Glenn Tilbrook – 18 December 2014 – live at Hotel LA, Brisbane, Australia
What could be better than Squeeze releasing the demos of their classic songs you ask? Well, how about releasing their demos of the new songs from the album they haven’t even released yet! Does that sound Arse About Face? Yes it is! Literally!
Why not pop over to the skillfully hidden Squeeze Official Shop and make sure Santa slips one of these into your stocking to make you feel festive.
As sold exclusively on the US 2012 Tour, Arse About Face is the 4 Track EP of demos recorded by the band just over just a few days in July 2012. Includes an early version of “Tommy”.
Strictly limited to one manufacture run only.
Top Of The Form
This week has been an exceptionally busy week for me with my business. Added to this, like most of us I am trying to tie up all the loose ends and do the tasks we seem to put off for as long as we can, i.e. tax returns, before the festive holidays.
But I didn’t want to let my weekly slot slip by without wishing everyone a super Christmas and a fantastic happy and healthy 2015. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing for Packet of Three over the past month and look forward to doing so again in the New Year. Until next time I thought I would end my 2014 blogs in Sharon Bull style with a verse…
When the hangover strikes
On a perfect Christmas day,
When we wish to back track
When we wish to feel okay,
When we should have known better
To think there’s strong in reason,
When we know the first thing wrong
Was to celebrate the festive season,
When feeling slightly drunk
And dressed up to the nines,
We didn’t trust our instincts
And we didn’t read the signs,
When after being tempted to have the extra wine,
With a head that’s going bang bang
And the wish that we’d declined.
So when the hangover strikes
On a perfect Christmas day,
When we wish to back track
When we wish to feel okay,
When we try to recollect but only heaven knows,
When black coffee in bed
Seems the only way it goes,
When we swear I won’t ever go drinking again
Until its New Year’s Eve
And then we’re tempted again!
See you in 2015!
It goes without saying (so why am I saying it then?) that a song can be covered many ways. The most obvious way is to be faithful to the original and to do a virtual like-for-like copy. If you’re an artist with a big enough following, the cover can end up being more successful than the original. There are many examples of this but the one that springs immediately to mind is Robbie Williams’s cover of World Party’s “She’s The One”. At the other end of the spectrum, you could do what the Dickies did to the Moody Blues classic “Nights In White Satin”, speed it up and give it a bit of attitude. Alternatively, you can strip the song back to its basics and slow it down a bit like Gary Jules and Michael Andrews’ version of “Mad World”. Then again, you can take a classic and make it sound like one of your own, just like the Pet Shop Boys did with “Always On My Mind” – recently voted the top cover version of all time in a BBC Music vote. You can do it acapella style like The Flying Picket’s “Only You” or do a parody like Big Daddy and “Dancing In The Dark”.
There are, however, some songs that shouldn’t be touched with barge pole as it’s simply wrong. I don’t care if it’s raising money for a national children’s charity or its contributors are some of the biggest names in the field. God only knows who thought that was a good idea! I guess some of you feel the same way about certain Squeeze songs, “Some Fantastic Place” instantly comes to mind.
For me, the best thing any cover can do is breathe new life into the original, keeping it alive for a new generation to discover, appreciate and then make their own cover to continue the cycle.
In my search for Squeeze covers on YouTube, I’ve come across examples of all of the above and will share them with you over the coming weeks. This week’s cover is one of my favourites. Ernie Halter’s version of “Black Coffee in Bed” is simply stunning. I hope you think so, too.
Until the next time, toodle pip!
Every gig I attended was religiously logged onto the back pages of my Squeeze scrapbooks. These were filled with newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, interviews, stolen concert posters and memorabilia of the band. From March 8th 1978 when I first saw them play, until November 2nd 1982 I had recorded seeing Squeeze just over 30 times. At the side of each gig I would write feedback about the show, the band and the audience reaction. It was a very biased opinion…
Manchester University – Wed November 8th 1978
“Not many people there, but very good gig!”
Retford Porter House – Saturday March 17th 1979
“No encore, but still very good though!”
London Lyceum – Sunday August 12th 1979
“The best yet, packed full of Squeeze fans!”
Manchester Apollo – Friday November 23rd 1979
“I enjoyed it very much, but Squeeze seemed a little down about the gig.”
Nottingham University – Friday March 7th 1980
“The gig was a sell out, the crowd were electric and Squeeze played their best gig yet!”
These are just a few random samples of my entries and this went on up until late 1982 when the gig register did become a little hit and miss, perhaps my job or boyfriends got in the way. One thing I do know, taking into account Chris and Glenn’s solo tours, Difford and Tilbrook, Jools & his Millionaires, Big Band and Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, my catalogue of concerts would now have been in the hundreds.
And within this inventory of concert dates there is also a collection of wonderful memories.
Manchester UMIST Thursday May 17th 1979
When the band asked me if I would like to join them for drinks in the bar and Jools entertained us all by playing pranks on nearly every other member of the band.
Sheffield Limit Club – Tuesday Nov 20th 1979
When Chris pulled me up on stage and handed me the maracas during their set.
Where Glenn and I sat on the edge of the stage talking about our music tastes and I listened in awe whilst he told me about the time he saw Marc Bolan live. I had been a huge fan of T.Rex, but still being at school in the height of their musical career was never fortunate enough to see them play.
One of my fondest memories though is quite a few years later in 1999, when Glenn agreed to do a benefit gig for me. Squeeze were on tour and supporting Blondie at the Sheffield Arena on November 25th, so we arranged the event to take place the evening before, with all proceeds going to the NSPCC. The gig itself was incredible, raising well over a thousand pounds and although I will always be eternally grateful for this, that’s not the reason I treasure this time. My Father, who passed away in 2003, had been really looking forward to being there and supporting me at my first charity event, but sadly through his illness he couldn’t make it. Glenn and his lovely wife Suzanne were both staying over at my house and agreed to pay him a visit on their way to Sheffield. Tea and cake with a member of the band his daughter had followed since a teenager, my Dad was in his element. It was something he never forgot and mentioned to all of his friends.
Until next time
Isle of Noises by Daniel Rachel is a great book that’s now out in paperback and perfect for a Christmas present for the Squeeze fan in your life – you!
Isle of Noises features brand-new, exclusive, in-depth conversations with twenty-seven of the UK’s greatest living musicians. Artists discuss their individual approach to writing, the inspiration behind their most successful songs, and the techniques and methods they have independently developed. It is an incredible musical journey spanning fifty years, from ‘Waterloo Sunset’ by Ray Davies to ‘The Beast’ by Laura Marling, with many lyrical and melodic secrets revealed along the way.
Original handwritten lyrics from personal archives and notebooks (many never-before-seen) offer a unique glimpse into the heart of the creative process, and some of the greatest names in photography, including Jill Furmanovsky, Pennie Smith and Sheila Rock, have contributed stunning portraits of each artist.
The combination of individual personal insights and the breadth and depth of knowledge in their collected experience makes Isle of Noises the essential word on classic British songwriting – as told by the songwriters themselves.
A great set of questions. I’m proud to be part of this project. Ray Davies
I was astounded by Daniel’s knowledge and even after all these years to be asked original questions that surprise you was very impressive. Robin Gibb
I know you’ve had glowing reports from others – it’s really interesting how you did it. Jimmy Page
I’ve always been very wary about analysing songwriting. It’s always been a mystery to me where ideas come from. Bryan Ferry
I enjoyed the conversation very much. What did the guys have to say? Joan Armatrading
Really good questions. It’s nice to speak to someone with some musical knowledge who’s smart. That’s unusual. Sting
I want to read what Ray Davies said; a hero of mine. Andy Partridge
One of the best and most challenging interviews I’ve ever done. Great. Glenn Tilbrook
What you’re doing’s great and very important. The questions are brilliant, really interesting . . . sometimes you know straightaway if someone’s going to be trotting out the same old stuff. You’ve obviously got a real feeling for the esoteric, romantic and spiritual side of it. Johnny Marr
It’s a really interesting project. I bet no one says the same thing. Damon Albarn
I hope I’ve been able to shed some light onto my weird brain. Lily Allen
It is often said that one of the reasons why none of the major artists have covered Squeeze songs is that the songs would just sound like Squeeze. I’ve never quite understood that argument but it did get me thinking about what the Squeeze sound actually is. Is it Glenn and Chris’s octave-apart vocal? Is it Glenn’s trademark fist full of chords and/or guitar solo? Is it Chris’s brilliantly observed lyric? Take “East Side Story”, quintessentially Squeeze. You can’t imagine any other band coming up with an album like that and expect to get away with it. Yet, there are so many different kinds of song on it, from country to soul, pop/rock to ballad, rock ’n’ roll to pop and from the quirky to the melodramatic. “Tempted” is as Squeeze as you can get and so is “Heaven” but had you not heard them before, would you have said they both came from the same band? I can’t describe what the Squeeze sound is but I know it when I hear it.
This week’s cover is faithful to the original and, therefore, it does sound like a Squeeze song. This is no bad thing when the band’s Travis and the song’s “Is That Love” from “East Side Story”.
Until the next time, toodle pip!
Fancy a brew? Yes, I’d love a cup of tea. And what better for the long-term aficionado of Glenn Tilbrook than your very own Happy Ending mug. And only £5. What’s stopping you? http://www.glenntilbrook-shop.co.uk/xcart/product.php?productid=16212&cat=251&page=1
Glenn Tilbrook is currently in Australia and starts his solo tour there tomorrow, information on all
Dec 4 Lizottes – Central Coast
Dec 5 Lizottes – Dee Why
Dec 7 Lizottes – Newcastle
Dec 11 Spotted Mallard – Melbourne
Dec 12 Caravan – Melbourne
Dec 18 Hotel LA – Brisbane
Dec 19 Miami Tavern – Gold Coast
Glenn is also appearing with his friend Mike Peters at Rock The Congress on Saturday 6th December
This is part of a world cancer conference that is currently underway in Melbourne. Mike is going to be talking about his personal experiences with the disease and also the work of Love Hope Strength.
Glenn will also be touring in Japan next March, details are on the website.
Glenn and Chris go in to the studio to start work on their first album since Domino in January.
Exciting year ahead in the Squeeze camp.
Thank you for all your continued support.
Well, what else should be on your Christmas list – for yourself!
Squeeze Official Shop: http://squeeze.mybigcommerce.com/chris-difford-lyric-book/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Lyrics-Chris-Difford/dp/0957025734
Lyric Book: http://www.lyricbook.com/products/details/the_lyrics_of_chris_difford
As the Squeeze Offical Shop says, “Type a description for this product here..” Well, since that tells you very little, here’s what Chris Difford and Lyric Book themselves have to say:
“Having my words in a book makes me feel extremely grown up, I feel gratitude and more that my life has given me this place. I have always enjoyed putting pen to paper and this book I hope shows off some of my favourite lyrics. Writing with Glenn has been my life, and without him and his wonderful sway of melody I would not be here writing this today. I feel so lucky that to have written with so many great writers over the years. I hope you like thumbing through this book as much as I do.”
So what to buy the Squeeze fan in your life – yourself! for Christmas. Here’s an idea:
The release of John Bentley’s New Solo Album ‘…based on a true story’
Exclusively to Vinyl and Digital Downloads. Available on ITunes, BandCamp, Cdbaby and Plane Groovy Records…Order Now…Ready in time for Christmas!
Buy it here:
Plane Groovy http://www.planegroovy.com/planegroovystore.html
CD Baby http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/JohnBentley1
When David invited me to join his small but illustrious team of bloggers I had to give it a little bit of thought. After a full five seconds of the most intense interrogation my cerebral cortex has experienced in many years, I agreed. The brief in David’s own words “… All you would have to do would be to choose a Squeeze cover on YouTube and say a line or two about it. Just once a week. Simple! …”. What can possibly go wrong? Well, for a start, if you’ve ever put “Squeeze” or “Slap And Tickle” into YouTube’s search engine you’ll know that one of Difford & Tilbrook’s finely crafted songs is not necessarily the first thing you’ll see in the results. Secondly, there aren’t that many covers of Squeeze songs on YouTube (and David’s mentioned two of them already), certainly not recorded by well-known artists, so I may have to cast the net further to catch some of the lesser known efforts. I might also have to be creative in interpreting what constitutes a “cover”. Anyway, that’s for me to worry about, all you have to do is watch and/or listen to the cover and give it marks out of ten – if only to give me comfort that there’s someone out there reading this. I’m very insecure, you know.
My first choice for “Squeeze Covered” is one of the most unlikely pairings of singer and song that you could imagine, Elaine Paige singing “The Apple Tree”, from her 1985 album “Love Hurts”.
It’s only when you realise that Tony Visconti produced both this and Difford and Tilbrook’s eponymously named album that you see any connection. You’d have thought there were other more fitting songs from that album for her to sing.
That said, Elaine gives it her all and it’s a version I quite like because it reminds me of the place where I first heard it, a pub in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the Yorkshire Dales.
Well it’s time for me to start mining for more Squeeze gems so, until the next time, toodle pip!
You can go on a two day course with Chris if you follow the link here:
Lyric-writing bootcamp with Chris Difford
Join Chris Difford, Ivor Novello Award-winning lyricist and founder member of Squeeze, for a crash course in the art and philosophy of writing words that matter.
Dates: Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 January 2015
Lyrics are often seen as an afterthought to songwriting, when in fact they’re a critical part of the process. Good lyrics are the key to making a song connect with an audience by imbuing it with an emotional heart – great lyrics will even drive a song’s melody and tone. But many songwriters struggle with writing lyrics, whether through lack of confidence or lack of inspiration.
This practical, philosophical and entertaining course offers budding songwriters an amazing opportunity to work in a small group with Chris Difford, the much-loved Squeeze lyricist renowned for his ability to spin everyday life into classic songs such as Up the Junction and Tempted. Of course, the best lyrics are true to the writer, conveying ideas and emotions that are personal to them. Whether your head is in the clouds, the kitchen sink or the gutter, Chris will help you use your own feelings and experiences to write lyrics that will resonate with listeners and add new depth to your music.
This course is for you if…
You’re a budding songwriter who wants to establish a personal style for your lyrics
You’re a more experienced musician looking to develop your lyric-writing technique
This practical weekend course mixes tuition, discussion and practical workshops with award-winning Squeeze lyricist Chris Difford. Attendees will explore and experiment with various lyrical perspectives and techniques to help develop a personal style of expression that will have a lasting effect on their songwriting. Topics covered over the weekend include:
PLEASE NOTE: While no formal qualifications are required, an ability to play a musical instrument is advantageous. Attendees may being an instrument along if they wish, but it is not essential.
Chris Difford is a founder member of Squeeze and the lyricist behind classic songs such as Up the Junction, Black Coffee in Bed and Pulling Mussels (From the Shell). Chris is the winner of numerous awards, including two Ivor Novellos, one of which was for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Chris also teaches songwriting at Brighton Music College.
Chris Difford will be the guest on Rufus Hound’s ‘My Teenage Diary’ next Thursday 4 December 2014 at 6:30. Listen in!
“Rufus Hound is joined by the musician and Squeeze founder member Chris Difford. His 1974 diary talks about the very early days of the band and describes life behind the scenes – including a wild ride down the A20 on the back of a motorbike.”
Whenever Squeeze have toured they’ve produced a small booklet for the tour containing all the details of each venue, contact details, load-in and soundcheck times. There are normally only a dozen or more copies and the band, crew and managers each have a copy.
Have you got any in your collection? We’d love to see them – so get in touch!