Friday, April 9, 1982

Squeeze “Black Coffee in Bed” released

Black Coffee in Bed


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

Released: April 9, 1982

First Charted: April 24, 1982

Peak: 26 AR, 6 CO, 51 UK, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 3.1 video, 5.31 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Squeeze are one of the most criminally overlooked bands when it comes to commercial success in the United States, not reaching the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart until 1987. Their self-titled debut came out in 1978 and over the course of the next few years they released a slew of new wave classics – “Take Me I’m Yours” (#19 UK, 1978), “Cool for Cats” (#2 UK, 1979). “Up the Junction” (#2 UK, 1979), “Pulling Mussels from the Shell” #44 UK, 1980), and “Tempted” (#41 UK, 1981). The latter was the group’s first foray into the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #49.

Even in the UK, the band’s fortunes were slipping by the release of 1982’s Sweets from a Stranger. While lead single “Black Coffee in Bed” was as catchy as anything the band had ever done but they still stalled at #51 on the UK charts and missed the Billboard Hot 100 yet again. They did get some airplay on MTV with “a rather bizarre video…showing the band looking moody and artful in perms and leather jackets.” SF

The first line of the song, “There’s a stain on my notebook / Where your coffee cup was” was inspired by a real situation. Lyricist Chris Difford said when he noticed a coffee stain on his notebook, it “was a very vivid image for me and inspired the song of loss and regret.” SF

Although Difford typically handled lyrics in the band, it was Glenn Tilbrook who more often sang the songs – as he did on “Black Coffee in Bed.” He also usually handled the musical composition. Difford said “the fact that Glenn put a soul melody to it shows the unique quality of our writing.” WK Elvis Costello and Paul Young (later of Mike + the Mechanics) provide backing vocals.

Tilbrook said the song “had the opportunity to be slightly perkier. My vocal is mannered and not very good at all, and I can’t stand to listen to it now. It was influenced by what Paul Carrack had brought to the table [he was the keyboardist on the previous album and sang lead on ‘Tempted’] but without Paul’s voice it didn’t sound right…This is one of the few Squeeze songs I'd happily re-record because I think I could do a better version.” SF


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First posted 3/11/2023.

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