Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Squabs on Forty Fab

Labelled With Love b/w Squabs On Forty Fab (non-LP track)
released September 25, 1981, A&M Records
#4 UK Charts

I've been reading my most recent cheap score from Daedalus Books & Music, Squeeze Song By Song (Chris Difford & Glenn Tilbrook with Jim Drury, $3.98), and came across this entry about their 14th single, "Labelled With Love" (from 1981's East Side Story LP) on page 98:
A joke by the band that backfired unwittingly helped the country ballad's success . 1981 had heralded the tacky series Stars On 45 - unspeakably awful medleys of songs by bands like The Beatles, Abba and Stevie Wonder - and Squeeze thought it would be funny to cobble together an assortment of their own hits on the B-side, which they crudely named 'Squabs On Forty Fab'. 'It was a brutal shoehorning of all our hits to that point into one tempo which absolutely murdered the songs,' says Glen. 'We did it for a laugh but it got almost equal airplay to "Labelled With Love". It was such an own goal because people didn't know we were joking'.

With all due respect to a band I love dearly, I think Tilbrook lost the plot. I guess it will be my guilty pleasure for all-time that I love this rare B-side hits medley spoof better than any one Squeeze LP or singles compilation like Singles 45's and Under, which is saying a lot because Squeeze to me were always a singles band whose parts were better than the sum of their full albums, even East Side Story, the record that got them labeled "the new Lennon & McCartney" (when McCartney later met Difford and asked him which one he was, Difford cleverly replied "Ringo"!). In fact,whenever I hear the individual hits represented on "Squabs On Forty Fab" playing on the radio or a CD, I always wait for the seques into the next song - they're forever imprinted into my ears that way, in that particular order, over a disco beat. As DJ Fluxblog says, "When you don't know which Squeeze song to play, you always have the option of putting on this fantastic medley containing many of their finest compositions."

For the record, the songs on this toe-tapping B-side novelty hit were as follows: "Take Me I'm Yours," "Cool For Cats," "Up The Junction," "Is That Love?,""Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)," "Separate Beds," "Another Nail In My Heart," "Slap & Tickle," "Goodbye Girl," and "Someone Else's Heart."

It's a shame that the greatest wham-bam, one-after-the-other representation of Squeeze's hits remains virtually unknown in the Digital Era, out-of-print except as an overpriced import CD, Excess Moderation - Chronicles. (You can also try tracking it down on used copies of the out-of-print import CD Big Squeeze: The Very Best of Squeeze.)


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