For those outside the UK, there is a BBC radio show called Desert Island Discs, in which celebrity guests are asked to select various items that they would have with them on their fictional, unreachable desert island, including books, articles sentimental or pieces of music. It was spearheaded for many years by its creator, the late Roy Plomley, but the current incarnation is hosted by former news anchor Kirsty Young.
I’m a big fan of South London pop band Squeeze, who rose to fame in the late ’70s and early ’80s, providing a timeless take on the guitar-heavy English pop beloved by The Beatles, The Kinks and many. others.
A good friend of mine, who knew I liked songs by Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, suggested that I make a list of five ideal Squeeze tunes that would take me to my desert island, and it was a choice I spent some time considering. .
After much deliberation, I’ve come up with the following list of great Squeeze songs:
• Some Fantastic Place: A slight McCartney touch on vocals, a meandering chord progression that takes the listener down unsuspecting melodic avenues, and some pathos lyrics from Difford, created from a real-life tragedy involving the death of a close friend – all combined to make something lasting from pop beauty and a welcome return to early ’90s form
• Tempted: Produced by Elvis Costello and sung by the wonderful Paul Carrack. It’s a sinuous slice of English soul, with Tilbrook and Costello making brief vocal interjections in the second verse, all capped off by Carrack’s luscious keyboards.
• Pulling Mussels From A Shell: One of Difford’s inspired, Ray Davies-esque lyrics about the experiences of being on a low-budget British package holiday (lyrics: But behind the chalet, my holiday is complete and I feel like William Tell, Maid Marian on her tiptoes)
• Up The Junction: A title taken from a 1963 Nell Dunn book and a 1965 television drama starring Carol White, it expressed similar issues regarding accidental pregnancy and the effects such an occurrence can have on young and vulnerable protagonists.
• Annie Get Your Gun – Released on October 8, 1982, it was to be the band’s last single before they first broke up. An enthusiastic rocker, it featured some tasty guitar from Tilbrook in the middle, another pristine voice, and some more lyrical darkness from Difford. A song of relentless joy.