted lyrics with several levels of of symbolism and metaphor – maybe I’m the only one that didn’t think that Black Coffee in Bed was about an interracial relationship, I thought it had to do with not wanting to wake up in the morning.
LABELLED WITH LOVE
I wasn’t a big fan of this Squeeze song, but it was one of the first 45’s of theirs I owned – while in college, I had a classmate who would go home to London on holiday breaks, and she would bring me back 45’s of the top artists at the time. This wasn’t the song I liked … but its B-side really made my day.
SQUABS ON FORTY FAB
This was the B side of Labelled With Love. That’s right, Squeeze did their own “Stars on 45” medley version of their hits, everything down to the cheezy hand-claps that permeated all the medley tracks of the time.
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN
And just when Squeeze was poised to crack through to full-fledged American radio … the group split up. This song, as part of their greatest hits collection “Squeeze: 45’s and Under,” was their swan song to the fans. Their “Beat Surrender,” if you’re a Jam fan. Oh wait…
A few years later, Squeeze reunited, and this song, “Hourglass,” actually DID puncture the American Top 40 playlists. If at first you don’t succeed, break up, wait a few years, and then try again. 😀
And let’s close with this little number. Funny thing – at Hamilton College, “853” was an actual on-campus exchange phone number, so whoever the freshman was who suffered the phone calls from various students asking if Angela could make it to the phone … I figured whoever he or she was, I hope they sent a forwarding message to call Jenny instead at 867-5309.
So I hope I gave you a nice taste of late 70’s / early 80’s pop from Squeeze, and that it brightens your day today.
Right here on K-Chuck Radio!