Monday, April 13, 2009

'80s Monday: Squeeze

Squeeze is -- you guessed it -- another British band that was much more popular in the UK than in America during the '80s. They did make the Billboard Hot 100 three times, with "Tempted," "Hourglass," and "853-5937." "Hourglass" was their biggest American hit, but "Tempted" is the one that still shows up on the radio once in a while.

As a rule, I never link to a video for which embedding is disabled. I figure if the geniuses at some record company don't want me advertising their product by embedding it in my blog, I'm happy to oblige them.

But I have to make an exception for "Cool for Cats," because I couldn't do Squeeze without it. This is the first Squeeze video I ever saw, and it remains one of my all-time favorite videos. It's not "high concept" or anything, it's just the band and two backup singers/dancers playing in a sound stage. What makes it special is the dancers' enthusiasm, and the fact that they're wearing what appear to be red spandex catsuits, the most awesome black leather jackets (I ask you: How many bands are so cool that it takes two jackets to spell their name?), and red sunglasses.

The song is also awesome. It's not really the typical Squeeze sound. That's not their usual lead singer, but he delivers the song with this great cockney accent so the lyrics come out as "They ge' a gang of villains in a shed ou' by 'Eafrow" and so on. And "Give the dog a bone" has been one of my favorites euphemisms ever since. Here's "Cool for Cats (1979).

"Another Nail in My Heart" (1980) was more typical of their sound.

Of course, I have to include "Tempted" (1981). It's really a great song.

"Black Coffee in Bed" (1982) might actually be my favorite Squeeze song.

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