Thursday, May 31, 2007

Squeeze: A Retrospective, 1974-1998

Squeeze, circa 1985. In front: Chris Difford; in back, left to right: Glenn Tilbrook, Jools Holland, Gilson Lavis, Keith Wilkinson.


A Retrospective: 1974-1998


New wave group formed in London, England in 1974. They briefly disbanded in 1982, but reformed in 1985. They split again in 1999, but reunited in 2015. This page only covers up to 1999. The only members through every incarnation have been the singer/songwriting team of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook.

Over a 25-year recording career with a cast of nearly as many members and a constant revolving door of record companies, “Squeeze…basically [became] a trade name for [the songwriting team of Chris] Difford and [Glenn] Tilbrook [the band’s only constants] plus sidemen.” NM In the beginning, Squeeze established themselves as “one of the most traditional pop bands of the new wave…[providing] one of the links between classic British guitar-pop and post-punk. Inspired heavily by the Beatles and the Kinks,” STE Difford and Tilbrook “were hailed as the heirs to Lennon and McCartney's throne during their heyday in the early '80s. Unlike Lennon and McCartney, the partnership betweeen Difford and Tilbrook was a genuine collaboration, with the former writing the lyrics and the latter providing the music. Squeeze never came close to matching the popularity of the Beatles, but the reason for that is part of their charm. Difford and Tilbrook were wry, subtle songwriters that subscribed to traditional pop songwriting values, but subverted them with literate lyrics and clever musical references. While their native Britain warmed to Squeeze immediately, sending singles like ‘Take Me I’m Yours’ and ‘Up the Junction’ into the Top 10, the band had a difficult time gaining a foothold in the states; they didn't have a Top 40 hit until 1987, nearly a decade after their debut album…Squeeze [still] built a dedicated following…and many of their songs…‘Pulling Mussels (From the Shell),’ ‘Tempted,’ ‘Black Coffee in Bed’ – became pop classics of the new wave era.” STE

The Beginning:

Squeeze began when “Tilbrook answered an advertisement Difford had placed in a store window, and the pair began writing songs. By the spring of 1974, the duo had recruited…Jools Holland…and…Paul Gunn, and…named themselves Squeeze, after the disowned Velvet Underground album that featured none of the group's original members. Squeeze began playing the thriving pub rock circuit, although their songs were quirkier and more pop-oriented than many of their peers. By 1976, the band…had also signed a contract with Miles Copeland's burgeoning BTM record label and management company. Squeeze had already recorded several tracks for RCA, including two cuts with Muff Winwood, that the label rejected. BTM went bankrupt before it could release the band’s debut single, Take Me I’m Yours, in early 1977 but Squeeze was able to work with John Cale on their debut EP, due to a contract Copeland had arranged with Cale.” STE

The Players:

  • John Bentley (b: 79-82)
  • Paul Carrack (k/v – Ace; Squeeze: 80-81, 93; with Carlene Carter, solo)
  • Chris Difford (g/v – Squeeze: 74-82, 85-99; Difford & Tilbrook: 84; solo: 00-09). Born April 11, 1954.
  • Paul Gunn (d: 74-76)
  • Christopher Holland (k: 98-99)
  • Jools Holland (k - Squeeze: 74-80, 85-90; The Millionaires; solo; television host for BBC). Born Julian Holland on January 24, 1958.
  • Bruce Hornsby (session k: 91)
  • Matt Irving (session k: 91)
  • Carol Isaacs (touring k: 91-92)
  • Harry Kakoulli (b: 76-79)
  • Gilson Lavis (d – with Chuck Berry; Squeeze: 76-82, 85-92; Jool’s Holland’s Big Band: 92-). Born June 27, 1951.
  • Andy Metcalfe (k – Soft Boys; Robyn Hitchcock’s Egyptians; Squeeze: 86-88)
  • Andy Newmark (d: 94-95)
  • Steve Nieve (with Elvis Costello & The Attractions; session & touring k – Squeeze: 91-92)
  • Hilaire Penda (b: 98-99)
  • Don Snow (aka ‘John Savannah’; k – The Sinceros; Squeeze: 81-82, 91-92, 95-96)
  • Ashley Soan (d – Del Amitri; Squeeze: 98-99)
  • Pete Thomas (d – with Elvis Costello & The Attractions; Squeeze: 92-94)
  • Glenn TilbrookGlenn Tilbrook (v/g – Squeeze: 74-82; 85-99; Difford & Tilbrook: 84; solo: 00-09). Born August 31, 1957.
  • Keith Wilkinson (b: 85-96)
  • Kevin Wilkinson (no relation to Keith Wilkinson; d: 95-96)

v = vocals; g = guitar; b = bass;k = keyboards; d = drums

On the Web:


Spotify Podcast:

Check out Dave’s Music Database podcast: The Best of Squeeze. Aired 9/14/2021. Tune in every Tuesday at 7pm for a new episode based on the lists at Dave’s Music Database.


Squeeze Studio Albums:

Hover over an album cover to see its title and year of release. Click on the album to go to its dedicated DMDB page.


Under each album snapshot, songs featured on the anthologies are noted. If the song charted, the date of the song’s release or first chart appearance and its chart peaks are noted in parentheses. Click for codes to singles charts.

Packet of Three (EP) (1977):

”Squeeze released their debut EP, Packet of Three, on Deptford Fun City Records, in the summer of 1977 and soon arranged an international contract with A&M Records, becoming the label’s first New Wave act since their disastrous signing of the Sex Pistols.” STE

  • Cat on a Wall [3:10]
  • Night Ride [3:02]
  • Back Track [2:21]

Squeeze (aka “UK Squeeze”) (1978):

The band entered the studio with producer Cale later that year to work on their debut album, provisionally titled Gay Guys by the group’s producer. Cale had the group throw out most of their standard material, forcing them to write new material; consequently, the record wasn’t necessarily a good representation of the band’s early sound. By the time the album was released in the spring of 1978, the group and A&M had abandoned the record’s working title, and it was released as Squeeze. In America, the band and album had to change their name to UK Squeeze, in order to avoid confusion with an American band called Tight Squeeze; by the end of the year, they had reverted back to Squeeze in the US. Preceded by the hit single ‘Take Me I’m Yours,’ the album became a moderate success.” STE

  • Take Me I’m Yours [2:48] (2/3/78, 19 UK, 37 CL, 14 CO) 45, GH, BS, ES
  • Bang Bang (5/78, 49 UK, 42 CL, 19 CO)
  • Model (3/9/79, B-side of “Cool for Cats”) BS

Cool for Cats (1979):

”The group’s true British breakthrough arrived in 1979, when they released their second album, Cool for Cats. More reprsentative of the band’s sound than its debut, Cool for Cats generated two number two singles in its title track and Up the Junction… Squeeze tried for a seasonal hit that year with Christmas Day, but the single failed to chart. Kakoulli was fired from the band after the release of Cool for Cats and was replaced by John Bentley.” STE

  • Goodbye Girl [3:05] (11/2/78, 63 UK, 28 CL, 21 CO) 45, GH, BS, ES
  • Cool for Cats [3:10] (3/9/79, 2 UK, 20 CL, 8 CO) 45, GH, BS, ES
  • Up the Junction [3:10] (5/18/79, 2 UK, 4 C, 4 CO) 45, GH, BS, ES
  • Slap and Tickle [4:19] (8/31/79, 24 UK, 27 CL, 14 CO) 45, GH, BS, ES

Argybargy (1980):

”Released in the spring of 1980, Argybargy received the strongest reviews of any Squeeze album to date, and produced moderate UK hits with Another Nail in My Heart and Pulling Mussells (From the Shell). Both songs, plus If I Didn’t Love You, became hits on college radio and New Wave clubs in America, increasing the band’s profile considerably; it was the first Squeeze album to chart in America, reaching number 71.” STE

  • Another Nail in My Heart [2:55] (1/80, 17 UK, 56 CN, 21 CL, 10 CO) 45, GH, BS, ES
  • If I Didn’t Love You [4:11] (3/12/80, 21 CL, 30 CO) 45
  • Pulling Mussels from the Shell [3:58] (5/9/80, 44 UK, 9 CL, 2 CO) 45, GH, PC, BS, ES

East Side Story (1981):

”Jools Holland, whose fascination with boogie-woogie piano was beginning to sit uncomfortably with Difford and Tilbrook’s increasingly sophisticated compositions, left the band in late 1980…he was replaced by Paul Carrack…Following Argybargy, critics in both the UK and US were calling Difford and Tillbrook ‘the new Lennon and McCartney,’ and in order to consolidate their growing reputation, Squeeze made an attempt at their own Sgt. Pepper with 1981’s East Side Story…Upon its summer release, [it] was hailed with excellent reviews.” STE Despite being “perhaps Squeeze’s most successful album,” NM “it didn’t become a huge hit as expected…The soulful, Carrack-sung Tempted failed to reach the UK Top 40, but it did become the group’s first charting US single, reaching the Top 50. The country-tinged Labelled with Love became the group’s third, and last, British Top 10 hit that fall. Carrack left at the end of 1981.” STE

  • Is That Love [2:34] (5/1/81, 39 CL, 16 CO, 35 UK) 45, GH, BS, ES
  • In Quintessence (6/6/81, 39 AR, 27 CL, 6 CO)
  • Tempted [4:00] (6/20/81, 49 US, 8 AR, 3 CL, 41 UK, 45 CN, 85 AU) 45, GH, PC, BS, ES
  • Labelled with Love [4:44] (9/25/81, 4 UK, 24 CL, 12 CO) 45, GH, BS, ES
  • Vanity Fair BS

Sweets from a Stranger (1982):

”Ever since the release of their debut, Squeeze had been touring and recording without break, and signs of weariness were evident on Sweets from a Stranger. Though it was the group’s highest-charting US album, reaching number 32 shortly after its spring release, [it] was uneven. In the UK, it was a considerable disappointment, reaching number 37, with its single Black Coffee in Bed stalling at number 51.” STE

  • Black Coffee in Bed [6:12] (4/9/82, 26 AR, 6 CL, 51 UK) 45, GH, PC, BS, ES
  • When the Hangover Strikes (7/82, --)

45’s and Under


Released: October 22, 1982

Recorded: 1978-1982

Peak: 47 US, 3 UK, 76 AU

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.3 UK, 1.3 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: new wave

Tracks: (1) Take Me I’m Yours (2) Goodbye Girl (3) Cool for Cats (4) Up the Junction (5) Slap and Tickle (6) Another Nail in My Heart (7) Pulling Mussels from the Shell (8) Labelled with Love * (9) If I Didn’t Love You * (10) Is That Love (11) Tempted (12) Black Coffee in Bed (13) Annie Get Your Gun

Total Running Time: 44:00


4.351 out of 5.00 (average of 17 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About 45s and Under:

”Difford and Tilbrook decided to disband Squeeze late in 1982, releasing the compilation Singles – 45s and Under, shortly after its announcement. Ironically, Singles peaked at number three on the British charts; it would later go platinum in the US.” STE

* “Labelled with Love” appeared on the UK version while “If I Didn’t Love You” was on the US version.

Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • Annie Get Your Gun [3:22] (10/8/82, 40 AR, 12 CL, 43 UK, 52 AU) 45, GH, BS, ES

Difford & Tilbrook (1984):

”Difford and Tilbrook had no intention of ending their collaboration — they simply wanted to pursue other projects. In particular, they saw themselves as songwriters in the classic tradition of Tin Pan Alley or the Brill Building, and began writing for Helen Shapiro, Paul Young, Billy Bremner and Jools Holland. They also worked on Labelled with Love, a musical based on their songs, which played briefly in Deptford, England early in 1983. The duo released an eponymous album in the summer of 1984, showcasing a sophisticated new sound, as well as long, flowing haircuts and coats. The record was a moderate success, but the duo already were thinking of re-forming Squeeze.” STE

  • Love’s Crashing Waves [3:08] (6/84, 32 CO, 57 UK) PC
  • Hope Fell Down [4:22] (9/84, --) PC

Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti (1985):

“Early in 1985, the band reunited to play a charity gig, which prompted Difford, Tilbrook, Holland, and Lavis (who had been driving a cab) to…re-form, adding bassist Keith Wilkinson. Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti was released in the fall of 1985 to positive reviews and moderately successful sales.” STE

  • Last Time Forever [4:13] (6/15/85, 28 CO, 45 UK) GH, PC, BS, ES
  • No Place Like Home [4:28] (9/85, 83 UK) GH
  • Hits of the Year (10/5/85, 39 AR, 31 CO)
  • King George Street [3:49] (4/86, --) GH

Babylon and On (1987):

Babylon and On followed in the fall of 1987, and the album became a surprise hit, reaching number 14 in the UK generating their biggest American hits – Hourglass, which reached number 15 on the strength of MTV’s heavy rotation of the song’s inventive video, and the Top 40 853-5937.” STE

  • Hourglass [3:19] (7/87, 15 US, 13 RR, 45 AC, 22 AR, 3 CO, 16 UK, 23 CN, 90 AU) GH, PC, BS, ES
  • Trust Me to Open My Mouth [3:13] (9/87, 50 AR, 25 CO, 72 UK) GH
  • The Waiting Game (11/87, --)
  • 853-5937 (12/19/87, 32 US, 27 RR, 37 AR, 6 CO, 91 UK, 50 CN)
  • Footprints [3:48] (6/88, --) GH

Frank (1989):

“Squeeze’s renewed success wasn’t long-lasting. The group’s next album, Frank, was released in the fall of 1989 and it wasn’t given much a promotional push by A&M. Consequently, it flopped in both the US and the UK,” STE although If It’s Love was a top 10 modern rock hit in the U.S. “During the supporting tour…A&M dropped Squeeze, leaving the band in the cold. Following the tour, Holland left the band” STE for a second time.

  • If It’s Love [3:58] (9/89, 7 MR) GH, PC
  • Love Circles [5:34] (1/15/90, --) GH

Greatest Hits


Released: September 18, 2001

Recorded: 1978-1989

Peak: -- US, 6 UK

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.3 UK

Genre: new wave

Tracks: (1) Take Me I’m Yours (2) Goodbye Girl (3) Cool for Cats (4) Up the Junction (5) Slap and Tickle (6) Another Nail in My Heart (7) Pulling Mussels from the Shell (8) Tempted (9) Is That Love (10) Labelled with Love (11) Black Coffee in Bed (12) Annie Get Your Gun (13) King George Street (14) Last Time Forever (15) No Place Like Home (16) Hourglass (17) Trust Me to Open My Mouth (18) Footprints (19) If It’s Love (20) Love Circles


4.170 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)

About Greatest Hits:

The first 12 cuts were also on the UK edition of 45s and Under, although in a slightly different running order. The other eight cuts are from the three studio albums Squeeze made after reuniting in 1985. It includes the band’s biggest U.S. hit, “Hourglass.”

Play (1991):

“in 1991, the band signed with Reprise Records…The resulting album, Play, was released in the fall of 1991 to little attention, partially because it received no support from the label.” STE It did land one song, Satisfied, at #3 on the U.S. modern rock charts.

  • Sunday Street [4:16] (7/91, --)
  • Satisfied [5:10] (8/3/91, 3 MR, 47 CN)
  • Crying in My Sleep [5:03] (10/26/91, 14 MR)

Some Fantastic Place (1993):

“Squeeze resigned with A&M Records in early 1993 and recorded their new album, Some Fantastic Place, with…Paul Carrack [returning] on keyboards…The album became a moderate British hit, debuting at number 26; it was ignored in the US” STE although the Carrack-led Loving You Tonight was one of the most pop savvy songs they’d ever done and Everything in the World was a top ten modern rock hit in the U.S.

  • Third Rail [3:39] (7/12/93, 39 UK) BS
  • Some Fantastic Place [4:32] (8/30/93, 73 UK) PC, BS, ES
  • Everything in the World [4:30] (9/18/93, 9 MR) PC
  • Loving You Tonight [4:49] (10/18/93, --) PC, ES
  • It’s Over [3:45] (2/28/94, 89 UK)

The Piccadilly Collection


Released: August 20, 1996

Recorded: 1980-1993

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: new wave

Tracks: (1) Everything in the World (2) Some Fantastic Place (3) Loving You Tonight (4) If It’s Love (5) Within These Walls (5) What the Butler Saw (6) Squabs on the Forty Fab (7) Pulling Mussels from the Shell (8) Hourglass (9) Tempted (10) Black Coffee in Bed (11) Elephant Girl (12) Spanish Girl (13) Annie Get Your Gun (14) Love’s Crashing Waves (15) Hope Fell Down (16) This Could Be the Last Time (17) Last Time Forever


3.909 out of 5.00 (average of 7 ratings)

About The Piccadilly Collection:

This compilation doesn’t know what it wants to be. It isn’t a straight retrospective, as it omits some essential Squeeze songs (“Take Me I’m Yours,” “Cool for Cats,” “Up the Junction”). In addition, it includes three songs from the most recent Some Fantastic Place album, but nothing from the Play album right before it. The collection gathers a handful of B-sides, but isn’t bold enough to be a full-fledged archival package – which would be a welcome edition to the Squeeze catalog. It does also include a few songs from the 1984 collaboration between Difford & Tilbrook that essentially serves as the lost Squeeze album.

Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • What the Butler Saw [2:45] (5/9/80, B-side of “Pulling Mussels from the Shell”) PC, BS
  • Squabs on Forty Fab [4:47] (9/25/81, B-side of “Labelled with Love”) PC, BS
  • Elephant Girl [3:37] (7/82, B-side of “When the Hangover Strikes”) PC, BS
  • Spanish Guitar [2:44] (10/8/82, B-side of “Annie Get Your Gun”) PC, BS
  • Within These Walls [2:59] (6/84, B-side of “Love’s Crashing Waves”) PC

Ridiculous (1995):

Squeeze’s 1995 album “Ridiculous became a moderate hit, generating the hits This Summer and Electric Trains.” STE

  • This Summer [3:37] (8/21/95, 32 UK) BS, ES
  • Electric Trains (10/30/95, 44 UK) BS
  • Heaven Knows (5/27/96, 27 UK) BS

Domino (1998):

The band’s seemingly last hurrah was with “Domino, in November of 1998.” STE Difford and Tilbrook were the only members left from any of the previous incarnations of Squeeze; then “Chris Difford effectively broke up the band in 1999 with his announcement that he was taking a hiatus from working with Tilbrook.” NM Both would release solo albums over the next 15+ years before Squeeze reunited again for an album in 2015.

  • Domino [4:34] BS
  • Without You Here [3:29] ES

Big Squeeze: Very Best of


Released: June 2002

Recorded: 1978-1998

Peak: -- US, 8 UK

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.1 UK

Genre: new wave

Tracks – Disc 1: (1) Take Me I’m Yours (2) Goodbye Girl (3) Cool for Cats (4) Up the Junction (5) Slap and Tickle (6) Another Nail in My Heart (7) Pulling Mussels from the Shell (8) Is That Love (9) Tempted (10) Black Coffee in Bed (11) Annie Get Your Gun (12) Labelled with Love (13) Last Time Forever (14) Hourglass (15) Some Fantastic Place (16) Third Rail (17) This Summer (18) Electric Trains (19) Heaven Knows (20) Domino

Tracks – Disc 2: (1) Suites from Five Strangers (2) Squabs on Forty Fab (3) Model (4) Spanish Guitar (5) Elephant Girl (6) Trust (7) Yap, Yap, Yap (8) The Fortnight Saga (9) Wedding Bells (10) What the Butler Saw (11) Going Crazy (12) Introvert (13) Who’s That? (14) Vanity Fair (15) Christmas Day (16) Maidstone (17) Discipline (18) Periscope (19) All’s Well


3.579 out of 5.00 (average of 8 ratings)

About Big Squeeze: The Very Best of:

The Piccadilly Collection tried to be both a greatest hits and B-sides collection and mangled both efforts by trying to squish it all onto one disc. Big Squeeze fixes that problem by devoting one disc the hits and a second to B-sides.

Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • All’s Well (8/31/79, B-side of “Slap and Tickle”) BS
  • Christmas Day (11/23/79, --) BS
  • Going Crazy (11/23/79, B-side of “Christmas Day”) BS
  • Trust (/5/1/81, B-side of “Is That Love”) BS
  • Yap, Yap, Yap (7/10/81, B-side of “Tempted”) BS
  • Introvert (1984, Difford & Tilbrook) BS
  • Suites from Five Strangers (6/85, B-side of “Last Time Forever”) BS
  • The Fortnight Saga (9/85, B-side of “No Place Like Home”) BS
  • Wedding Bells (7/87, B-side of “Hourglass”) BS
  • Who’s That? (1/15/90, B-side of “Love Circles”) BS
  • Maidstone (7/91, B-side of “Satisfied”) BS
  • Discipline (8/30/93, B-side of “Some Fantastic Place”) BS
  • Periscope (8/21/95, B-side of “This Summer”) BS



Released: May 2007

Recorded: 1978-1998

Peak: -- US, 25 UK

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: new wave

Tracks: (1) Take Me I’m Yours (2) Goodbye Girl (3) Cool for Cats (4) Up the Junction (5) Slap and Tickle (6) Another Nail in My Heart (7) Pulling Mussels from the Shell (8) Is That Love (9) Tempted (10) Labelled with Love (11) Black Coffee in Bed (12) Annie Get Your Gun (13) Last Time Forever (14) Hourglass (15) Some Fantastic Place (16) Loving you Tonight (17) This Summer (18) Without You Here (19) Library Girl (20) Last Call for Love


3.496 out of 5.00 (average of 7 ratings)

About Essential:

As a career overview encapsulating 20 years on one disc, this isn’t a bad collection. It does skip over the Frank and Play albums, but includes the requisite early songs which were also featured on 45s and Under and Greatest Hits. There are two previously unreleased cuts from the early ‘80s.

Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • Library Girl [3:17] (1980, recorded during Argybargy sessions) ES
  • Last Call for Love [3:26] (1982, recorded during Sweets from a Stranger sessions) ES

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 3/12/2011; last updated 2/7/2022.

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