Monday, June 17, 2019

Same Name/Different Artist: Squeeze

Squeeze: Take Me I’m Yours

I’ve always felt that Squeeze, despite some significant commercial success, never really got the respect that it was due. Top notch songwriting (to the point that Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook were often compared to Lennon and McCartney, which is a tough standard to live up to, but even being mentioned in that class is pretty good, right?), tight playing and great hooks made them popular in the UK, but less so in the US. Maybe there was something “too British” about them that didn’t translate so well here. But I’d stack up their second through fourth albums, and a handful of later songs, against anyone in their genre.

Plus, they played at a huge all-campus party at Princeton in 1982, and were great. I think.

This band was formed in 1974 by Difford and Tilbrook, who added Jools Holland and eventually drummer Gilson Lavis and bass player Harry Kakoulli. They decided to call themselves “Squeeze,” after the pseudo-Velvet Underground album of the same name. Their self-titled debut album (produced by former Velvet Underground member John Cale) was released in the UK in 1978 (although the two singles were actually produced by the band).

And here’s where we get to the theme.

In the United States, the band and the album  were called UK Squeeze, because a bar band from Connecticut called “Tight Squeeze” had registered the name, and the record company was leery of legal challenges. I’ve scoured the Internet for some audio or video evidence of this “Tight Squeeze,” but have been unable to locate any. Which may be a blessing (sorry, former members of Tight Squeeze, if you happen upon this blog post—send me some music and maybe I’ll edit this).

Guess what? Difford and Tilbrook and Co. were also called UK Squeeze in Australia. Because there was also a band from Sydney with that name. And while information is sparse on these guys, I did find a couple of videos, neither of which I find too compelling, but it does seem like they were popular in Australia, Germany and Scandinavia, and lead singer Robin Lee Sinclair has had a solo career, mostly as a country singer and Roy Orbison impersonator.

Our featured song, from the UK band, is “Take Me I’m Yours,” from the debut album that caused the identity crisis.

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