Friday, May 18, 1979

Squeeze released “Up the Junction”

Up the Junction


Writer(s): Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook (see lyrics here)

Released: May 18, 1979

First Charted: June 2, 1979

Peak: 4 CL, 4 CO, 2 UK, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 6.7 video, 28.5 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Squeeze emerged in the mid-‘70s as one of the UK’s most important new wave acts. They released their self-titled debut in 1978 and reached #19 on the UK charts with “Take Me I’m Yours.” The next album, Cool for Cats, was even more successful with two songs making it all the way to the runner-up position – the title cut and “Up the Junction.” The phrase is London slang for being screwed or in deep trouble, similar to the American phrase “up the creek without a paddle.” WK

Chris Difford, one of the songwriters and founders of the band, said the phrase came a collection of short stories by Neil Dunn which were published in 1963. A 1965 TV play version was done of the work and then a movie in 1968. The Squeeze song was not about Dunn’s stories, but alluded to some of its themes and locations, including life in Battersea, the use of the word “Junction” as a reference to Clapham Junction,” and the subject of pregnancy. The song is “a 1960s kitchen sink drama set to music by London’s finest purveyors of inner city grit.” DT Difford said “It was written in one sitting, sometimes you just put the pen to paper and it’s done.” SF

Difford wrote the lyrics while the band was on tour in New Orleans and then Glenn Tilbrook, the only other band member through all of Squeeze’s incarnations over a 40+ year career, wrote the music. In an uncharacteristic move for a mainstream hit, the song has no chorus or lyrical repetition. In addition, the title is only sung at the end, an idea Difford says he got from Roxy Music’s “Virginia Plain.” WK Tilbrook said the music was partly inspired by Bob Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street” and that “there’s no chorus because I thought a repeated section would spoil the flow of Chris’s story.” GU

The song tells the story of a couple meeting, moving in together, and then having a child. However, he becomes an alcoholic and she leaves him for another man. At the end, he concludes that he’s “really up the junction,” both in the sense that he is living in Clapham Junction and he has wrecked his life. WK


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First posted 7/14/2021; last updated 9/17/2023.

David Bowie Lodger released


David Bowie

Released: May 18, 1979

Peak: 20 US, 4 UK, 15 CN, 11 AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.1 UK, 2.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: experimental rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Fantastic Voyage (Bowie/Eno) [2:54]
  2. African Night Flight (Bowie/Eno) [2:55]
  3. Move On [3:18]
  4. Yassassin (Turkish for: Long Live) [4:11] (6/69, 45 CL, 33 CO)
  5. Red Sails (Bowie/Eno) [3:44]
  6. D.J. [4:00] (6/29/79, 35 CL, 7 CO, 29 UK, 98 AU)
  7. Look Back in Anger [3:06] (8/20/79, 43 CL, 26 CO)
  8. Boys Keep Swinging (Bowie/Eno) [3:18] (4/27/79, 32 CL, 8 CO, 7 UK, 85 AU)
  9. Repetition [2:59]
  10. Red Money [6:59]

Songs written by David Bowie unless indicated otherwise.

The Players:

  • David Bowie (vocals, multiple instruments)
  • Brian Eno (synthesizers, keyboards, guitar treatments)
  • Tony Visconti (producer, mandolin, guitar, bass, backing vocals)
  • Carlos Alomar (guitar)
  • Dennis Davis (percussion)
  • George Murray (bass)
  • Adrian Belew (guitar, mandolin) Sean Mayes (piano)
  • Simon House (mandolin, violin, backing vocals)
  • Roger Powell (synthesizers)
  • Stan Harrison (saxophone on “Red Sails”)

Total Running Time: 45:41


3.638 out of 5.00 (average of 23 ratings)

About the Album:

Lodger was the third album in what was known as the Berlin Trilogy. Most of the album was not, in fact, recorded in Berlin but Switzerland. However, the three albums are lumped together because David Bowie collaborated on them with Brian Eno and producer Tony Visconti. Much of the lineup was the same as with the two previous albums, although Adrian Belew – who’d been touring with Frank Zappa – was brought into the fold this time. Interestingly, he stepped into the role former King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp had filled on the last album. Belew would go on to play guitar for King Crimson.

Bowie and Eno tried different experiments such as playing old tunes backwards and having musicians trade instruments. Most of the songs were recorded with working titles and Bowie added lyrics later. Regarding the lyrics, the album focuses on two major themes – mostly on travel in the first half and primarily critiques of Western civilization in the second half. WK Author Frank Mastropolo saw Lodger as a concept album about a homeless traveler. WK

“On the surface, Lodger is the most accessible of the three Berlin-era records David Bowie made with Brian Eno.” AMG It “lacks the electronic and ambient styles and the song/instrumental split that defined its two predecessors.” WK The album “has an edgier, more minimalistic bent than its two predecessors, which makes it more accessible for rock fans, as well as giving it a more immediate, emotional impact. It might not stretch the boundaries of rock like Low and Heroes, but it arguably utilizes those ideas in a more effective fashion.” AMG There are even “a handful of concise pop songs.” AMG

The album is still full of “gnarled and twisted avant pop; what makes it different is how it incorporates such experimental tendencies into genuine songs, something that Low and Heroes purposely avoided. D.J., Look Back in Anger, and Boys Keep Swinging have strong melodic hooks that are subverted and strengthened by the layered, dissonant productions, while the remainder of the record is divided between similarly effective avant pop and ambient instrumentals.” AMG

The song “D.J.” took a look at how the disc jockey is viewed simply for what he is on the outside. WK Writer Ian Mathers said it was “a horror story about a human being reduced to nothing more than work.” WK Bowie said, “This is somewhat cynical but it’s my natural response to disco.” WK He imitates Talking Heads’ David Byrne in his vocal delivery. Ultimate Classic Rock’s Bryan Wawzenek described it as a “danceable gem.” WK

On “Look Back in Anger,” Bowie encounters an angel of death who has come to claim his soul. WK All Music Guide’s Ned Raggett described it as a “sharp-edged, thrillingly modern rock song.” WK Oasis named their 1996 song “Don’t Look Back in Anger” after Bowie’s song. WK

“Boys Keep Swinging” was one of the songs where the players switched instruments. It contained gender-bending lyrics. Bowie said, “I do not feel there is anything remotely glorious about being either male or female. I was merely playing on the idea of the colonization of a gender.” WK

Repetition is a chilling tale of a narrator conveying no emotion while beating his wife. WK The song was released as a B-side for third single “Yassassin” and again for fourth single “Look Back in Anger.”

The opening cut, Fantastic Voyage, is “surprisingly delicate,” WK signalling what author Peter Doggett said implied a “less intense” record. WK Three different musicians play mandolin and then each part was tripled-tracked. WK

Move On was one of the songs that grew out of Eno and Bowie’s experimentation with playing songs backwards – in this case, “All the Young Dudes,” which Bowie wrote for Mott the Hoople. Thematically, the song focuses on wanderlust.

The funk-and-reggae infused Yassassin incorporated violin to create the sound of Middle Eastern folk and Turkish music. WK Red Sails was inspired by the German band Neu!, sharing the same drum beat.

While previous album Low received fairly universal praise, the assessment of Lodger was more mixed. Melody Maker’s Jon Savage called it “a nice enough pop record, beautifully played, produced and crafted, and slightly faceless.” WK Red Starr of Smash Hits said it sounded like “a ragbag of rejects from previous styles.” WK

It was, however, referred to as Bowie’s “most eloquent” record in years in The New York Times. WK Spin magazine’s Jon Dolan said it was “his last great album.” WK It has been cited as a forerunner to the sound of Talking Heads and Spandau Ballet and some of its songs have even been credited with influencing Britpop in the 1990s.

Notes: The 1991 Rykodisc reissue included the previously unreleased 1979 song “I Pray OlĂ©” and a new version of “Look Back in Anger” Recorded in 1988.

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First posted 2/20/2008; last updated 8/1/2021.