Great Moments In Pop – The 70s Part 2.

I have decided that I will do a few more pop music pieces about acts that found fame in the 70s. Although I wasn’t around at the time, I have discovered more stories that I think are worth sharing. Squeeze are a group that formed in London in the mid-70s, the main core are Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, although there have been many other members over the years, including Jools Holland, who had perfected his boogie woogie piano style even then.

They soon become well-known for their quirky songs. Their first hit single was in April 1978 when “Take Me I’m Yours” was released. But 1979 was one of their most successful years. In March “Cool For Cats” was released, and this was notable for having a rare lead vocal from Difford. I do have the vinyl single of this, which is a rather weird orange/pink-type colour.

“Cool For Cats” reached no. 2, as did the follow-up “Up The Junction”, which was released in June 1979. They went on to have many hits in the 80s too, but it is a surprise to realise that some of their best-known songs didn’t even make the Top 40, including 1980’s “Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)”, and 1981’s “Tempted” (featuring a vocal from Paul Carrack, who was also the vocalist on Mike And The Mechanics’ “The Living Years”, but let’s not think about that right now…)

Their final Top Ten single was when “Labelled With Love” was released in October 1981. Also notable is 1987’s “Hourglass”, which had an amusing video that was directed by Adrian Edmondson. But strange as it may seem, I first really came across Squeeze in 1992 when “Cool For Cats” was recycled for use in an advert for milk (no particular brand, but the National Diary Council). I feel that I should quote the rewritten lyrics…

Me mum is down the bingo and the old man’s out of town
They said that I could party so I wouldn’t mess around
I spot a little diamond in the corner on her own
The lads all try it on but end up with their fuses blown
And then she eyes me bottle in a way that I condone
So while the party’s raving I said give me some old chat
And let her share me pint of milk because it’s cool for cats it’s cool for cats

I remember really enjoying this advert, but I don’t know if Difford was brought in to perform the rewritten lyrics, or if a soundalike was used in a “Mr Soft”/Softmints style. In April 1992, it was actually decided to rerelease “Cool For Cats”, and the (original) lyrics appeared in Smash Hits, accompanied by some screenshots from the advert. This only reached no. 62 though, definitely not repeating the success of 13 years earlier.

And then in May 1992, a “Greatest Hits” album was released, which did make the Top Ten, although it did seem a little odd that they were trying to kickstart their career off the back of an advert for milk. And then there was a second advert made which had rewritten lyrics too. Squeeze continued to have hit singles until the mid-90s, and since then Difford And Tilbrook have occasionally got back together for various projects.

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