New Wave Blind Spots: Squeeze

squeeze 1979 press pic
The early squeeze lineup with Jools Holland, will always be “Squeeze” to me

There’s almost 2500 posts at PPM and this is the first one on Squeeze. There’s a reason for that. In all candor, they were never a group that really excited me in any way. I know many at the time [late 70s-early 80s] felt that songwriters Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook were the Lennon + McCartney of their era. Well, that might have something to do with my antipathy. I never much rated Lennon + McCartney much less a duo who might be their echo nearly 20 years later! But the first time I heard Squeeze was a very different scenario.

Squeeze US debut LP promo on red vinyl
A+M Records | US | LP [red] 1978 | SP-4687

At the high school radio station I immediately gravitated to upon entering the student body, in 1978, we had a few current promos sent to us by I.R.S. and A+M Records. They were the only label that would service a 10 watt mono student station back then! We had received the first Squeeze album, and I heard the song touted on this album’s hype sticker. “Take Me I’m Yours” was to these young ears, a relentless earworm with the song built on a motorik synth pulse that was like a sonic tarpit I loved falling into. As we can see from the cover, it was very New Wave in its coloration! And so was that single! I loved that song but everything else that I heard from the album failed to ignite any interest.

Back in the day, A+M Records was the only major label with much of a handle on New Wave. They seemed to be all-in on it as compared to…Atlantic Records. They had no problem putting out quirkily packaged records that even today, I’d buy copies of if I saw them in a bin [at he right price]. Squeeze was the beneficiary of some pretty outlandish packing gambits.

US Squeeze 10" EP
A+M Records | US | 10″ | 1979

Like this little beauty. Not only was it a holy 10″ record [there were not too many of those in 1979…] but the die-cut cover brilliantly illustrated this with a 12″ sleeve being “squeezed” by hands down to 10″ size. It managed to be a compilation of tracks from the band’s first two albums; usually in live or remixed single form. I never bought one of these, but these days, I don’t think I could resist such potent gimmix packaging. Even so, I managed to accrue five releases in my Record Cell with Squeeze represented.

squeeze - if I didn't love you US 5"
A+M Records | US | 5″ 1980 | 1616-S

Squeeze: Take Me I’m Yours [Tiny Collector’s Edition] – US – 5″ [1980]

  1. If I Didn’t Love You
  2. Another Nail In My Heart

I remember seeing this in 1980. I think chasinvictoria had a copy and when I finally saw one in maybe 1992 in a Tampa record store I took the bait. The 5″ single was unplayable on many automatic turntables, but as I was never going to actually play the record; just feed my exotic format fetish, that was fine by me. When I looked this release up just now, I honestly thought that the B-side was “Pulling Mussels From the Shell.” See? I can’t tell these Squeeze songs apart, for the most part. It remains the only pure Squeeze release in my Record Cell… but I have a few appearances by the band on compilations.

various steppin into the 80s Dutch CBS
CBS | Netherlands | LP | 1980 | CBS 84171

Various: Steppin’ Into The 80s – Netherlands – LP [1980]

  1. Joe Jackson: Geraldine & John
  2. Paul Collins’ Beat: Rock ‘n Roll Girl
  3. Jules And The Polar Bears: Good Reason
  4. The Nits: The Young Reporter
  5. 20/20: Cheri
  6. Live Wire: Money
  7. The Only Ones: Another Girl, Another Planet
  8. David Werner: What’s Right
  9. Nina Hagen: Auf’m Rummel
  10. Bruce Woolley: English Garden
  11. The Romantics: What I Like About You
  12. White Honey: Nothing Going On In The City
  13. Mi-Sex: A Loser
  14. The Sinceros: I Still Miss You
  15. Squeeze: Another Nail In My Heart
  16. After The Fire: One Rule For You

This was another album that I first encountered in the collection of chasinvictoria. Goodness knows where he came upon a Dutch New Wave comp from 1980, but at least it’s a great one! Lots of New Wave and Power Pop. Most of which was more interesting to me than Squeeze, represented here once more by “Another Nail In My Heart.” This was another album that I eventually found my copy of maybe a decade later than chasinvictoria. Probably at some record show. I bought this specifically for the David Werner and Nina Hagen tracks.

Chasinvictoria might have played “Auf’m Rummel” which translates to “At The Carnival.” I think I have only ever played the Hagen and Werner cuts off of this. It’s still my favorite song of the Nina Hagen Band era material. One day I need to digitize this and make a CD of it… and report back with my findings!

rhino - teenage kicks the best of UK pop 1
Rhino Records | US | CD | 1993 | R2 71173

Various: Teenage Kicks [UK Pop v. 1 1976-79]

  1. Nick Lowe: So It Goes
  2. Eddie & The Hot Rods: Do Anything You Wanna Do
  3. Nick Lowe: Mary Provost
  4. Wreckless Eric: Whole Wide World
  5. The Motors Dancing The Night Away
  6. Tom Robinson Band 2-4-6-8 Motorway
  7. Kursaal Flyers Television Generation
  8. Squeeze: Take Me, I’m Yours
  9. The Only Ones: Another Girl, Another Planet
  10. XTC: This Is Pop?
  11. The Boys: Brickfield Nights
  12. The Motors: Airport
  13. Jilted John: Jilted John
  14. The Rezillos: Top Of The Pops
  15. Rich Kids: Ghosts Of Princes In Towers
  16. The Undertones: Teenage Kicks
  17. Yachts: Look Back In Love (Not In Anger)
  18. The Pleasers: A Girl I Know (Precis Of A Friend)
  19. Skids: Into The Valley

Rhino released a spate of the D.I.Y. series of New Wave era compilations in 1993; the year that New Wave Comps on CD officially became a trend. Our friend Squeeze are here with their first UK Top 10 single, the enchanting “Take Me I’m Yours.” But I’ll admit that this whole CD is pretty fabbo from start to finish. I see The Only Ones are here again with the same track as on the last record we examined. Memo to self: review this album one day.

Rhino - starry eyes the bext of UK pop 2
Rhino Records | US | CD | 1993 | RS 71174

Various: Starry Eyes [UK Pop v. 2 1978-1979] – US – CD [1993]

  1. Buzzcocks: Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)
  2. The Undertones: Get Over You
  3. Yachts: Yachting Types
  4. Joe Jackson: Is She Really Going Out With Him?
  5. Starjets: Schooldays
  6. Bram Tchaikovsky: Girl Of My Dreams
  7. The Squares: This Is Airebeat
  8. XTC: Life Begins At The Hop
  9. Squeeze: Up The Junction
  10. The Jags: Back Of My Hand (I’ve Got Your Number)
  11. The Radiators: Let’s Talk About The Weather
  12. The Records: Starry Eyes
  13. Zones: Mourning Star
  14. Purple Hearts: Millions Like Us
  15. The Distractions: Time Goes By So Slow
  16. The Searchers: Hearts In Her Eyes
  17. The Revillos: Where’s The Boy For Me?
  18. Mo-Dettes: White Mice
  19. The Tourists: So Good To Be Back Home Again

I also own the Rhino companion volume to the previous CD. Once more, Squeeze are represented. This time by the more representative kitchen-sink dullness of “Up The Junction” than a more lively single like “Take Me I’m Yours.” Why was this in the Record Cell? It was the only way to get the holy Revillos on CD in dark ages of 1993! Not that the rest of the volume was chopped liver.

irs records - just in time for christmas
I.R.S. Records | US | CD 1990 | X2 13052

Various: Just In Time For Christmas – US – CD [1990]

  1. Squeeze: Christmas Day
  2. Rebel Pebbles: Cool Yule
  3. Klark Kent: Yo Ho Ho
  4. Torch Song: Hark
  5. Reckless Sleepers: Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday
  6. Steve Hunter: We Three Kings
  7. The dB’s: Home For The Holidays
  8. Molly Johnson And Norman Orenstein: Silent Night
  9. Deborah Holland: It Only Comes Once A Year
  10. Timbuk 3: All I Want For Christmas
  11. Kennedy Rose: More Than One Night A Year
  12. Dread Zeppelin: All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth
  13. Wall Of Voodoo: Shouldn’t Have Given Him A Gun For Christmas

By 1990, when this compilation came out, I.R.S. Records was a shadow of its former self. The scrappy New Wave oriented label of 1979 had in a decade lost its bearings and its top selling band when R.E.M. jumped ship to WEA. Why did I buy this? I was compiling a Klark Kent kompilation and a track appeared only here. Plus, it had the Torch Song track from their xmas flexidisc [that you can’t afford] here on a freaking CD! I.R.S. was in such artistic dire straits by 1990, that to this day I have never played this CD! So I can’t very well vouch for the merits or of the Squeeze track…for good or ill.

Squeeze managed to get a US hit by 1987 with the annoying “Hourglass” single after nearly a decade of existence where they actually split up for a few years and only their fans may have noticed. Me? I still can’t be bothered since the band that made “Take Me I’m Yours” quickly vanished to be replaced with what seemed like run of the mill Pub Rock to these ears. Your mileage may vary.


About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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14 Responses to New Wave Blind Spots: Squeeze

  1. critterjams says:

    tbh I never had much time for them. Cool for Cats, Argybargy, and East Side Story are all fine New Wave albums…but this band always felt second-rate to me, like why would you listen to them when all these other things exist. not to say they don’t have some tunes though. “Goodbye Girl” is one that would always pop up in my head, thanks to that real squacky synth underpinning…why don’t they do more things like that??


  2. Big Mark says:

    Cool For Cats was the one that did it for me, and the B-side medley “Squabs on Forty-Fab”. My collection at this late date consists of the “Singles 45 & Under” comp.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Big Mark – I suspect that most would be well serviced by “Singles 45 And Under.”


      • Taffy says:

        True, The Singles 45 and Under compilation is surely the only essential Squeeze album, but I have quite the affection for Argybargy (and to a lesser extent, East Side Story). Of course the compilation would be perfect if they had included the breakneck live version of Goodbye Girl (from that 10″ mini album) rather than the chugging studio cut. My enjoyment of this specific period of Squeeze is most probably due to simple timing as those albums came out while I was in college and just finding my new wave “identity.” A pivotal Squeeze/Flock of Seagulls concert at my college gym (I think in early 1982) also contributed to my affection for the band. As a postscript, saw them co-headline a tour with Cheap Trick about 12 years ago and they sounded excellent.


        • postpunkmonk says:

          Taffy – I remember that Squeeze/AFOS tour! It was just when New Wave was starting to ignite in America after MTV. Of course, it never came anywhere near Central Florida. The Curse of Orlando, as if …Orlando weren’t enough! You also make tme thing I need to finally hear “Goodbye Girl” if it inspires such passions.


  3. Tim says:

    I really want someone to do a medley of Tempted and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On?”
    Paging POMPLAMOOSE to the emergency cover phone!


  4. Mr. Ware says:

    Okay, I’ll go out on a limb and say I’ve had a renewed appreciation for Squeeze. Like many of you, I was happy enough with the “Singles 45 And Under” collection, but a couple of years ago I found a copy of another Squeeze sampler called “The Piccadilly Collection” in a 3 discs for $5 CD bin. How could I resist? While I bought it to get Squabs On Forty Fab, I was intrigued by some of the tracks from their albums from the 90s. After sampling on Apple Music I found dirt cheap copies of Frank, Play, Some Fantastic Place, Ridiculous, and Domino. Squeeze have evolved into a somewhat different band as they’ve aged and I find their adult pop style very agreeable, but as Mr. Monk sez “your mileage may vary”.


  5. I am always interested in how our tastes differ.


  6. James Pagan says:

    I’ve always had a soft spot in my head for these guys. The first Squeeze platter I ever bought was their remarkable 1982 album “Sweets From a Stranger.” (My vinyl copy had the “When It Comes to Squeeze, They Can’t Be Called Critics” removable cover flap.) “Sweets” contains, in my estimation, some of the group’s greatest songs, including “Black Coffee in Bed,” “I’ve Returned,” and “When the Hangover Strikes.”

    “Take Me, I’m Yours” really reminds me of early OMD; I wish they’d done more material in that vein. And I adore “Up the Junction”–it’s every bit as searingly soulful/soulfully searing as, say, “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”


    • postpunkmonk says:

      James Pagan – Interesting call on the OMD/Squeeze comparison. I can almost hear the threads of continuity between “Red Frame White Light” and “Take Me I’m Yours,” now that you sagely suggested that! And RFWL is my favorite song from “OMITD.”


    • Deserat says:

      Ahh – Black coffee in bed – great song and lyrics. I have one CD of Squeeze – his post has made me unearth it…will need to listen again. Will probably bring back a rush of memories…


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