Saturday, July 14, 1984

Difford & Tilbrook charted with their self-titled album

Difford & Tilbrook

Difford & Tilbrook

Released: June 1984

Charted: July 14, 1984

Peak: 55 US, 47 UK

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: new wave


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

  1. Action Speaks Faster (4:50]
  2. Love’s Crashing Waves (3:08] (6/84, 32 CO, 57 UK)
  3. Picking Up the Pieces (3:18]
  4. On My Mind Tonight (4:08]
  5. Man for All Seasons (2:35]
  6. Hope Fell Down (4:22] (9/84, --)
  7. Wagon Train (3:36]
  8. You Can’t Hurt the Girl (3:01]
  9. Tears for Attention (4:50]
  10. The Apple Tree (4:24]

Songs written by Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook.

Total Running Time: 38:12

The Players:

  • Chris Difford (vocals, rhythm guitar)
  • Glenn Tilbrook (vocals, lead guitar)
  • Keith Wilkinson (bass)
  • Guy Fletcher (keyboards)
  • Andy Duncan (drums, percussion)
  • Larry Tollfree (percussion)
  • Debbie Bishop (backing vocals)


2.979 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)

Quotable: Difford & Tilbrook’s ”songwriting talents are as formidable as ever…but…[this] seems like a record without a center” – Christopher Connelly, Rolling Stone

About the Album:

”While Squeeze collapsed from physical and artistic exhaustion after Sweets from a Stranger, the band's songwriting duo soldiered on under the name Difford & Tilbrook for another release.” AMG “Song-wise [this] is a more consistent album than the schizophrenic Sweets from a Stranger.” AMG

”Chris Difford (guitar, lyrics) and Glenn Tilbrook (guitar, vocals, music) have spun ten widely varied pop songs, each one a showcase for Difford's warmhearted, wise-guy lyrics and Tilbrook’s fetching altar-boy tenor.” RS ”The addition of Keith Wilkinson's deep-bottomed bass and Debbie Bishop's snappy soprano backing vocals is a major improvement.” RS “There's also Andy Duncan (drums) [and] Guy Fletcher (keyboards).” JA

They “set out to craft an '80s contemporary blue-eyed soul record, emulating all the requisite synth washes and drum machines from early-'80s Hall & Oates albums like H2O and Private Eyes…this was clearly meant as a shot at the big time…but the album tanked on the charts precisely because it still sounded like Squeeze.” AMG

Difford and Tilbrook…shows that their songwriting talents are as formidable as ever,” RS but “characters, tones and themes seems to change from song to song on this record.” RS The album “seems like a record without a center, a surfeit of diversity with a dearth of direction.” RS Consequently “there's not quite enough urgency - or unity - to the songs here…No one's asking for an anthem…but songs with the spirit of ‘Another Nail in My Heart’ or the youthful wit of ‘Separate Beds’ would allow their more eclectic work to be that much more effective.” RS

"Action Speaks Faster than words,’ declares the album's initial track, a fusion of British pop and American rap that would be more successful if Tilbrook's Anglo vowels (‘fah-stah’) didn't de-funk the enterprise. Given that song's message, it's ironic that the tune's charging, horn-fueled end…leads right into the ornate verbosity of the single, Love's Crashing Waves. Here, the talented Difford makes his cohort wrap his mouth around some tough lines: "Concocted rumours/By out-of-tuners/Are the must in love's concerto." Even the chorus' delightful zing can't quite redeem all of that verbiage.” RS

Difford & Tilbrook is chock full of Tilbrook's typically jaunty pop tunes. Picking Up the Pieces is one of his best; bright, enthusiastic and direct, the tune is enlivened all the more by a judiciously employed string section and by Bishop's chirping.” RS

“Tilbrook has always evinced an affection for the husky, world-weary tones of the saloon singer, even though his voice is laden with fresh-faced innocence. For On My Mind Tonight, he adopts a tipsier tone - Paul McCartney at last call. The tune is almost a cocktail-lounge funk, and the singer languorously - and impotently - bemoans his lovelorn state: ‘The silence of the telephone doesn't bother me/But I wish that it would ring....I'm the man who would be king/The small hand’s on the five.’” RS

“The LP lacks a track that would make a truly thrilling single, though…’Picking Up the Pieces’ and Hope Fell Down…come close.” RS The latter “reveals Difford's sassy wit: ‘Your ship came in/And your fanfare sunk it,’ he notes in a track that approximates the style of Squeeze's lone stateside hit, ‘Tempted.’” RS

”Difford displays his…facility for conjuring torrents of emotion - even the end of the world - in the jetsam of everyday life: the ash in the pages, the wax around the wick, the pen devoid of ink. In You Can’t Hurt the Girl, he weaves some intriguing ambiguity into a tale of an oft-heartbroken woman. ‘You can't hurt the girl,’ Tilbrook sings in the chorus, and it's not until the end that he adds a telling ‘...and not cry.’” RS

”The bounce” of the “Costello-ish foot-tapper” JAMan for All Seasons will remind some of East Side Story’s ‘In Quintessence.’” RS

“There are a couple of prettily harmonized love songs (You Can't Hurt the Girl; Tears for Attention)” JA “and it's nice to hear Difford's low buzz of a voice at the end of the uptempo throwaway Wagon Train.” RS

“Difford's dexterous style works best on” RS the “fascinatingly creepy” JAThe Apple Tree, as he develops a series of harrowing images in a post-nuclear-holocaust scene: the abandoned house with the coffee still on, the fingernail scratches on the church door. ‘It's a silence you can see,’ he writes, ‘hearing shadows behind me.’ Musically, Tilbrook is equal to the challenge. His swirling, eerie arrangement - reminiscent of [The Beatles’] ‘A Day in the Life’ - skews the deceptively commonplace melody line and builds the track to its dramatic conclusion.” RS

“Over time, Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook would prove to be the only constant members of Squeeze anyway, making Difford & Tilbrook the lost Squeeze album and the missing puzzle piece between Sweets from a Strangerand Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti. Despite being far from the duo's best work (and it's certainly the rarest), serious fans will want to seek this out.” AMG

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First posted 7/23/2008; last updated 2/7/2022.

Saturday, July 7, 1984

Prince hit #1 with “When Doves Cry”

When Doves Cry


Writer(s): Prince (see lyrics here)

Released: May 16, 1984

First Charted: June 2, 1984

Peak: 15 US, 14 CB, 14 GR, 14 RR, 18 RB, 31 AR, 28 CO, 4 UK, 13 CN, 11 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.75 US, 0.6 UK, 4.35 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 133.33 video, 243.56 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Prince Rogers Nelson was born in 1958 in Minneapolis. At 19, the “teenage funk prodigy” BR signed a three-album deal with Warner Bros. “with near complete creative control.” BR His second album produced the #11 disco hit “I Wanna Be Your Lover” but it wasn’t until his fifth album, 1999, that the public was definitely on board. The 1982 release went multi-platinum and reached #7, thanks to the top-ten hits “Little Red Corvette” and “Delirious,” not to mention the classic title cut.

His next project, the film Purple Rain, was “essentially Prince’s version of his own myth.” SS The accompanying soundtrack generated four top-ten hits, spent 24 weeks atop the Billboard album chart, and sold 26 million copies worldwide. Prince became the first artist since Elvis Presley to simultaneously have the #1 song, album, and movie. SS Dave Marsh said of that #1 song, “When Doves Cry,” that it “may have been the most influential single record of the eighties.” DM

The song about “the fear of repeating the mistakes of his parents” RC was a last-minute addition to the soundtrack at the behest of director Albert Magnoli. He said the film needed “something that would directly touch on the film’s themes, something that could play in the background during a montage where Prince rode a motorcycle around while looking pensive.” BR

“When Doves Cry” was celebrated as “simple and natural and utterly (invisibly) unorthodox.” PW After recording it, Prince erased the bass, RS500 “bring[ing] the piece down to its emotional essence.” SS It was an unheard of move, especially in the R&B genre. TC Along with its “keening melody and one of the strangest choruses in pop,” MC the resulting song is eccentric, even by Prince standards. RS500 Warner Bros. wasn’t sure what to make of the song. As engineer David Z. said, “They were a little afraid...they didn’t know what to do with it because it was drastically different.” TC


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First posted 6/2/2012; last updated 4/30/2024.