Today – well, for the rest of this week, actually – the song I shall mostly be listening to is
I’ll Never Go Drinking Again by Squeeze.
Happy New Year to you all.
I was thinking last night, as I was working on some new songs, about my passion for popular songwriting in general, and about my appreciation of good lyrics specifically.
Whilst one can often find infamous and markedly badly-written lines and couplets from modern compositions being quoted in magazines, television and radio programmes and across a thousand beer-soaked, bar-room tables (e.g. I don’t want to see a ghost/It’s the sight that I fear most/I’d rather have a piece of toast – Des’ree, Life), you do not regularly come across references made to the other variety: the high-quality ones.
Apart from a handful of annual industry award ceremonies such as the Ivors, not enough respect is officially afforded – in my opinion – to the talent and craftsmanship that goes into producing a well-written and skilfully composed verse, chorus or single line.
Perhaps I should develop my own awards - ‘The Napoleons’.
I like the sound of that.
I shall periodically be posting others, but for now, here are just a few I find particularly remarkable:
I said, ‘I love you so much, I could die’
She said, ‘Drop dead’ and left with another guy
Elvis Costello, Red Shoes
Say hey good lookin’
Whatcha got cookin’?
How’s about cookin’ something up with me?
Hey sweet baby
Don’t you think maybe
We could find us a brand new recipe?
Hank Williams, Hey Good Lookin’
It’s customary songs like this
Use a word like ‘spoon’
Jimmy Webb, Everybody’s Gone to the Moon
Singles remind me of kisses
Albums remind me of plans
Squeeze, If I Didn’t Love You
Bamba, bamba, bamba
Traditional, La Bamba
I have not included any of my own compositions. I am just too gosh-darned modest.
I would also be very interested to hear anyone else’s favourites. Please e-mail me or leave a comment here.
No.8 You will buy a pair of blue suede shoes.
This will not help you to become more popular – in fact, because you insist on wearing them everyday to school, it will make the situation worse: you will lose a friend.
You will also be described as arrogant and pompous by the head of sixth-form.
Max will tell you he likes them however, even though he inwardly doubts the astuteness of some of your sartorial choices.
You will be adamant that you love your new shoes.
As usual, you will be lying to yourself.
On the Fantastic hi-fi today:
Yours Truly, Angry Mob – The Kaiser Chiefs
Essential Squeeze – Squeeze
Hooray! Squeeze, one of my favourite bands of all time, are reforming for a series of gigs. Hooray!
That’s made my day, that has. (I’m sat here pecking at my keyboard with an Enormous hard-on and wearing a big satisfied grin – nothing else.)
It is no secret how much I admire the songs of Difford and Tillbrook – indeed, when Slaughterhouse 5 were on IRS Records, we used to share promoters and a US management team – and now, for the first time in many a long while, we can get to hear them in the flesh, as it were.
Here is what Glenn says on his website: ‘Who’d have thought it? This year sees the start of the re-release campaign by Universal and Warners of the entire Squeeze back catalogue. These releases are something that Chris and I are really proud of and so in support of this, we have decided to do a limited amount of shows as Squeeze. All information about releases and dates will be posted up here on a regular basis. – Glenn’
The UK shows go on sale on Friday the 16th March. Here is the poster for the UK dates.
See you at the Hammersmith in London – and in Manchester at the Apollo as well, most likely. Wayhey!
(Putting aside the obvious ones – Beatles, Kinks, Small Faces etc.)
My work has often been compared to the Undertones, the Buzzcocks, and latterly, the Wonderstuff. (‘Think of What Do I Get? By the Buzzcocks and Unbearable by the Wonderstuff and you’ll get the idea’ – Johnny Cigarettes, NME). Though the renowned music business impresario Miles Copeland – head honcho at IRS Records who the band were initially signed to – said the material reminded him of the Cortinas and the Jags (I think he had a car obsession.)
Well, while it’s true I have always loved bands like the Undertones, The Clash and especially the Buzzcocks, I must admit I was at the time more influenced by my love of the Stiff Records and later Demon Records recording artists. And it must be said that Reckless Eric’s Whole Wide World has always been Graham’s favourite song from that period, too. I grew up listening mostly to the likes of Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Nick Lowe, John Otway, Dr Feelgood, Micky Jupp and Edwyn Collins though my biggest faves were, and still remain, Squeeze – who were actually on A&M because of the Miles Copeland connection but sounded as though they should have been part of the Stiff roster.
Boy, I really loved that stuff and still do. Listen to Inconvenience, You Only Need Me, the country and western version of That Is Not Love , That Girl Again, Give The Boy A Chance and you’ll hear where I stole all my ideas from.
When Squeeze songsmiths Difford and Tilbrook got ‘the new Lennon and McCartney’ tag following the release of East Side Story (my all-time favourite album), I felt suitably vindicated in my appreciation of their obvious talents as writers – I had previously been lampooned for my tastes by my fellow sixth-formers who were mostly into Motorhead, a band that was also, perversely, part of the Stiff stable at one time.
I think you can still easily hear the Difford and Tilbrook/Costello influences in the new songs I’ve written
As far as guitar playing goes, that’s an easy one. Nobody influenced me more than good old Phil Manzanera, especially the stuff he did with 801 whenever he was on one of his many breaks from his Roxy Music duties.