The Five Squeeze Songs I Would Take To My Desert Island
For those outside the UK, there exists a long running BBC radio show called Desert Island Discs, on which famous guests are asked to select several articles they would have with them on their fictional, unreachable desert island, including books, sentimental items or pieces of music. It was fronted for many years by its one-time creator, the late Roy Plomley, but the current incarnation is presented by ex-newsreader Kirsty Young.
I am a huge admirer of the South London pop band Squeeze, who rose to prominence in the late 70s and early 80s, purveying a timeless version of guitar-laden, English pop beloved of The Beatles, The Kinks and many others.
A close friend of mine, knowing my liking for the songs of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, suggested I come up with a list of five ideal Squeeze tunes that I would take to my desert island – and it was a choice I spent some time considering.
After much deliberation, I arrived at the following list of superb Squeeze songs:
• Some Fantastic Place: A light, McCartney touch to the vocal, a meandering chord progression that leads the listener down unsuspecting melodic avenues and a lyric of some pathos from Difford, fashioned out of a real life tragedy concerning the death of a close friend – all combining to make a lasting thing of pop beauty and a welcome, early 90s return to form
• Tempted: Produced by Elvis Costello and sung by the wondrous Paul Carrack. It is a sinuous slice of English soul, with Tilbrook and Costello making short vocal interjections in the second verse, all of it topped off by Carrack’s delicious keyboards
• Pulling Mussels From A Shell: One of Difford’s inspired, Ray Davies-like lyrics about the experiences of being on a British, low-budget package holiday (lyric: but behind the chalet, my holiday’s complete, and I feel like William Tell, Maid Marian on her tiptoed feet)
• Up The Junction: A title borrowed from a 1963 Nell Dunn book and a 1965 TV drama starring Carol White, it expressed similar predicaments regarding accidental pregnancy and the effects such an occurrence can have on vulnerable, young protagonists
• Annie Get Your Gun – Released on October 8th 1982, it was to be the band’s last single before they broke up for the first time. A rousing rocker, it featured a tasty Tilbrook guitar break part way through, another pristine vocal and some further, lyrical obscurity from Difford. A song of unrelenting cheerfulness.