Band formed in Deptford
in the mid 70s by Chris Difford
) , Glenn Tilbrook
), Jools Holland
), Harry Kakouli
) and Gilson Lavis
Tilbrook was the lead singer on the majority of their material, with Difford harmonising, but Difford's gruffer, flatter vocals were occasionally used to good effect, particularly on their biggest UK hit, Cool For Cats. Difford and Tilbrook wrote almost all the band's material, although there was usually one song per album given to another band member.
The band were lumped in with the New Wave/Punk groups of the time, but in fact were closest to the beat groups of the 60s, particularly the Kinks, although they did have certain resemblances to Elvis Costello and Ian Dury
Their first EP, Packet Of Three, was produced by John Cale of the Velvet Underground (the band had named themselves, in characteristically perverse fashion, after the only Velvets album to feature neither Cale nor Lou Reed), and was followed in 1978 with the album (UK) Squeeze, featuring the hit single Take Me I'm Yours, a vaguely new-wave harmonised duet with Difford and Tilbrook.
Cool For Cats followed in 1979, featuring their two biggest UK hits, Cool For Cats and the glorious Up The Junction, along with two other hits Slap & Tickle and Goodbye Girl, the latter one of their best songs.
Kakouli left shortly thereafter, and was replaced by John Bentley for third album Argybargy(1980), the epitome of the Squeeze sound in most people's eyes, featuring the hit singles Pulling Mussels (From The Shell) and Another Nail For My Heart.
East Side Story (1981) saw another change in line-up. Jools Holland left the band to become a TV presenter, and was replaced by Paul Carrack, formerly of Ace and later of Mike & The Mechanics, who sang lead on Tempted, the band's best known song in the US (Elvis Costello and Glenn Tilbrook both sang odd lines in the song as well).The album also contained singles Is That Love? and Labelled With Love - the latter being not only the best thing the band ever did, but a strong contender for best song ever.
1982's Sweets From A Stranger saw yet another line-up change, with Carrack being replaced by Don Snow. The album contained the hit Black Coffee In Bed (featuring Elvis Costello and Paul Young on backing vocals), but the band split shortly afterwards.
Difford & Tilbrook made an album as a duo in 1984, before reforming the original band in 1985 (minus Kakouli, whose place was taken by Keith Wilkinson, who would become one of the band's longest-serving 'sidemen', remaining until 1996), for the relatively overlooked Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti. 1987's Babylon & On (featuring the hit Hourglass) and 1989's Frank featured the same line-up.
However, by 1991's Play Holland had left again, and shortly afterwards Lavis was fired. Tilbrook played keyboards on all future outings on record until their final outing, and for a while on stage Steve Nieve and Pete Thomas of Elvis Costello & The Attractions filled out the band.
1993's Some Fantastic Place, with Paul Carrack rejoining on piano towards the end of recording, is widely regarded as a return to form, and the title track, about the death of a friend, is Tilbrook's personal favourite Squeeze song. Comedian Bob Mortimer recently said that he had an agreement with his partner Vic Reeves that when one of them died, the survivor would sing it at the funeral. It's that kind of song. Third Rail, Cold Shoulder and It's Over all also survived in the band's setlist for the rest of the 90s.
For the tour, Kevin Wilkinson (no relation to Keith) joined the band on drums, and he stayed for 1995's Ridiculous and the subsequent tours. Carrack, however, left and was replaced again by Don Snow, who had changed his name to John Savannah, for the Ridiculous tour.
1998's Domino, the last Squeeze album, was released on the band's own label, A&M having dropped them, and was effectively by a different band, consisting of Difford, Tilbrook, Chris Holland (Jools' brother) on keyboards, Hilaire Penda on bass and Ashley Soan (drums). The band did one more tour together, but during a tour in 1999 Holland and Soan both dropped out, and eventually Difford did the same - after more than two decades, and with a widely-publicised alcohol problem, he no longer wished to tour.
Tilbrook and Penda finished the tour (supporting Blondie)with a new keyboard player and drummer, leading to the bizarre situation that at one point Jools Holland's Rhythm & Blues band was gigging with more members of Squeeze than Squeeze was (Holland's band has Lavis on drums, Chris Holland on second keyboard, and Difford guested at a handful of shows). After the tour, Tilbrook hung up the Squeeze name.
Tilbrook is now a solo artist, touring both solo and with new band The Party, playing mostly Squeeze songs with a handful of covers and a few new songs thrown in. He has released two solo singles - Parallel World and This Is Where You Ain't and an album, The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook.
Difford is currently managing and writing with Marti Pellow of Wet Wet Wet.
More info - www.squeezefan.com , www.glenntilbrook.com , www.quixoticrecords.com