Squeeze

  • British New Wave band created in 1974. Founding members were Chris Difford (guitar, vocals, songwriting) and Glenn Tilbrook (vocals, guitar, songwriting). Jools Holland (keyboards), Gilson Lavis (drums) and Harry Kakoulli (bass guitar) were also early members.
  • In 1973, Difford put a sign in a candy shop announcing that he was looking for guitarist to join his band – though at the time he did not have a band. Tilbrook was the only person to respond. They began to write songs together, and they brought in additional musicians in Holland on keyboards and Paul Gunn on drums.
  • They played under different band names – 2 early names were Captain Trundlow’s Sky Company and Skyco. They chose Squeeze as a tribute to The Velvet Underground’s album of the same title.
  • Lavis replaced Dunn and Kakoulli joined in 1976. They played at venues in London, and eventually signed with a record label that year. The label went under, and the first recordings were released in an EP of 3 songs with a different label in 1977.
  • In 1978, they released their debut album, the self titled Squeeze. In the U.S., the band name and album were released as UK Squeeze, to avoid conflict with an American band named Tight Squeeze. The album did not chart, though a single, Take Me I’m Yours, reached #19 in the UK.
  • Their next album, Cool for Cats, was released in 1979. By now, they went by Squeeze in the U.S., and did so for all future releases. The singles Cool for Cats and Up the Junction reached #2 in the UK, and Cool for Cats was an underground new wave hit in the U.S.
  • Argybargy was their next release, in 1980. I randomly discovered this album in college, bought it, and it became my most played record for several years. It made it to #71 on the Billboard 200 album chart, though no singles charted in the U.S. Too bad for the American music public – Pulling Muscles (From the Shell) is an infectious song that the critics loved, describing it as “a timeless cult classic”, “a brilliant slice of pop genius”, “a pop classic of the new wave era”, and “a piece of pop mastery.” Some critics were even referring to Difford and Tilbrook as the next Lennon and McCartney!
  • East Side Story was released in 1981. It contained the single Tempted, which continues to get airplay today on classic rock stations. Their follow up album, Sweets From a Stranger, became their highest charting album in the U.S., at #32. The single Black Coffee in Bed, with Elvis Costello and Paul Young singing background vocals, reached #26 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
  • Difford and Tilbrook broke up the band in 1982, but continued to work together. They released 1 album as Difford and Tilbrook – Squeeze fans simply consider it another Squeeze album.
  • Squeeze reformed in 1985 after playing a one night charity gig. They recorded a new album, Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti, followed in 1987 with Babylon and On, which contains Hourglass, their highest charting single in the U.S on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at #15.
  • Five more albums were released over the next 10 years, all charting in the UK, but not successful in the U.S. The band broke up again in 1999 – only to be reformed yet again in 2007. They’ve released 2 albums since then, and have actively toured. They are playing in the U.S. this November, and in Australia next year.
  • Squeeze is by far my favorite band that most people never heard of. I’ve spend many hours singing along with their upbeat, eclectic songs. Listen to their most famous song, Tempted.

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