The Sunday Dozen: Squeeze

Squeeze circa 1988.

I’m kicking off this new feature with a series of what I call peer bands. Groups that are my contemporaries. If I’m old so are Neil Finn and Glenn Tilbrook. Chris Difford appears to be ageless. The man has aged remarkably well whereas both Glenn and I have bulked up.

Squeeze has broken up and reformed countless times. They’ve had more members than the Rockettes. That’s not true but it scans well.

For our first number, we set the dial on the Wayback Machine to 1980. A good year for me personally, a bad year for the country politically. I won’t go there here. The Dozens are supposed to be fun, fun, fun. I don’t want to take the T-Bird away. Holy Beach Boys reference, Batman.

Another Nail In My Heart is a perfect marriage of Tilbrook’s gift for melody and Difford’s for twisted lyrics. They’ve been compared to Lennon and McCartney, but I think of them as rock’s answer to Rodgers and Hart.

How could I skip Cool For Cats? Claire Trevor would pitch a hissy fit if I didn’t include the song of her people.

Tempted remains the band’s biggest hit. It’s a collaboration between Difford and Tilbrook and Paul Carrack who has served two tours of duty as Squeeze’s keyboard player. Paul always brings a lot to the table.

I’ve posted Trust Me To Open My Mouth on many occasions, “Zip it up. Keep it shut.”

Footprints is a song that has evolved over the years into a hard rock guitar work-out. There are signs of that in this early live version. I dig Difford’s bowler, or does he call it a derby? He’s a limey so I suppose it’s the former.

Slaughtered Gutted and Heartbroken features a poignantly tongue-in-cheek lead vocal from Chris Difford and killer piano work by Jools Holland. Jools is too big of a teevee star to rejoin Squeeze but if he gets cancelled, watch out.

Melody Motel is a rollicking rocker about murder at the aforementioned hotel. This live version features the killer piano stylings of Steve Nieve. He’s best known as Elvis Costello’s keyboard player, but he toured with Squeeze after Jools left the band and before Paul returned.

I’ve told Dr. A that Some Fantastic Place is one of the songs I want played at my memorial service. Morbid but true.

Third Rail is pure rock and roll joy with a great rock noir video and stellar harmonies from Difford.

The Truth is another song I’ve posted many times over the years, “The truth is not my middle name.”

Chris Difford wrote Electric Trains with another melody in mind, but Glenn wanted to rock out. What’s not to love about a tune with a Grateful Dead reference? I forgive Chris for the Sound Of Music thing. Oy just oy.

There was a seventeen-year gap between Squeeze albums of new material. Open proves that it was worth the wait. It’s Squeezy gospel. Amen.

Finally, I have used four Squeeze songs as a theme song for Saturday Odds & Sods including two that didn’t make the list. Oh well, what the hell.